I am a recent graduate of William and Mary with a double major in environmental science and policy and public policy. I will be an energy blogger. How can the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil? Is green technology going to happen sooner than we think? What kind of message is needed to sell individuals on the need to stop drill baby drill? These are some of the questions I'd like to ex...
Coral Reefs and Climate Change Impacts
Specifically, the coral reefs are like the "tropical rainforests of the sea" whereby they provide things such as "food, tourism revenue, coastal protection, and new medications (which) is worth about $375 billion a year." This value comes from a report in 1998, so their value over the past decade has likely increased. Nevertheless, the fact remains that coral reefs are necessary and worth preserving, given the tourism revenues they provide especially to states like Florida. However, the coral reefs in the Caribbean "have been experiencing varying levels of bleaching and stress from this year's unusually warm sea surface temperatures." Coral bleaching, therefore, is a problem not only for the many marine organisms that call the coral reefs home, it is also a problem for humans who rely on them for various things such as aesthetics, but also the economic opportunities that result from tourism.
In designing climate change campaigns, therefore, they should involve focusing on what individuals are now unable to see because of largely our actions. If many individuals enjoy going to the Caribbean because of the beautiful water, abundant marine life to look at, etc, the campaign should be one of doing something about climate change so that year after year everyone can have the opportunity to see all that there is at sea. The bleaching phenomenon that is occurring with coral reefs showcases how climate change can truly destroy marine life, and our ability to explore the ocean as we know it. Therefore, such a campaign should emphasize eco-tourism and the benefits of doing something about climate change from that vantage point. Policymakers, therefore, will only listen by and large if individuals at the local, grassroots level show and advocate their desire to be able to see the many wonders of the sea. To do that would clearly require a new policy that advocates for preserving and protecting things like coral reefs.
Photo Credit: Flickr