Continuing to Learn About the Environment


Over the past few months I’ve dabbled in some documentaries and developed an interest in learning about the state of the environment and climate change. I’ve become more aware of how it is affecting things such as life underwater like fish and coral, as well as various other animals and parts of land.

After watching the Netflix documentary “Chasing Coral” it’s helped me learn a lot about how many of the beautiful coral reefs, that are home to many different creatures, are continuing to die because of the rapid climate change. The Great Barrier Reef located in Australia, which is the largest coral reef system, has been harmed by global warming significantly over the last 20 to 30 years. It has gotten to the point where studies have found that there is an 89 percent decrease in new coral in The Great Barrier Reef.

As the amount of coral continues to decline in coral reefs all across the world, this causes the many different creatures that it serves as a home for, to also be at risk of dying. The lack of reefs will lead to them being exposed to predators which will cause them to die at rapid rates. I know that this may sound like it has little to no affect on humans, but it actually does. The lack of coral has an affect on the food that we eat, the temperature of water, and the air that we breathe.

Australia is suffering a great deal from climate change as their summers have continued to get warmer, which is leading to the reefs becoming bleached and ultimately dying as time goes on. Not only has global warming led to the reefs dying, but has also been the cause of numerous fires that have spread all across Australia. Unfortunately, the fires have taken the lives of at least 30 people and an estimated one-billion animals have been killed according to a biodiversity expert – yes, one-billion animals. This is something that will only continue to get worse with the increase in temperatures, as 2019 saw record breaking temperatures in many different parts of Australia.

While I am still in the very early stages of learning about the environment and the affects of climate change, I’ve come to admire the many different groups and activists that are out there making a difference. The Coral Gardeners are a group of people who help try to replenish coral throughout bodies of water by planting new coral in reefs where it is likely to thrive and improve the health of the water.

One person who I have really began to admire is 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg. At just 16-years-old she was TIME’s Person of the Year in 2019. She began the movement school strike for climate (skoltrejk för kilmatet) in August of 2018 and since then, she has become a global figure known worldwide fighting to show the world that actions need to be taken in order to combat the climate crisis.

I admire that she doesn’t let her age or the fact that she has Asperger’s stop her from accomplishing a goal. It would’ve been easy to give up and mail it in, as there are many people out there who have and will continue to try to knock her down. Instead, she has continued her fight to help make the planet a better place for everyone and has continued to become an inspiration for so many people around the world.

The school strike for climate started off with her on an island by herself and has since recruited millions. It is an international movement of school students for which they take time off from school every Friday and demand action from political leaders in order to combat climate change. Thunberg is currently in week 84 of the school strike and is still going strong. Her activism has even gotten her nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize by two Swedish law makers.

Even though I always had the belief that climate change is real, I never bothered to take a deep dive into how rapidly it is affecting the earth and what things could be done to combat it. Now I feel like I have more of an appreciation for the many environmentalists that there are in the world and I’m going to try to make incremental gains by doing what I can to help better the planet.