Great Barrier Reef Pronounced Dead—But It's Not Too Late

By Naturally Savvy

The Great Barrier Reef was declared dead this week by Outside Magazine with a controversial article that quickly went viral. The post, in the form of an obituary, stated that climate change and ocean acidification killed the reef and was widely picked up by international news outlets.

Scientists and environmentalists were quick to respond that the reef—the world's largest living structure—was not dead, but definitely far from healthy. Some went so far as to say the reef is dying. Over 90% of the reef has been affected by a condition known as bleaching, where stress on the coral from changes in light or warmer water leading the coral to expel algae and turn white. 

The upside of all the attention, even from misinformation, is that scientists can now get out the message that it's not too late to save the reef. "It is critically important now to bolster the resilience of the reef, and to maximize its natural capacity to recover." But the effects are serious and possibly permanent. "The reef is no longer as resilient as it once was, and it's struggling to cope with three bleaching events in just 18 years," he said.

Director of ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia Terry Hughes also emphasized the reef is not a lost cause. “We can and must save the Great Barrier Reef ― it supports 70,000 jobs in reef tourism,” he told the Huffington Post. “Large sections of it (the southern half) escaped from the 2016 bleaching, and are in reasonable shape. The message should be that it isn’t too late for Australia to lift its game and better protect the GBR, not we should all give up because the GBR is supposedly dead.”

By Naturally Savvy| October 16, 2016
Categories:  Live

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