If global warming continues at the current rate, all coral reefs around the world may be gone by 2070! The British magazine Nature published a review article written by several scientists, urging all mankind to adopt a new and bolder approach to solve the problems that lead to the degradation of coral reef ecosystems, thereby benefiting people’s environment and lives on a larger level.
Current approaches to coral reef protection have repeatedly failed. These approaches tend to focus on local biodiversity, or attempt to restore specific reefs or areas to some idealized “previous state”. On the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, half of all coral deaths occurred in 2016 and 2017.
Scientists at the Australian Research Council’s Coral Reef Research Center of Excellence recommend that policymakers should replace coal power with renewable energy, develop land-based aquaculture, and restore or restore terrestrial vegetation and wetlands within the Great Barrier Reef’s 425,000 square kilometers watershed. These actions will “reduce global emissions, increase carbon capture, prevent agricultural runoff from reaching coastal coral reefs, and improve human lives and food security.”
“Coral reef rescue, if done correctly, could help protect other ecosystems by protecting coastal watersheds and providing a model that allows similar approaches to be applied to different ecosystems,” the scientists wrote. They say that protecting cherished coral reefs can also “set an example for the world” – countries and regions, led by Costa Rica, California, and Copenhagen, are taking a strong lead for the rest of the world through mitigation and adaptation initiatives.