Reef to Leaf: Thoughts on Our Dying Coral Reefs

by Mark Thomas February 08, 2018

Our Coral Reefs Are Struggling.
In 2016 the Great Barrier Reef saw 29% of its coral get bleached. Bleaching is when the organisms that live inside the coral and act as food become toxic. The reef then expels them and eventually turns white, then dies. The reason these organisms become toxic is because the temperature of the water rises for too long. It's like getting a permanent fever. Bleaching events are happening across the globe. 

Why This Matters.
25% of our marine life is directly supported by the reef systems of the world. 70% of the oxygen we breath originates from the ocean. Coral reefs are like the rain forests of the sea. The little fish feed on small organisms around the reef or plant food....the bigger fish feed on the little fish....the biggest fish feed on the bigger fish etc...Losing too much of our reef ecosystem is bad for the entire ocean. Oceans are the soul of the planet and drive the rest of earth's weather patterns etc...So keeping our coral healthy is important. From reef to leaf, we are all impacted by what's happening inside those corals. 

What We Can Do.
Individuals can commit to lowering carbon emissions to help cool our oceans. This is the biggest thing and hopefully newer technologies can help us with this in the next decade. In addition, travellers enjoying the coral reefs via snorkeling or diving, can use reef safe sunscreen. Sunscreen can contain chemicals that damage marine life and corals. We can also reduce our plastic waste. Plastic waste often finds its way into the oceans. National Geographic recently wrote about a Mexico-sized floating pile of plastic that was found. Pretty mind boggling. 

Exciting Restoration Efforts.

One of the coolest things happening around coral reefs is something called Coral Restoration. Groups are growing their own coral in nurseries and out planting it into natural reefs. The coral then grows back into the reef to begin reviving the system. I'm really excited to announce something soon that Wildhorn Outfitters will be involved in around Coral Restoration. We've been searching for a way to mobilize our brand for good for nearly the past two years. We've finally found something that we feel is our mission. We sell lifestyle outdoor gear for ocean, beach, snow, camp and hike. We feel like the health of our coral impacts all of the other activities we all love. So we want to target something right on the front line. 

What Do You Think?
I'd love to hear from you. Is this a cause you can also get behind? Do you relate to this? How can we tell this story? Did you know this was a problem? Would you tell your friends? I'll be unveiling how we plan to help with this issue in the near future. Until then, consider watching "Chasing Coral" on Netflix. It follows some underwater photographers and their journey to capture the first-ever time lapse video of coral bleaching. It's crazy. Totally worth the time. 

 

Bleached Reef

Bleached section of the Great Barrier Reef

 

Healthy Reef

Healthy Reef, Lizard Island AU




Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas

Author




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