Coral reefs are beautiful and filled with life and for me that is a good enough reason to protect them. But not everyone shares that sediment with me. I also believe that massive losses of coral reefs and marine life will have unforeseen consequences on the natural world as a whole. However, the extent and implications of this damage can not be defined right now. So, for many people the potential collapse of ecosystems is not enough to change out habits.
Maybe money and the overall health of the global economy will encourage people to change their habits. If you believe that we should save and protect valuable things then maybe a report by ecological economist Pavan Sukdev, from the UNEP and lead author of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity that states that the world’s coral reefs save us $172 billion per year. That works out to each hectare being worth $130,000-$1.2 million per year due to the economic value of fishing and other services dependent on the reef, plus the value reefs have in protecting coastlines in storms. These numbers were derived from 80 different studies conducted over the last 15 years.
And maybe the environment nor the enviroment matter to you, but feeding the world population does. An estimated 500 million people depend on coral reefs for food. Most of these people are located in Southeast Asia. While these 500 million people will be devasted by the death of coral reefs they are not the ones causing the reefs demise. Coral reefs can not survive if the atomospheric carbon dixiode levels excess 350 ppm. Setting an atomsopheric limit on carbon dioxide will be discussed by world leaders when they meet in Copenhagen. Many scientists believe that 450 ppm is sufficent, but it will lead to the death of coral reefs around the world.