Climate change has all but destroyed the Great Barrier Reef located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

Scientists are devastated by their findings earlier this week concerning the Great Barrier Reef, 93% of which has been permanently bleached due to climate change. This has been the result of unusually high water temperatures. According to The Star, “When this happens, symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae, leave the coral’ bodies. This changes their colour to white and can also in effect starve them of nutrients. If bleaching continues for too long, coral dies.” There have been cases of coral bleaching worldwide as well, which scientists attribute to climate change.

The results of climate change are devastating and most likely permanent. Terry Hughes, director of the research council, states, “The northern portion, where 80 percent of reefs have been ‘severely’ bleached and 50 percent are already dead, won’t get back to what it was, certainly not in my lifetime.” This is nothing short of devastating for marine life, and eventually the planet as a whole.

Carbon dioxide pollution is the main contributor to this destruction of our climate. If we continue down the path we’re on, waters will continue to warm, killing the precious reef off for good. Other risks include sea level rise, increasing droughts, fires, flooding, and heat waves. It’s still possible to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and lower the risk of global warming. The first step is to stay conscious of your impact — responsible food choices, efficient transportation methods, reduced energy use and cautious consumption all make a difference. Addressing climate change and taking action is the only way we can preserve our planet for future generations.