Video Explores Where Coral Reefs Are Most At Risk (Spoiler Alert: Pretty Much Everywhere)

Frequency of coral bleaching is expected to rise dramatically in the coming decades

By 2030, more than 90% of coral reefs could be threatened by local activities like overfishing and global-wide events like climate change, say researchers at the World Resources Institute.

Destruction of these valuable ecosystems would be a devastating environmental and economic tragedy. While only 0.1% of total ocean area, coral reefs host around 25% of marine life. They also help drive economic activity from fishing, tourism and help protect communities from storm surges — providing a benefit that stretches far beyond the oceans.

Different reefs are at risk for different reasons. The World Resources Institute has been working on tracking damages to these ecosystems for the last three years, providing detailed maps and data on the health of reefs in different regions of the world.

Researchers at WRI just put together a fascinating video using Google Earth maps to illustrate how reefs in the Caribbean, Middle East, Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific are fairing — and what kind of impact that could have to communities in those regions.

At 14 minutes long, the video is quite long. But it’s worth a watch. If you don’t have time to see the whole thing, check out the range of maps and charts on the health of these reefs.

For more background on the fate of coral reefs, see:



3 Responses to Video Explores Where Coral Reefs Are Most At Risk (Spoiler Alert: Pretty Much Everywhere)

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    If you can stand the guilt from the carbon footprint, I suggest that CP readers take a snorkeling trip to the Tuamoto atolls in French Polynesia. You will find the most magical place on earth, with 200 foot visibility and hundreds of plant and fish species. The water is warm enough to swim in all day without a wetsuit, and there are so many fish that the abundant reef and tiger sharks won’t bother you. You won’t need a tank, either, since you will see plenty of fish a few feet below the surface.

    Climate warriors deserve this trip, and take your children, too. Savor it, since it will either be underwater or degraded in our children’s old age.

    Joe, you work so hard, and so well, that it would be a great break for you and your precocious daughter. Maybe you shouldn’t tell anyone- who needs the guilt tripping?- but you will both remember it forever.

  2. Leif says:

    Back in the 80s my family had an opportunity to visit reefs in Hawaii and pleasant memories linger. My youngest son, (6-7), spent hours on a body board and snorkel. The sound of his melodious humming with his face in the water still brings a smile to my face. Intact Reefs are indeed magical.

  3. Toby says:

    Yes, I feel privileged that in the 1970s I swam regularly on a pristine coral reef, in the Indian Ocean.

    It was magical. Someone told me they are the oceanic equivalents of tropical rain forests.