My route to the front lines of the campaign to save coral reefs in the Caribbean takes me over the concrete, steel, and glass landscape of South Florida. Fifty years ago, heat, bugs, disease, snakes, hurricanes, and all manner of natural uncertainty swatted cities and settlements away like pests. Then air conditioning, interstate highways, and DDT hastened our rush to live in comfort and profit from the tropical extremes of this tender peninsula. We thought of the coastal morass as a wasteland, a problem to be solved, rather than as a natural means for filtering and easing our impact on the land and sea around us. By now we've traded most of that great swamp, its upstream watersheds, and its coastline for a place where millions of people live, grow sugarcane, launch rockets, drive to work, go to football games, and take the kids to Disney World—all the while, in the surrounding waters of the Keys and Caribbean, coral reefs are dead or dying.
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Corals tend to be history's children, ever coming back on the Permian extinguishing, possibly due to a atmospheric event 225 mil years ago, and living through the actual Cretaceous extinguishing, which often erased this dinosaurs 65 million in years past after a good star-shaped dead into the globe. Many 30 million rice, these small heirs begun to construct their reef structures and also accomplish their particular important jobs of filter, nutriment, and also ore dressing. Now there is absolutely no such visible problem, yet the coral reefs as well as their tireless constructors are usually desperate on an escalating rate.
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