Fighting to Save Coral Reefs After Mass Bleaching Events

When Pagos awoke, the world was a different place. The sunlight that usually shined from the surface was blotted out with bottles and plastic bags. The once-vibrant coral reefs that used to be home to the fish that swam around his home were devoid of color. They were dying.

The cause? Humans.

“Human nature is to take what is not given — to act without thinking of consequences— to spite those who would dare to question whether something is right only because it is easy,” Pagos once said. 

Littering is easy. Throwing toxic waste into the ocean is easy. It’s out of the public eye, Humans would believe. But that’s not the case for the Atlantians and sea creatures living in the ocean waters. Reversing the damage that Humans have done to the ocean will not be easy, but it’s time to start the process. It’s time to take back the oceans, protecting them from further damage.

TideTurn takes place on land — mainly in coastal cities above Atlantian oceans. But while the gameplay takes place on land, most of the lore and the story behind TideTurn takes place in the ocean. 

As Humans continuously ruined the earth’s oceans with pollution, global warming, offshore fracking, and overfishing the Atlantians chose to fight back in an attempt to preserve their home and its rich history. And when Humans started to purposely target the ocean to weaken the Atlantians, TideTurn began. 

TideTurn conservation

The Atlantian attacks on coastal cities and towns around the world are retribution for the destruction of the cities, civilizations, and species under the waves, some dying and possibly disappearing forever. About 25% of marine species are found within and around coral reefs — that’s over 57,000 species (of those that can be verified). Despite the ocean’s ecosystem relying on these underwater cities, structures, and species, humanity has been rapidly and continuously destroying them. 

What is Happening to the Ocean’s Coral Reefs? 

TideTurn conservation

Because of the unnaturally high temperatures of the sea’s surface caused by human activity, ocean conservation organizations have reported mass coral bleaching. The loss of coral coverage leads to a decline in fish diversity, affecting the coral reef ecosystem immensely. And it’s only getting worse. 

Scientists first noticed coral bleaching in the 1980s. But 2016 spelled disaster. El Nino’s weather pattern caused warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean. Combined with the unusually warm waters from global warming, Soon thereafter, a third of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef were dead or dying. Since then, half of Australia’s 1,500-mile reef has died off in further bleaching events. 

A half. 

Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning of the Human’s destruction.

In 2014 and 2015, 47% of the corals in Oahu suffered from bleaching — 10% were dying. In Maui, another Hawaiian island, 44% of the corals were affected. 

Hanuii can’t help but swim by the reefs and see their deterioration. She will often pick off pieces that have died, tears in her eyes. It’s hard for her to not think of the colorful fish she usually encounters on her secret journeys to land and how one day they may not be there.

From 2014 to 2017, mass bleaching due to heat stress has affected more than 75% of the reefs around the world. So far, 19% of coral reefs have died and 60% of the remaining reefs are at immediate risk of being lost. 

In 2016, 51% of coral reefs around the globe experienced severe mass bleaching, including 85% of the northern and far-northern Great Barrier Reef. This killed 29% of the reef’s shallow-water corals. In the western Indian Ocean, up to 99% of the corals were bleached, leaving 50% of the Seychelles dead. 

In 2017, National Geographic said that 25% of the world’s reefs experienced severe bleaching events, leaving scientists to call the past three years the “worst-ever sequence of bleaching to date.”

Unfortunately, mass bleaching of coral reefs is only getting worse and more widespread. as global warming and pollution continue. 

You see yourself as a defender… Surely you see the world needs saving from humanity…” Crato says to Humans he encounters. “How can you be so blind to humanity’s destruction of this planet?” 

It must be devastating after waking up thousands of years later, only to see what Humans have done to the oceans in a matter of centuries. It’s no wonder the Atlantians want to put a stop to humanity’s grasp on the world. The sea creatures they love are disappearing. Plastic and barrels of oil have fallen below the surface, destroying the Atlantians’ once-clear path through the waters they respect and love.

But Humans have started to realize their mistakes because they can’t escape the destruction they’ve caused. It’s coming back to haunt humanity.

Mass bleaching is not only threatening a quarter of all life in the ocean but damaging to humans as well. More than 500 million people depend on coral reefs for income, food, and coastal protection. In fact, it’s estimated that coral reefs prevent $94 million in flood damages every year since healthy reefs absorb 97% of a wave’s energy, saving coastal cities from property damage and lost lives. 

TideTurn conservation

What is Being Done to Save Coral Reefs?

Tackling mass bleaching is a critical problem — but a huge one. Since coral reefs all over the planet are being damaged and killed, scientists all over the world have to study what’s happening locally to find out the biggest impacts on various coral reef ecosystems. 

In Florida, the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration has recognized the additional stress from warming waters as the final step in killing coral reef in the area. The team harvests samples of corals that have survived the pressures of global warming and then breeds them with the goal of reattaching them to the reef. The lab will sometimes have almost 50,000 corals growing in an underwater nursery. 

In Massachusettes, researchers discovered two things that could keep coral reefs alive: cooler internal waves and adaptation. Corals in the area are sitting in hot water caused by unnaturally rising temperatures, but certain coral has found ways to deal with these higher temperatures, allowing them to survive heatwaves. Now scientists are looking into how much more heat corals can adapt to as global warming continues. 

A research biologist at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is focused on coral reefs in the Bahamas. Ross Cunning noticed that one reef in the Bahamas survived 2015’s intense heat while another did not. Now, his team is studying the genes of the surviving reef in hopes of using it in restoration projects. 

TideTurn conservation

Corals date back over 400 million years. Each time the earth has changed, coral has adapted to the vastly varied temperatures. This proves that corals have the ability to survive. Possibly. Corals have never had to adapt as quickly as they must today thanks to global warming. 

So what can the gaming community do? 

We must continue to spread awareness about the critical state of the world’s oceans, much of it possibly irreversible and life-altering. And we must continue to discuss ocean conservation and how we can become part of the movement to save the earth’s waters. 

At TideTurn, we look forward to collaborating with oceanographers and ocean conservation groups to bring more awareness to issues like coral reef mass bleachings. With new maps, skins, game modes, and special events revolving around these efforts, we are hopeful that the TideTurn community will understand this pressing issue and help the Defenders save the oceans from destruction. 

The Old Ones would be pleased.

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