In collaboration with the Ocean Agency, Google has created the Underwater Street View to show off the beauty of the coral reefs and the danger they are in due to climate change, according to a Google Earth blog post.
“I am floating above a graveyard, millions of tiny skeletons below me. I am stunned, I am silent. I am witnessing a tragedy in progress. My camera clicks and whirrs, capturing a 360-degree picture of the devastation,” said Richard Vevers, the founder and CEO of the Ocean Agency.
In order to show off the devastation of the coral reefs, he helped create a documentary with Exposure Labs named Chasing Coral, that is now available on Netflix. Chasing Coral shows how coral is bleaching and dying due to the temperature around the world slowly rising as a result of climate change.
In order to show this, crew members had to literally set up cameras on the ocean floor that would record this incredibly terrifying phenomenon, a potentially dangerous task. The efforts of the people who have worked on this film lead it to winning numerous documentary and film awards, including the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Chasing Coral was born from a simple idea: If we could give people a personal, up-close look at how their oceans are being destroyed, they would want to protect them. For the past five years, we’ve been working with Google to make this happen, said Vevers. “We created Underwater Street View, which lets people take virtual dives in some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. Now with Google Earth, you can splash around in the sparkling waters of a coral reef without even leaving the house.”
With the Underwater Street View, Vevers hopes that people will not only be able to see the affects of climate change on the coral reefs, but to show off how amazing and important they are to our oceans and environment.
Another way the Ocean Agency plans to introduce the world to the danger of coral reefs dying is to create a list of coral reefs that have yet to be affected so that they can be heavily protected and possibly be used to help out other coral reefs that have died named 50 Reefs. The company has already received the support of several big philanthropists (Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation to name two) in order to fund these initiatives further.
Along with climate change, other causes of the death of coral reefs include “overfishing and destructive fishing, pollution, warming, changing ocean chemistry, and invasive species,” according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Coral reefs also play a big role for different sea creatures who create homes amongst it, which means that they are also affected when the reefs die.
The biggest way that people can help stop coral reefs from dying off is by reducing the amount of fossil fuels we burn off, also according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “Carbon dioxide is both warming the ocean, resulting in coral bleaching, and changing the chemistry of the ocean, causing ocean acidification. Both making it harder for corals to build their skeletons,” it says in the section on how to protect coral reefs.
Climate change has proved time and time again that the Earth’s environment is being seriously affected due to the rise in temperature throughout the world. Chasing Coral and the Underwater Street View displays just one of the affects of human’s negatively affecting the environment.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.