Forget GeoEngineering! Coral Gardening Can Save the Coral Reefs

Derrick Broze
July 9, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) As the coral reefs face a growing number of environmental threats, a team of scientists in Florida is promoting a radical gardening concept as the solution.

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Scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Science have been working on refining a process known as coral gardening. According to Business Insider,

“It works like this: marine biologists cut off the tips of live branching corals, hang the pieces on man-made underwater trees where they grow, and later ‘outplant’ them on real reefs on the ocean floor.”

The scientists are now teaching the gardening methods to the public through diving trips, ecotourism, and summer camps for teens. The coral gardening strategy originated with scientists in Israel, Fiji, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Florida and the Caribbean, the efforts are being pioneered by the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). The CRF says they currently have 500 underwater trees in Florida that are growing 40,000-50,000 coral.

It is just like if you had a rosebush in your garden. As you prune that rosebush back, it grows back healthier, bushier, a little more lively,” Stephanie Schopmeyer, senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Science, told Business Insider. Schopmeyer also runs a program called Rescue a Reef that allows civilians to join the project.

Last month, Anti-Media reported on a study that called for geoengineering the climate in an attempt to save the coral reefs:

“A group of scientists from universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia have released a new study calling for geoengineering of the climate in order to save the coral reefs from a process known as ‘bleaching.’

The researchers, including authors from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Exeter, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of Queensland, call for geoengineering the climate using a practice known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM). This involves spraying aerosols from planes in an attempt to reflect the sun’s light with the purpose of preventing rising sea surface temperatures.”

The controversial practice of geoengineering has been connected to a number of possibly disastrous scenarios for the planet, including a loss of blue skies. According to a report by the New Scientist, Ben Kravitz of the Carnegie Institution for Science has shown that releasing sulphate aerosols high in the atmosphere will scatter sunlight. He says this could decrease the amount of sunlight that hits the ground by 20% and make the sky appear more hazy.

Rather than looking to mad scientists attempting to play God with the weather, perhaps we should consider ideas like coral gardening—ideas that work with the planet rather than seek to control it.

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