Coral Reef Grief (and Recovery)
The reasons for coral reef mortality are myriad, ranging from overfertilization (i.e., nutrient runoff) and overfishing to global warming and rampant coastal development. The story does a good job of discussing the causes of what seems like another overwhelming environmental crisis without succumbing to despair.
The article ends with a quote from coral reef expert, Joan Kleypas, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, whose work has shown connections between global warming and coral bleaching. How we talk about the problem, Kleypas tells the Why Files, could ultimately make a difference in whether not reefs survive.
So many of the threats are intertwined. We forget that if we can reduce the stress on a reef due to sedimentation or overfishing, when that reef bleaches, it will have a better chance of recovery. I don't think reefs are all going to go belly up. We can't deny that we will lose more reefs ... but there will always be some reefs, somewhere ...
If you give a doomsday story ... people kind of give up on them. I find people respond to hope. Don't just say, 'If we don't do something, they will die.' Say, 'If we do this, it will make the reefs better.' We have to find out what they need so they can survive climate change.