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  • Writer's pictureDawon (Cherry) Shin

Coral Bleaching

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Dawon Shin

March Issue

The rainforests of the ocean are losing their vibrant colors due to climate change. Coral reefs are known to produce 70% of the oxygen we breathe. Saving rainforests and trees are actions that people worked for in order to save our environment and our atmosphere. If this is the case, why don’t coral reefs receive as much attention when it generates even more oxygen for us humans to breathe?

Coral bleaching is a not really well-known environmental issue that is becoming more serious and serious every year. It is when corals lose colors and turn white, caused by climate change. The rising temperature causes the ocean water to warm. Due to the stress it receives from the changing habitat surroundings, corals expel the algae that help them to survive. Reefs are extremely difficult to preserve when these corals die, which ultimately impacts the whole reef ecosystem and reproduction. Studies show that coral reefs may all die off by 2050.

Despite the low acknowledgment, wildlife and humans rely a lot on these coral reefs for survival. Hence, losing these coral reefs may cause significant damage to not only our environment but our society. For ocean wildlife, coral reefs provide significant habitat, protection from storms, shelter from predators, etc. They also support organisms at the base of the food chain. If coral reefs decrease, these organisms may go at the risk of extinction, causing the whole food chain to collapse. For humans, coral reefs not only provide oxygen but protection from tides of waves and storms, which keeps the coastal communities safe. Bleached corals further contribute to overfishing where hungry fishes that lose their habitats easily are caught. We, humans, rely on animals for income and money, so coral bleaching may also negatively impact our economy.

Therefore, I believe immediate actions should be taken to stop these coral bleachings, just like how many actions are taken to prevent deforestation. Individual actions such as preventing fertilizer runoff will also be helpful, but ultimately reducing emissions will be our final step. Climate change is threatening the environment, wildlife, and our lives. If the future is a set ahead, we are a step behind. Many of the major actions that cause climate change are from bigger industries; as consumers, we shouldn’t support these companies that produce chemicals that harm these species. We are killing off the nature that is helping us survive. They are worth putting effort to save.

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