Some Good News for Coral
I love getting National Geographic's photography email newsletter. I used to get the magazine as well, but realized that it was collecting dust more than anything else. But the emails - they are some of the very few that I actually take the time to go through and read. Why? They are usually filled with odd snippets about nature and the environment that are accompanied by beautiful photographs - exactly the sort of thing that I'm interested in, can quickly glance at and absorb, and then move on.
In the most recent edition that I perused today, was a pictorial story about an area of coral reef in the Marshall Islands that is apparently flourishing 50 years after being the test spot for an atom bomb. Working in the environmental field, it's not a regular occurrence to find stories that are actually *positive*, so this was a nice change of pace. It is absolutely incredible to imagine that in only half a century, a blink of an eye, coral and other marine life could begin to retake the area. This reality is, likely, due in large part to the remoteness of the area and the fact that, at least since the bombs were tested, it has been relatively undisturbed.
Seacology is working on restoring reefs also - however, unlike this area in the Marshall Islands, the areas we work in do not get long respites from human interference. True, they are also not the test sites for nuclear weapons, but prolonged exposure to much more innocuous-seeming activities (such as dynamite fishing) can be equally as damaging, and sometimes the coral needs some help to thrive again. Usually a surface, any surface, for the coral to attach to is the primary ingredient missing in these desolated areas. Seacology has funded reef restoration projects in Indonesia and the Philippines with very exciting and hopeful results. The photos to the right show some of the new coral recruits on these "EcoReef" surfaces that Seacology has helped to put in place.
It's so encouraging to me to see that life will survive. No matter what we, as humans do to the earth, or what we end up doing to ourselves, as long as there is some medium left on or with which growth can take place, life will always return.