This post is sponsored by Netflix #StreamTeam!
I read recently that large sections of the Great Barrier Reef have been officially declared dead, and that the Reef has actually been dying for almost 20 years due to overheated seawater. Hearing this news made me really sad. Partly because by the time I finally get to see it, it will have died off even more, and partly because we (humans) might have been able to prevent its die-off if we’d been better stewards of the planet.
For those curious to know more, Netflix is on the case as usual with a Netflix Original documentary on the topic called Chasing Coral. A team of researchers, divers, photographers, and videographers spent three years documenting the die-off of coral reefs — also called bleaching — and this documentary is the result. The film is beautifully shot and scored, and of course is about a very important topic.
I learned some interesting things when I watched it, like the fact that an increase in the ocean’s temperature of just 1-2 degrees Celsius causes coral to die. The way it was explained in the film made a lot of sense — it’s the same as when we get a fever as an autoimmune response to a virus or infection.
When coral gets a “fever” due to stressful external factors like overly warm water, it bleaches, meaning it expels the algae that feeds it and gives it color. So what you’re seeing when you see bleached coral is its white skeleton through transparent skin. If conditions don’t improve, the algae can’t come back to the coral, and the coral starves and dies. Interesting, but sad.
If you’d like to learn more about the widespread die-off of coral in our oceans, I highly recommend streaming Chasing Coral on Netflix. If you want to get young kids to watch it with you, let them know that Kristen Bell, aka Anna from Frozen, sang the closing song for the film!
And if you want to take action to help the cause, there’s a downloadable guide on the Chasing Coral website that tells you how. One simple way: wear physical sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide instead of chemical sunscreens, which harm ocean wildlife. Both of us — Liz & Chanelle — are making the commitment to do that going forward.