I am retaking an English course to strive for a higher grade for application to the radiology program at Southern Crescent Technical College. The following contains a practice essay assignment before my second essay for my ENGL 1101 class. The essay is regarding the Netflix documentary “Coastal Seas” episode of Our Planet.
The world may lose all its coral reefs by the year 2050 (Bragdon). Reefs die for a multitude of reasons, including an increase in water temperature and water acidification due to climate change and increased carbon dioxide levels. Overfishing and illegal fishing practices are also a component in killing coral reefs, and the preservation of the ocean’s reefs are essential to human life and survival.
Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems. According to Our Planet’s “Coastal Seas” episode, they “are home to a quarter of all marine species” (“Coastal Seas” 00:40:13-00:40:57). Coral, urchins, clownfish, and sharks are only a few creatures living in reefs. Maintaining the proper balance within the food chain in these ecosystems is crucial to the reefs’ survival. Overfishing and illegal fishing practices disturb this delicate balance. Such overfishing and the unlawful practice of shark finning adversely affect shark populations. The decline of shark numbers leads to an increase in mid-level predators and fewer herbivorous fishes. The herbivores are vital because they eat the algae that would engulf the coral if left unchecked (University of Toronto).
Coral reefs not only provide habitat, food, and protection for a variety of marine life, they also help support humans. Reefs also protect people and their homes. The structures create a natural barrier from harsh storms and dangerous waves, which prevents death, injury, and damage to property. Reefs also provide food for people, create a reason for jobs like fishing, and assist in boosting the economy. In Business Insider, Amber Bragdon says, “half a billion people depend on [coral reefs] for food and work,” and “The Great Barrier Reef alone brings in over $6 billion in tourism each year” (Bragdon). Reefs provide resources for breakthrough medicines, making them crucial to the medical field (Bragdon). The oceans help keep us alive with breathable air by providing a large percentage of the world’s oxygen. Plants in the sea like kelp and coral provide oxygen like trees do on land. According to EcoWatch, coral generates half of Earth’s oxygen (Truthout). Not only do corals provide oxygen, but they are equally as important as trees in ridding the world of carbon dioxide. The Coral Reef Alliance says, “About 25 percent of all of the CO2 emitted is absorbed by the oceans, another 25 percent is absorbed by plants and trees, and the remaining 50 percent stays in the atmosphere” (“Global Threats”).
Someone might think that one person could not make much of a difference in coral reef preservation, but small actions help, especially if many participate. Driving less, walking more, carpooling, or driving an electric car limit carbon emission. Repurposing items and recycling prevent additional trash from entering the oceans. Choosing certified sustainable seafood and limiting how often one eats seafood slows overfishing; abstaining from eating food items containing shark fins lowers the market for illegal shark finning. Making donations to organizations that assist in sustaining the oceans and coral reefs help them recover and thrive.
Overfishing kills coral reefs, which are an essential resource for people. Disrupting the balance of the coral ecosystems disrupts the food chain and, in turn, causes damage to the coral. If overfishing and climate change continue at the same alarming rate, the coral will no longer be as important as trees at providing oxygen and cleaning the air we breathe. If people help, the coral reefs can recover or at least live much longer and continue to offer many valuable resources for humans.
Bragdon, Amber. “The Great Barrier Reef is at a critical tipping point and could disappear by 2050.” Business Insider, 18 Oct. 2019,
“Coastal Seas.” Our Planet, season 1, episode 4, Netflix, 2019. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/80094032.
Truthout. “Coral Reefs Could All Die Off by 2050.” EcoWatch, 16 May 2017.
“Global Threats.” Coral Reef Alliance, www.coral.org/coral-reefs-101/reef-threats/global/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2020.
University of Toronto. “Overfishing of sharks is harming coral reefs, study suggests.” ScienceDaily, 18 Sept. 2013.
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