Coral Reefs have always been one of the most abundant sources of life within the world's oceans. For eons past, reefs have flourished with thousands of species of fish, plants, and aquatic animals living amongst the coral. In recent years, however, coral reefs around the world have been dying en masse, taking most of the species that live there with them. It's believed that human activity such as pollution and overfishing have been primary causes.

Coral reefs have shrunk

The Coral Reef that stretches along the eastern seaboard is the third largest in the world. It was once home to nearly two thousand species of plants, fish, and animals.

In 2016, however, marine scientists discovered that almost half of the entire coral reef had disappeared, according to The Guardian. They compared modern satellite images to 250-year old charts drawn by British admirals and found them to be almost identical. Yet, where the charts depicted massive coral reefs near the shore in the mid 18th century, the satellite images depicted little more than mud. Only reefs further from shore showed any signs of life.

Catastrophe of epic proportions

What has occurred over the past two and a half centuries off the coast of Florida has been nothing short of a global, environmental catastrophe. This coral reef die-off has been accelerating in reefs around the globe as Earth’s life support systems continue to falter.

Coral reefs exist in a narrow range of conditions.

They require a specific temperature and salinity level to be in good health, and even slight changes that persist for any length of time can damage them beyond repair. Just a water temperature rise of a single degree Celsius can kill them. Over the past twenty years, weather whiplash scenarios resulting from a collapsing biosphere have taken an especially heavy toll on coral reefs.

The first mass die-off of coral was noted in 1998. Reefs in regions as diverse as Madagascar, Belize, the Maldives, and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia were all bleached and cleansed of life. Widespread bleaching has been happening every year since. 90 percent of the entire Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching:

What solutions exist? Petty targets such as the UN’s goals for cutting carbon emissions seem an unlikely savior. Absent some radical and immediate change in both consciousness and technological advancement, there doesn’t seem to be much that can reverse our current disastrous course.

Ocean life is essential

Some parts of the ocean are in more dire straits than others. Oceana.org reports that seven new fish species were discovered in 2017. However, none of them live in coral reefs, and a few of them are deep-sea dwellers. Coral reefs were once the most vibrant and thriving part of our oceans that humans could visit. Today they are going extinct, and they are not alone. The food chain begins in the sea. If ocean life dies, all life dies. No oceans, no people.