That’s an incredibly sobering thought. And with the coral reefs, many other species will perish due to loss of habitat—not to mention due to the same bleaching and poisoning that is killing the coral reefs in the first place—as well.
Just what types of improvements need to be made, though? How are we actually wiping out these coral reefs so systematically and thoroughly? It turns out that our carbon dioxide emissions are largely to blame—which is, of course, no surprise, since our carbon dioxide emissions seem to be wiping out everything. The increasing levels of CO2 are causing an increase in both ocean temperatures as well as acidification—thereby killing wildlife.
What if we all approached fuel as if it didn’t cost as cheaply as it does (and oh yes, no matter how much you are paying, if you live in the United States, it’s very cheap) and instead cost as much as its true cost to the world, the environment, our health, and everything else it affects; say, instead of three bucks per gallon, it cost thirty? Or three hundred? Would we use as much?
We’d probably all bike everywhere. We just never see the true cost of anything; only how much it is in terms of U.S. dollars.
In addition to our emissions, our direct water pollution is leading to the death of coral reefs as well. If the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the death of whales with hundreds of plastic bags in their bodies don’t make us stop, though, what on earth will?
The change needed isn’t a subtle one. It’s a radical one, and until we’re willing to make some sacrifices and stop living so comfortably so that others may simply survive, they won’t be able to. If we don’t want our children and their children to look into history books, wonder at what coral “was” and look at us like we might look at the people who wiped out the dodo, we’d better start changing our ways right now.