Scientists Pronounce Great Barrier Reef ‘Dead’?


“The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old.”

That startling first sentence leads a must-read obituary by Rowan Jacobsen for Outside Magazine online.



“For most of its life, the reef was the world’s largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more biodiversity than all of Europe combined. It harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. Among its many other achievements, the reef was home to one of the world’s largest populations of dugong and the largest breeding ground of green turtles.”

The fate of this wonder of the world should sober us up and clear our heads.

No one knows if a serious effort at the time could have saved the reef, but it is clear that no such effort was made.


BUT NEVER FEAR, optimists — here’s a more hopeful perspective.

MORE READING: A comment on our Facebook page provided a link to this special report from The Guardian investigating how the reef has been devastated. The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

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