A Synthetic Extinction
Australia is widely known for it’s Great Barrier Reef. It houses more than 11,000 species, making it very deserving for holding a place as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The 9,000 year old reef spans a distance of nearly 1,500 miles and brings in around $6 billion annually as well as providing more than 50,000 jobs. It is no secret that corals serve as the reef’s backbone, providing shelter and food for the delicate ecosystem.
As climate change progresses, our reefs, including the Great Barrier, will continue taking hits. As recent as March 2016, the GBR had it’s worst coral bleaching episode in 15 years. Bleaching occurs when water temperatures rise, causing the algae that give the coral their color to leave their tissues, resulting in white and fragile corals. While bleachings are something corals are able to recover from, they are happening so often now that the corals aren’t getting enough time to recover.
Continuing down this road will only result in the loss of one of our wonders. Losing this reef, along with others around the globe, could result in a downfall in the economy, poverty and hunger as well as a complete collapse in the marine ecosystem.
My goal for creating this piece was to personify the death of our beautiful reefs. They are miraculous, beautiful things that provide a home for the world’s marine life and it’s sickening to know that we are killing them by speeding up global warming. Say that out loud once, “I am responsible for the death of the Great Barrier Reef.” It seems a bit unbelievable, but it’s what is happening now. At the rate we’re going, it will just be something that future generations read about in school, like dinosaurs and dodo birds. If we don’t make some changes, our coral reefs will no longer exist.