Culture, Health & Environment, International, Politics

Turns Out Enviromaniacs Were Wrong About This Huge Issue

So it turns out that reports of the Great Barrier Reef’s death were greatly exaggerated. For years we were told that this glorious coral reef off the coast of Queensland was being slowly strangled by mankind. The Guardian even published an obituary. It was literally titled ‘The Great Barrier Reef: an obituary’. ‘[The] seeds of the reef’s destruction are well embedded’, it declared. And we all know who was to blame for this ‘destruction’: marauding mankind. It’s always us. Shipping, the transformation of the reef into a tourist hotspot and, of course, Queensland’s evil coal industry have been on a ‘collision course’ with this natural wonder for decades, we were told. ‘Climate change is killing the Great Barrier Reef’ – that was the frank, scary verdict in 2017.

And now? The reef is fine. It’s in better nick than it has been for ages, in fact. The reef’s obituarists focused on the problem of ‘bleaching’. This is where the coral becomes stressed by warmer-than-average waters, responds by expelling the algae that live within it, and then becomes weak and sometimes dies. The coral turns a deathly white, hence the term ‘bleaching’. Huge swathes of the coral in this vast reef system, which stretches for a mind-boggling 1,400 miles, have been bleached in recent decades. And unless ‘climatic conditions are stabilised’, unless mankind reins in his Earth-warming, sea-heating antics, then the rest could be bleached too, we were told. Only that isn’t what has happened. At all. A new survey of the reef by the Australian Institute of Marine Science reports that coral cover on the reef has recovered spectacularly. In two-thirds of the reef, coral cover is at its highest level since records began, 36 years ago. From newspaper obituaries just a few years ago to good health in 2022 – this reef is the Lazarus of the natural world. Read more…

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