Chasing Coral: Taking Action on our dying coral reefs

This summer, Earth Day Network interns have been screening films that focus on environmental issues important to our mission. Last week EDN watched Chasing Coral – a fascinating documentary just released on Netflix. This film takes you on a journey around the world with a team of expert scientists to see how climate change is destroying the world’s coral reefs.

Corals are marine invertebrates that build skeletons and reefs together to create a form of protection. Inside these coral reefs, distinct ecosystems play an important role in maintaining the health and habitability of the rest of the ocean.

Along with rainforests, coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Food chains throughout the ocean can trace their nutrients back to organisms living in coral reef ecosystems [1]. As a source of recreation and medicine, in addition to food for over half a billion people, the economic value of coral reef ecosystems has been estimated at $29.8 billion per year [2].

In an article with National Geographic [3], Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, sums up why coral reef destruction is alarming and problematic. “The reduction in food supplies, the lack of coastal protection as the reef collapses and subsequent land erosion will make some places unlivable and people will have to move. And that’s not even mentioning the collapse of reef-related tourism.”

What you can do about it:

Spread the message and engage more people in the movement. Inform others of the link between climate change and the death of coral reefs and why corals are vital to this planet.

Learn:

Host a watch party of Chasing Coral to teach yourself and others about the impact climate change is having on the world’s coral reefs. Head to our website where for ways you and your community can fight climate change through individual and joint actions. Track your commitments alongside millions of others in our Billion Acts of Green campaign to help the us reach three billion global actions!

Support:

Earth Day Network is working hard to fight climate change. Support our Canopy Project reforestation campaign to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide.

You can also support our efforts to bring climate and environmental literacy to every student though our environmental education campaign.

Citations

[1] A. Bauer, “Importance of Coral Reefs – Biodiscovery and the Great Barrier Reef,” [Online]. Available: http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/microsites/biodiscovery/05human-impact/importance-of-coral-reefs.html.
[2] “Coral Ecosystems,” [Online]. Available: http://www.noaa.gov/resource-collections/coral-ecosystems.
[3] L. Parker and C. Welch, “Coral Reefs Could Be Gone in 30 Years,” 23 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/coral-reef-bleaching-global-warming-unesco-sites/.