The Nature Conservancy has been working to protect coral reefs for decades, in countries all over the world. We work locally, with the people who directly manage and benefit from reefs. But we’re also expanding our perspective to look at the global drivers of threats to coral reefs, drivers such as illegal fishing, development and industry.This year we will be engaging with the corporate and finance sectors—new stakeholders that have never been a part of the coral reef conversation—to help us identify game-changing approaches to make sure coral reefs are still around once we get this CO2 mess figured out.
So, as a marine scientist, I say: It’s not time to give up hope.
I have dedicated my life to the study of coral reefs and their conservation for the past 15 years. My job is to protect coral reef ecosystems and develop new strategies to turn the tide of rapid decline witnessed over the last four decades. I ask myself all the time, am I doing enough?
I don’t kid myself that coral reefs are doing fine, or that they will someday flourish in abundance the way they did just a few decades ago. But I do think there will be reefs in the future, and they will still provide critically important services to the people that depend on them.
We know reefs are changing and, given all that we have done to them, they will be changing for the foreseeable future. But they are not lost and will not be if we take proper action—and science is showing us the way.
Note: This post is adapted from a recent blog on Cool Green Science. Read the full post.
Stephanie Wear is a marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy. Her work has mainly focused on working with coral reef managers to reduce the killer threats to coral reefs. She is currently working to improve tools that build resilience in coral reef communities so that coral reefs survive the impacts of a changing climate. Stephanie’s passion for coral reefs is matched by her obsession with living green as she continues to find ways to reduce her family’s impact on the planet.
(Top image: Clown anemonefish in the Coral Triangle, Indonesia. Source: Jeff Yonover.)