HAWAII'S CORAL REEFS
Hawaii's Coral Reefs
Providing the state with over $360 million dollars a year, Hawai‘i’s reef nourishes the state’s economy through tourism-based activities — primarily snorkeling and scuba diving — according to a 2002 study.
Furthermore, Hawai‘i’s reefs provide the State from land erosion and provides over two million meals a year to Hawai‘i’s population.
“We should protect reefs because they are this amazing system that contributes to our economy, contributes to our happiness, contributes to our wellbeing, protection of our property, however you want to see it,” said Kirsten Oleson, University of Hawai‘i assistant professor of ecological economics for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management.
However, chemical and water runoff into the ocean and coral bleaching brought upon by elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are threatening the livelihood of the reef, its ecosystem, its marine inhabitants, the economy and the people who rely on it for food and cultural value.
“I think at the end of the day ... unless we change our behavior, unless we reduce and mitigate fossil fuel burning on the planet and start to slow climate change, I think the prognosis for coral reefs is very, very poor,” said Ruth Gates, Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology director.
If action isn’t taken, the majority of the world’s reefs could disappear by the year 2050, Gates says.
Although “pessimistic,” Oleson says the reef may be saved if humankind changed its habits.
“I think we can do a lot in the state by focusing on reducing local stressors on the reefs, so reducing land-based source pollution, reducing human damage to the reefs and reducing fishing pressure,” Oleson said. “We can extend the timeline of how long we will have our reefs by doing those things.”
THE CORAL REEF: INDISPENSABLE
Coral reefs are not only a beautiful miracle of nature, but they are extremely necessary to humans, according to research scientist Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Home to enormous biodiversity, they are crucial to food security for the Hawaiian islands as well as many other nations in the Pacific. Join us as we discover why we should care to protect Hawaii’s reef.
THE DANGERS OF CORAL BLEACHING AND ITS EFFECTS ON HAWAII'S CORAL REEFS
STORY BY HO‘A INVESTIGATIVE TEAM (CYCLE 2)
TOURISM, WAY OF LIFE AND THE ECONOMY: AN ASSET TO HAWAII
Coral reefs generate millions of dollars of year to Hawaii’s economy. Tourists all over the world come to Hawaii to visit its beaches and swim in its clear waters. Find out how healthy reefs protect coastal environments, fish populations and impact everyone’s bottom line and way of life in the islands, even if you never been snorkeling.
WHAT’S KILLING THE REEF
The threat to Hawaii’s reefs is so critical that our Department of Land and Natural Resources announced a plan to protect it as one of its greatest concerns. Watch as top scientists and researchers talk about how climate change and sediment runoff from land continues to be a threat to Hawaii’s reefs.
FIXING OUR MISTAKES
Anthropogenic activities have threatened the reef to the point of destruction, with its biggest challenge being the issue of climate change. Researchers and scientists at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Kewalo Laboratory of the University of Hawaii explain how average citizens and government can repair the damage.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE
Even if you don’t see the reef, its demise it’s likely to impact your life. It’s not too late to repair the damage done to the coral reef in Hawaii and around the world. Generating awareness of the risks the reefs face may help citizens understand the threat and demand protection of a natural resource vital to our islands.
- HAWAII'S CORAL REEF -
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