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A Life Without The Reef

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

by Jasper McGrath

Imagine a world where your house was extremely hot everyday, random people dropped off trash and other junk in your house, and there was nothing you could do about it. They trashed your food, family, and your well being. This is exactly what is happening to the occupants of the coral reefs worldwide. These coral reefs are more than just a home for sea animals, but the very thing that could save Planet Earth. Without them, we are very nearly doomed, and not many people seem to care or know about the details that go into coral reef bleaching. This downfall of coral is 95% humans fault according to ( , and it can be reversed with simple changes by humans all over the world.

Coral reef bleaching is not an irrelevant problem, but an issue that could be life or death. Coral reefs provide numerous things for our society; without them, Planet Earth could become nearly uninhabitable to humanity. The reefs provide safety for thousands of species within the oceans, who would not have a home without them. "These creatures are key components of the food chain because of the part they play in the ocean's ecosystem." (

Without these creatures, many nations would be without their main meal: seafood. With a growing human population, more and more oxygen needs to be produced. Coral reefs produce a minimum of 60% of oxygen on the earth, while absorbing 33% of carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels. Additionally, it is a known fact that sea levels are rising, and with it brings larger waves and storms. Coral reefs protect coastlines from dangerous wave actions and tropical storms.

Coral reef bleaching burns off algae and is mainly a result of warming waters. Without algae, coral reefs lose color and energy, and die. “A new survey shows for the first time that plastic trash hikes the risk of diseases for coral reefs...if plastic debris blocks sunlight, it could lead to low-oxygen conditions that promote the growth of disease-causing bacteria,” environmental expert, Erik Stoksad from Science Magazine explains (Stokstad 2018). Coral reefs keep us safe from the dangers of climate change, and without them we will be even more vulnerable.

The solution to saving the coral reefs is more than working directly with the reefs. Coral reef bleaching comes all the way from climate change,warming waters, and our carbon-filled atmosphere.“Between 1994 and 2007, oceans absorbed 34 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, or 31 percent of what humans put into the atmosphere during that time,” a study with Ecowatch concluded (Ecowatch 2017). So with this given information, one easy solution would be to limit the amount of carbon dioxide we let into the air. This means less gasoline powered cars, less dirty factories, or even just turning out the lights when you leave the room. Everything uses energy, which is often powered from somewhere far away. This is letting dangerous products into the air and warming the atmosphere.

Another thing we can do to help prevent damage to the coral reefs is to limit our littering. As proven by a study in 2016, plastic bottles, straws, and all sorts of trash clump together, either polluting and covering the reef in trash, or blocking the natural vitamins from the sun from reaching it helping give the ecosystem life.

Most people don't know that they can make a huge impact while only spending an extra few dollars at most. The unknown chemicals in sunscreen are very toxic to the reefs. If you use a reef friendly sunscreen, at only $2 more, you can help to eliminate the entire threat of these toxins. Additionally, the eco-friendly sunscreen is also better for your skin and works better preventing skin cancer.

Although the reefs are a lifeline to us humans, some people believe that saving a small portion of money is more important than helping save Planet Earth. Most of the world population lives a long distance away from our five oceans, and they think its problems are irrelevant to them and their impact means nothing. They are wrong. Every little bit of toxin that enters the air or ground is almost guaranteed to find its way to the ocean. There is truly no good reason to not save the reefs, because losing them impacts everyone in a very negative way. It would be great if corporations would also do their part by making small changes like suitable packaging, or by donating leftover products. They could make an impact and save money in the long run by attracting more customers.

Planet Earth is a wonderful place, which provides us with a habitable, safe environment. It would be a shame if we destroyed it out of selfishness and willful ignorance. You can make a change by switching to eco-friendly sunscreen, saving energy, limiting the use of fertilizers, and most of all: spreading the word! If all of us do something small, it makes a huge change. Save Planet Earth!


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