"Year of the Reef" Launches Today
Coral reefs around the world are dying off at record rates as pollution and climate change pack a pretty nasty one-two punch.
In response, the International Coral Reef Initiative has declared 2008 The International Year of the Reef, "a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them." Year of the Reef officially launches today at a ceremony in Washington, DC.
Reefs are home to more than 25% of the world's marine life, and play a huge role in protecting coastal territories from big storms. Meanwhile, many nations rely on tourism generated by reef tours (which, ironically, also produce a lot of reef-endangering pollution). Reefs are also big business for smugglers, who find huge profits in illegally harvested coral.
Worth reading: The NOAA's great list of "Things You Can Do to Protect Coral Reefs."
By the way, 2008 is also "Year of the Frog." (Didn't want you to think I'd forgotten.)
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