The Balance of the Blue
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Vast we are in numbers and hungry we come to the table! The human race is one that is quite capable of intelligence. It should also be kept close to heart that much is yet to learn and that all mistakes, no matter how honest, bring on a proportionate consequence. I can’t help but think that the person whom decided this may have been right but missed the complete picture at the time. Goals set and attained have a blinding effect when self-critique is in question. Make no mistake, we have set seemingly unreachable goals and we have surprised ourselves in leaving us feeling courageous and forward. All creatures are wired to thrive in their habitat. Since we are capable of intelligence, we have a challenge much more difficult that simply surviving and improving. There’s a certain balance to maintain and doesn’t always hold our attention.
We have but a blink in time to leave our world a better one than when our time began. We’ve accomplished many great things and have seen amazing events unfold changing everything. Nature is a complicated balance without the human race bringing more complexities to the scales. It takes a network of efforts to create and sustain natural occurrences such as coral, to give an example. Intricately evolved and balanced networking is essential to the aquatic wonders that cover so much of the globe. Complex and is ever changing. In fact, it’s driven by a series of eco-systems. These usually self-sustained and naturally replenished communities are the very lifeline to Earth’s surviving our ever-expanding population. They are responsible for making much of the way in which we live our day-to-day lives possible.
One eco-system that is a marvel to scientists and biologists abroad is the Coral Reefs that line our coasts in so many areas. Given the danger they currently face, it seems prudent that we give due diligence to learning about what factors are attacking these ocean-buried treasures. Coral reefs are well known for their recreational use to divers. However, we should also give coral a shout-out for provided so many with goods and services. The services coral reefs provide can be as essential and demanded as seafood and also act as one of first protectors of the coast. As often as we hear of coral reef, one might be under the assumption that they are everywhere and an abundance of protection is keeping us in the green. Factually, coral is only responsible for 0.1 to 0.5 percent of the entirety of the ocean floor. That’s a “needle in a haystack” kind of a number! While that is a very tiny portion of the deep blue, coral still plays host to more than a third of the world’s fish species. Being that host, the reefs are currently provided around 10 percent of the fish that humans consume on a daily basis. How could such a small percentage of the ocean floor provide such a resource? Given that nearly 100 countries are surrounded by coral reefs, the once thriving – now threatened – eco-system has provided millions with nutrition as well as a large part of their livelihood as a whole. What once was thriving is now in great danger of being lost entirely. It might come as a surprise to you that a factor like deforestation could cause such a decline. Fishing methods and global climate shifting are the more obvious reasons we know of today. Areas of the Indo-Pacific have seen a vast acceleration in the destruction of the coral reefs surrounding the pacific islands like Hawaii. Due to the ever-increasing number of creatures like the crown-of-thorns starfish, many coral communities have been drastically altered and reduced to a little more than nonexistent. Of course, biologists have sought out methods to slow and reverse the damage. The field experiments that have been conducted since the 1960’s have widened our understanding of what is happening to the coral reefs exponentially.
When we look closely and the consequences endured in eco-systems all over the current state of coral and apply the effect brought on by the amount of uncontrolled tourism and other pollutants, we will discover an economic predicament at hand. Much like the infamous BP Oil spill I wrote about in “Capping the Well,” the destruction of coral reef communities is resulting in an economic hit felt across the globe. The reef areas of the ocean floor are alone responsible for over 30 Billion dollars in net benefits! I can’t think of a more obvious, vivid and alarming illustration of how important and directly responsible preserve truly is to the current circumstances of life on our planet.
Tragic but true, we have already lost nearly 30 percent of the coral reefs, along with another 30 percent at risk of being destroyed within the next 30 years. In learning more about protecting our coasts, we indirectly begin to protect and improve our economy and the resources that make it possible. A wealth of knowledge unexplored is a true waste. Volunteer in your community and put yourself in fight to protect that which protects you!
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