A reef conference in Indonesia last year brought the hard facts of
coral reef distribution:
* More than a quarter of the world’s coral reefs have been
destroyed by pollution and global warming.
* In the Maldives and Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean,
up to 90 percent of coral reefs have been killed over the past
two years by an increase in water temperature from the El Niño
* Half of Indonesia’s coral reefs are dead and the other half
could soon follow suit.
* The loss of the coral reefs would also be a devastating blow to
the medical industry, which is exploring the possibility that the
marine ecosystems may unlock secrets to new medicines.
* Unless drastic measures are taken by the major nations to cut
global warming, most of the remaining reefs may be dead in 20
* The loss of the reefs would threaten the livelihood of half a billion
people around the world who rely on them for food and
income. People in poorer countries may not be able to find alternate
sources of income and may become reliant on foreign aid.
While global warming is not mentioned in the environmental
policy section of President Bush’s website, during the debate he
said, “I don’t think we know the solution to global warming yet
and I don’t think we’ve got all the facts before we make decisions
... There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think
it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s
taking place.” By rejecting the international pact to reduce greenhouse
gases --- the Kyoto protocol --- and by making other policy
pronouncements that do nothing to slow global warming, the
President is failing to take responsibility for an issue that concerns
all divers, indeed all people and nations.
If you don’t think our coral reefs can wait around for the
President to get a “full understanding about what’s taking place,”
you may wish to write him, in care of the White House, 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20500. Or send
him an e-mail at: email@example.com.