Walls are our home’s defense, a barrier, a buffer from the harms beyond. Corals provide that buffer to coastal communities against waves, floods, storms and helps to prevent loss of life, property damage and erosion. A healthy coral reef ecosystem breaks down the wave speed and also prevents erosion along the coasts. When the reefs are destroyed, there are no buffers for these communities against the incoming sea. While there are many culprits to blame for the decline of coral reefs such as encroaching human development, pollution runoffs from human activities like toxic oil and chemical spills, failed septic systems and also fertilizers from the agriculture activities, all of which create unfavorable conditions and eventually kill the corals.
Coral reefs are very fragile ecosystems and even minute changes in the ocean’s conditions are detrimental to its existence. Coral reefs not only protect the coasts from wave surges, it is also the most diverse, productive and an essential ecosystem to millions of aquatic species as a source of food and safety to these species that call reefs home.Among all these culprits, climate change possesses an utmost global threat to coral reefs. “All scientific evidence, clearly indicates that the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean are warming, and that these changes are largely due to greenhouse gases derived from human activities.”1
The rise in temperature causes the corals to bleach which invites infectious diseases to occur more frequently. The greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide & carbon mono-oxide) that causes climate warming, is being absorbed into the ocean and has lowered its the pH value. This has caused ocean acidification and reduced the coral’s calcification rates and the ability to build new reefs. Climate change is also causing stronger and more frequent storms, rising sea levels and has altered the ocean circulation patterns. All these changes impact reefs tremendously eventually causing its demise and all its dependents to perish alongside.
It is paramount for the population to recognize that Climate Change means Ocean Change. The ever so fragile coral reef is a barometer for our earth’s condition and if we continue in this destructive path towards poisoning our atmosphere, there will be no WALL to protect our communities from the wrath of the ocean.