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, within the next half century 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 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 millions of years to form and only sixty years ago, her coral reefs were as pristine as they were for thousands of years. Yet, in that time, four outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish have been allowed to devastate more than half the reef's coral.
Considering there was scientific advice to act on the starfish problem to prevent further damage to the Great Barrier Reef sixty 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 six 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 also alarming. The Great Barrier Reef is under siege from numerous man-made stresses, including coral bleaching and the rampaging starfish in a fourth major “outbreak”.
The OCEANGUARD SOCIETY was formed to implement a rescue program to help save the Great Barrier Reef. In “saving the Reef” from the starfish threat, we intend to put in place elements so that the reef can restore an ecological balance.
The basis of the OCEANGUARD rescue program is a sixty year old scientific report which was contracted by the Queensland Government – but never implemented.
But knowing that half of 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.