The Danger of Climate Change and Its Impact on Our Oceans

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The Danger of Climate Change and Its Impact on Our Oceans

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

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The oceans make up nearly three-quarters of our planet, and account for 97% of Earth’s water. They absorb the most carbon from the atmosphere while also producing more than half of the oxygen. The oceans are extremely vital to humankind; a vast number of people depend on the ocean in their everyday lives. Although the oceans seem endless and limitless, the harmful practices we have adopted have directly affected and endangered marine life. Human waste is the causation of climate change, and the danger it poses towards our oceans is immense.

Due to the “bleaching” caused by elevated ocean temperatures from carbon pollution, corals are dying at alarming rates. ”

Specifically, coral reefs are in direct danger of climate change. The coral reefs provide for nearly 500 million people worldwide, mostly in poor countries. These people depend on and use the reefs as their main source of food and income. Unfortunately, these coral reefs are the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. Reefs are home to an estimation of between 1 to 9 million species and a quarter of marine fish species. Due to the “bleaching” caused by elevated ocean temperatures from carbon pollution, corals are dying at alarming rates. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the largest living thing on Earth, lost almost 50% of its corals in the past two years due to bleaching. An assessment done by UNESCO in 2017 on the impact of climate change on World Heritage coral reefs estimates that all reefs will cease to exist as functioning ecosystems by the end of the century if mankind continues on the wasteful path we are on. By as early as 2030, surface ocean temperatures are suspected to rise almost 1 degree Celsius. Imagine that. A quarter of marine fish species and millions of biodiversity without a home. Almost half a billion people without a source of food or income. The disappearance of the coral reefs would mean an extreme alteration in economics, society, and health. The journal Global Environmental Change estimated the “social, cultural, and economic value of coral reefs at US$1 trillion.” Without coral reefs, many other ecosystems would follow in its footsteps and deteriorate as well. The disappearance of the coral reefs would mean a drastic, irreversible change in our planet and the way we live.

…with this temperature rise comes many problems that threaten not only ocean life, but all life.”

Climate change is a topic that has recently taken the world by storm, and it is a very controversial one. The scene is very divided among those who believe and those who do not believe in the human population’s hand in the increasingly warm earth. With all this bickering, it is easy to lose sight of what climate change and global warming really mean for our world. Whether or not you believe we are the causation, the earth is warming up, and with this temperature rise comes many problems that threaten not only ocean life, but all life. Without proper understanding of the situation, the problem may escalate quicker than we can combat it. The best thing you can do to avoid this dark future is to educate yourself on the issue, endorse pro-environmental policies, choose sustainable options, and respect the planet and all it provides for us. Reduce your energy use, and petition either your local, state, or even national government to take steps in the direction of renewable energy sources. Do not get caught up in the fight over the existence of climate change (especially since the politicians claiming it is not real are paid thousands by Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations, not to get too political), but address the situation. It may seem like a problem for future generations but it is not. This is happening to our planet right now, and we must find a way to fix it. Do not be afraid to get involved and speak up.

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