Letter from the Earth – COP15 on November 15, 2022


Dory and Nemo are probably the most famous inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast of Australia is the largest contiguous collection of more than 2900 individual coral reefs on earth. In 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it is also called one of the Seven Wonders of Nature.


The origin of the Great Barrier Reef dates back some 600,000 years. The area of the Great Barrier Reef is about 347,800 km² and it can be seen with the naked eye from space.

The Great Barrier Reef, with its 359 species of stony coral, forms the largest structure on earth created by living creatures. It provides a habitat for a large number of other species, including 80 species of soft corals and sea feathers, over 1500 species of fish, 1500 species of sponges, 5000 species of molluscs, 800 species of echinoderms such as starfish, 500 different species of seaweed and 215 species of birds. Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles are found in the Great Barrier Reef. Among them are the endangered loggerhead turtles and the Pacific green turtles, which use the reef to lay their eggs. Also threatened with extinction are the dugongs (manatees) that live there. Furthermore, the humpback whales living near Antarctica use the warm waters to give birth to their young, and the jagged and branched coral beds provide ideal conditions for snails and rare mollusks such as Arthritica species or spiny snails such as Murex pecten.

The Reef is suffering from a large-scale coral bleaching event for the fourth time since 2016 and the sixth time since 1998. By 2020, the Great Barrier Reef had already lost half of its coral. The cause of the bleaching is increased sea temperatures. The average seawater temperature in the region is about 1.5 degrees higher than 150 years ago. This is a consequence of global warming. Bleaching slows coral growth and reproduction and promotes more frequent coral diseases. This endangers not only the corals but with them all the creatures that live there.

This is what Letter from the Earth tells us about from the perspective of the Great Barrier Reef:

The images of the natural wonder Great Barrier Reef and much more to discover at https://galerialevanteymar.etsy.com

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