When mass coral bleaching and die-offs were first identified in the 1980s, and eventually linked to warming events, the reef science community was sure that such a dramatic and unambiguous signal would serve as a warning sign about the devastating effects of global warming. Except it didn’t! Most of us just did not give a damn. Coral reefs were just another just-so nature story.
Subsequent decades have witnessed yet more degradation. Reefs around the world have lost more than 50 percent of their living coral since the 1970s.
With a lifetime enmeshed in coral reef science, I’ve witnessed their scintillating splendor and I do care what happens to them. I also see their tragedy as an early sign of the wider environmental crisis we’ve built through our selfish disregard for Nature. In this book, I take the reader on a journey to make reefs real, building a sense of awe and wonder that they exist, and a commitment to caring about their plight. Together we explore why the reef story has had so little impact and we reframe the enormous challenge humanity faces as a noble venture to steer the planet into safe waters, waters that might even retain some coral reefs.
Now available for prepublication orders at Yale University Press or your favorite bookstore.