Help save the coral reefs! Even the largest coral reefs might soon be wiped out! The biologists have seen the future, and their message could not be clearer: Living coral reefs are the foundation of marine life, and thus a crucial support for human life, yet all over the world they are dead or dying because people are destroying them—killing them—at a catastrophic rate. Already 10 percent are lost, and scientists say 70 percent of all corals on the planet will be destroyed in 20 to 40 years unless people stop doing what they're doing—pollution, sewage, erosion, cyanide fishing, clumsy tourism—and get serious about saving the coral reefs now. There's hope yet: Reefs are resilient and they bounce back quickly when protected.
It's protection that's the real trick—and it's ordinary people who are making it happen. Government efforts in much of the world have been frankly pathetic: late, weak, underfunded, unenforced. Persian Gulf oil states pass toothless pollution laws then ignore them. Indian Ocean poachers outwit and outnumber British Royal Navy patrols. Ecuador stalls for decades while tourism explodes in the delicate Galapagos, only to enact a plan that makes it worse. The status quo scarcely wavers: relentless destruction of coral reefs. In those bright spots where people are changing the way they treat the reefs, you'll find fishermen, students, divers, biologists, concerned citizens of all stripes transformed into activists and volunteers, taking matters into their own hands to protect the coral reefs that are dear to them and vital to us all.