It’s late July in the Southern Hemisphere and social media shows a pretty picture of sparkling turquoise waters, big clean swells, spectacular sunrises and sunsets #sydneywinter #26degreestoday #yescelcius.  Australians are frolicking in the sunshine, swimming in the ocean and blissfully watching whales and dolphins come to play on the surface.

Nature, she’s a beauty, and we owe her our lives.  The documentary Chasing Coral recently premiered on Netflix after international film festival accolades.  It comes in the wake of the news that ‘the Manhattan of the ocean’ the Great Barrier Reef, at 25 million years old is terminally ill.  The cause is ‘unequivocally carbon emissions.’

Earth is unique in the known universe because we have the ocean as our source of life.  Without a healthy ocean, we do not have a liveable planet.  The ocean absorbs warmth in the atmosphere, it’s doing its job well but in the meantime is heating up has a fever.  If this wasn’t the case, the temperature on earth would right now be an average of 50 degrees celsius (122 degrees farenheit)

 Above the surface of our beloved ocean
(Bondi winter sunrise via Aquabumps)

Based on current trends, within the next thirty years global warming will eradicate most of the world’s coral, which is much to the ocean like trees are to the forest.  We will lose this complex ecosystem and millions of people will suffer #nonshinyfact.

The ocean provides us with food, the majority of the oxygen we breathe, a habitable temperature and a supply of fresh water.   Coral reefs protect our coastlines from tsunamis, hurricanes and floods.  In the 2014 series Nature is Speaking,  Harrison Ford as the Ocean  says ‘one way or another every living thing here needs me. I give, they take, but I can always take back.’

The great news is it’s not too late to rebalance our nature karma.  Whilst we can’t revive the coral that is gone, we can preserve what remains and seed new reefs thanks to progressive science and global coral reef restoration efforts that are gaining momentum.

Healthy coral and marine life
(just like women’s fave lipstick and nail polish colours)

And luckily, we are crusaders.  We are banning the plastic bag, eschewing the plastic straw.  Not only do they end up in our oceans and directly impact marine life but their very production produces CO2.  The gravity of this is not lost on the instagram community #banthebag #banthestraw.

Yes, Donald Trump has pulled out of the Paris Climate agreement, but more and more countries and many American cities are committed to being powered by clean energy.  People like Leonardo DiCaprio are spending their days (and French Riviera nights) raising $30 million dollars for climate change.

California is progressive in terms of environmentalism, and Australia is following suit.  Greenpeace are on the case, Sea Shepherd are going at it, and the UK times reported that petrol vehicle production will cease by 2040 because ‘no one will want to buy a car under a death sentence.’

‘Bleached’ coral skeletons
(would be easy to find Nemo)

As an Aussie the ocean is one of my greatest loves. I gravitate towards it, am soothed by it, I swim in its shallows.  I did the obligatory family snorkelling holiday to the Great Barrier Reef back in 1990 something but have remained fairly ignorant about how the ocean’s ecosystem survives and quite scared of what lies in its depths.

Nature was really only designed to handle the carbon that its inhabitants breathe out and the odd fire or volcano eruption.  We push the limits as humans do, and nature compensates as nature does.  Julia Roberts as Mother Nature said ‘I don’t really need people but people need me.  When I thrive you thrive, when I falter, you falter.’

Let’s make sure we get that dynamic right, so that we thrive together in a utopian rather than dystopian future.  One that’s full of  pretty coral and fishies.

PS you may know that Kristen Bell was the voice of Elsa in Frozen and also lends her singing skills to Chasing Coral in this cutesy cheesy tear jerker

 

 

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