Coral Reefs: what an enchanted world!

Part 4. What can we do? Be part of solutions, not destruction!

-The most frequently encountered threats

Coral reefs are resilient to rising temperatures to a certain limit. Once this limit is reached, the coral goes into arrears. The double penalty occurs when the rise in ocean temperatures is coupled with an increase in air temperature that does not drop at night. The lack of rebalancing of temperatures between night and day is particularly detrimental to shallow reefs. The development of algae whose rate of proliferation is greater than the growth of coral, about 2 to 15 cm per year for the coral, prevents light from passing and allows the photosynthesis essential to zooxanthellae. They die and the polyp deprived of its main food source dies in turn. As we have already seen, it is at this stage that bleaching appears.

The proliferation of algae, linked to the release of organic matter, wastewater or containing fertilizers, directly into the sea, ends up partially or totally covering the reefs. The strong grip of algae profoundly changes the structure of the reef in its appearance, function and diversity.

Deforestation or gullying, linked to heavy rains or hurricanes, affecting the islands are also detrimental. By carrying a large load of nutrients into the sea, they accentuate the development of algae, and/or disturb the waters so much that the light no longer passes.

Fishing techniques with dynamite or with anaesthetics come to the end of an irrevocable process.

Tourism activity, whose exponential growth in recent years, particularly in South East Asia, unsuitable behaviour, without education or awareness for this fragile ecosystem, is yet another scourge, which seems difficult to Contain. Boats that come as close as possible to the reefs and anchor wildly multiply the destruction. The accumulation of all these evils means that in the Philippines more than 70% of the reefs are destroyed.

-What can we do?

While it is now accepted that human activity and the Global Warning in which we find ourselves – global climate change – destroys faster than it takes time for a coral reef to regenerate, the prospects for the future may seem good Dark. However, it would be a pity to see only the sum of the mistakes and give up.

There are many beautiful initiatives. It is now possible to take your holidays in places dedicated to the protection of the environment and to participate in the change.

Divers and other Eco Lovers can help recreate so-called “artificial” reefs. Replanting corals raised in nurseries such as Ocean Gardner or the Gili Eco Trust near Bali are initiatives that work. These actions, supported upstream and downstream by local people and authorities, are intended to educate younger generations and avoid reproducing inappropriate behaviours. However, it is not always easy to convince as the economic benefits of tourism are greater and more immediate than those generated by environmental protection.

The creation of an international UN-style body, specifically dedicated to the protection of mangroves and coral reefs elevated to the status of a sanctuary or even a world heritage site, would be a decisive step.

Given the knowledge we have today, scientists, journalists, we all have the capacity to act in our everyday lives. Initiatives are swarming and they are beautiful. Participating in change is relatively easy because every move counts, no matter how small.

Industrial fishing is emptying our oceans and many species are on the verge of extinction. The only way to reverse this trend is to become Vegan. Stop consuming seafood, dairy products and especially beef, whose industrial production is one of the main causes of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While this is relatively easy at the individual level, at the state level there is no will and the strategies put in place remain dependent on economic strategies far removed from the environmental cause.  It is possible, however, to move towards a gentle transition for the oceans by trying to consume some species less threatened than others or even that reproduce post quickly, such as squid or mackerel, and to stop eating shrimp, whose production and fishing are particularly disastrous and polluting.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the logic of repairing the damage, I prefer to avoid doing it and it gives me a beautiful energy.

Living a present respectful of future generations, changing my behaviours, my thoughts, my way of life, engaging and supporting those already committed to the protection of the Environment, Ecosystems and Oceans gives me peace and inner joy. I sincerely believe that a beneficial ecology for nature and people is possible. Harmony with the beauty of the world is an authentic choice, free to everyone, to take care of it.