If ever there was a bittersweet story about the environment, it is the latest headlines about the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s greatest concentration of coral.
This vast reef, which lies off the north-eastern coast of Australia, has endured years of shrinkage and has suffered a number of ‘mass bleaching’ events, where the coral turns white, over recent years.
However, the latest headlines are good: The levels of coral have recovered very well in the past year and are now at their greatest extent in 36 years. On the face of it, this is a good story.
Unfortunately, the type of coral that has now become dominant, acropora, grows fast but is also vulnerable to storms and consumption by the crown-of-thorns starfish, of which numbers go in cycles.
All this means the reef’s future is still in doubt and so too is that of coral elsewhere around the world. Far from all of this grows in the tropics; there is even coral in British waters, particularly off the coast of Scotland.
That is why using natural body products is important for protecting coral all over the world, by reducing pollution and utilising organic substances not made using processes that emit lots of carbon.
Indeed, there are many different things people can do to protect coral, including avoiding using skin products containing chemicals that harm marine life, not using excessive water that increases run-off into the sea and avoiding the use of incandescent light bulbs that use more energy and contribute to global warming. In addition, do not buy living coral. It belongs in the sea!
The latest news from the Great Barrier Reef may be positive, but to keep the good news coming, it’s important that what we put on our skin does not end up harming the beautiful and delicate marine environments that exist around the world.