I remember in my teenage years back in the 1950s seeing scenes of the gorgeous underwater coral displays that must have been located at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park just south of Miami. I remember the Christ statue that lay at the bottom of the sea in this Florida state park; and with that memory in mind, in the early 1990s I went on a guided tour conducted by the staff at the park. I had done a lot of skin diving (free diving), so I brought along fins, diving mask, and snorkel. My god, was I disappointed--really quite shocked to see the statue surrounded by the bleached out coral everywhere. So I readily understood Jamail's reaction during his visit to the Australian Great Barrier Reef.
Species, ecosystems, glaciers, sea ice and humans themselves continue to absorb and pay for this human experiment of industrialization gone horribly awry. Many are paying with their very existence.
Two months ago, I spent some time researching and writing in Australia. I visited the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), where I reveled in the majesty of intact towering coral structures flourishing with marine life. Yet I was also devastated during this visit -- again and again, I happened upon bleached out and silently dead areas of barren coral wasteland, which not long ago teemed with living beings. Roughly 20 percent of the coral on the outer reef were already bleached, and on their way towards death.