As the temperature of our oceans continues to rise, reef ecosystems will be vulnerable to episodes of coral bleaching. If this continues and episodes are prolonged, in thirty years time the majority of the world’s coral reefs could disappear.
No, not an alarmist theory but a scientific fact. Along with the knowledge that coral bleaching is directly attributed to global warming/climate change.
What can be done? Besides lobbying World Governments to reduce greenhouse emissions as a long-term solution, a program must be implemented immediately to preserve what reefs we do have.
If one finds it hard to comprehend such an outcome, just take the plight of our own Great Barrier Reef as an example. This mighty ecosystem took twenty million years to form and only fifty years ago, her coral reefs were as pristine as they were for thousands of years. Yet in just fifty years, three plagues of crown-of-thorns starfish have been allowed to devastate more than half of it’s coral.
Considering there was scientific advice to act on the starfish problem to prevent further damage to the Great Barrier Reef fifty years ago, one could ask why wasn’t something done?
The answer is that it would have cost too much. So we must ask ourselves, “how much is the Great Barrier Reef worth?” This, the most beautiful living treasure on earth, that incidentally brings in 5 billion dollars in tourist revenue for Australia each year. Is it’s assets worth less than the cost of a painting by Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh or a Jackson Pollack?
The absurdity of the above situation is a national disgrace. As we now have a Reef that is under siege from a number of man-induced stresses including coral bleaching and the rampaging starfish and yet there is another major “outbreak”.
The OCEANGUARD SOCIETY was formed to implement a rescue program to save the Great Barrier Reef. In “saving the Reef” from the starfish threat, we mean to put in place elements so that the reef can save itself. To reinstate the ecological balance as much as we can.
The basis of the OCEANGUARD rescue program is a 50 year old scientific report which was contracted by the Queensland Government but never implemented. A five year financial plan has also been drawn up to fund the rescue program.
But knowing that the Reef will continue to change, one of OCEANGUARD’s prime objectives is to document the entire ecosystem on film as it is today - for history and prosperity. For whatever is left for the coming generations to experience will depend on what this generation does to save them.