Despite the natural world appearing to benefit from our absence over the last several months, the Great Barrier Reef continues to suffer from the effects of climate change...
It's no secret that centuries of human activity has been gradually destroying our planet.
via: GettyOverpopulation, pollution, fossil fuels, and deforestation are just a few of the negative impact we humans have had upon our earth.
Vast areas of the Earth, which were once rich with natural life...
via: GettyAre now looming concrete jungles suffocated by smog and various other toxic, man-made emissions.
But, out of all of these devastating effects, it is our animals who have been impacted the most.
via: GettyOver the years, animal populations have been dwindling, and many species have become fully extinct or endangered as a result of hunting, poaching, and the destruction of natural habitats.
Our oceans haven't been faring much better, either.
via: GettyYears of excessive plastic use have come back to haunt us, with a high percentage our oceans simply teeming with discarded plastic.
There was a slight improvement in 2020 for our struggling planet.
via: GettyDue to the ongoing medical pandemic.
Humans have been required to stay indoors.
via: GettyAnd staying indoors isn't only saving lives... It is potentially saving our environment and our animals, too.
The empty streets have had a staggering impact on our planet.
Now we are confined to our homes, our streets are sparse, resulting in a sudden drop in toxic emissions such as Co2 and carbon monoxide.
Pollution levels are at an all time low.
Compared to 2019, air pollution in New York has been reduced by nearly 50% because of measures to contain the… https://t.co/eRN7cmE8YU— Andrew Hill (@Andrew Hill)1585701187.0
And, of course, our animals are benefiting massively from this sudden change in human activity.
via: GettyMother Nature is thriving - plants are flourishing, trees are blossoming, and various animals are making appearances in the most unlikely of places.
It is one of the few benefits of this pandemic...For example, dolphins have returned to the canals of Venice, which were once swarming and overcrowded with tourists. It just goes to show the devastating impact we have had upon the wildlife we share our planet with, and the extreme lengths it has taken for our earth to finally start healing.
For the first time in decades, nature has been able to take it's course uninterrupted...
via: GettyAnd this has hugely benefited our marine life in particular.
From the number of turtles to the number of fish in the oceans...
via: GettyThese beautiful creatures have been impacted massively by plastic and waste pollution in the oceans, with many of them being caught up in large pieces of the debris and, in some devastating cases, being suffocated.
But now, these beaches are the quietest they've been in decades.
via: GettyBeaches all over the world remain void of people and pollution, meaning animals like turtles are finally able to nest peacefully - And they're completely thriving as a result.
Plastic pollution has lowered drastically, also.
via: Getty"All of the reduced human presence on the beach also means that there will be less garbage and other plastics entering the marine environment," Godfrey an expert analyst has said. "Ingestion and entanglement in plastic and marine debris also are leading causes of injury..."
And this has meant that marine animals can now return to their habitats.
via: Getty ImagesAlthough unfortunately, coral reefs aren't benefiting from the drop in human publicity.
The Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its coral in the last twenty-five years...
via: GettyAnd the beautiful reefs once brimming with life are being bleached due to climate change.
Research carried out by the University of Queensland said that the damage to reefs are also killing off species that once made their home there.
via: GettyStudy co-author Professor Terry Hughes, of the University of Queensland, Australia, said: "We found the number of small, medium and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50 percent since the 1990s. "The decline occurred in both shallow and deeper water, and across virtually all species - but especially in branching and table-shaped corals. "These were the worst affected by record-breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017."
The research showed throughout the years of 1995 and 2017, there was significant depletion in the reef.
via: GettyHe explained: "We measured changes in colony sizes because population studies are important for understanding demography and the corals' capacity to breed."
They need to improve the data captured on the bleaching of the reef and update current findings...
via: GettyDr Dietzel continued: "If we want to understand how coral populations are changing and whether or not they can recover between disturbances, we need more detailed demographic data: on recruitment, on reproduction and on colony size structure."
Prof Hughes added...
via: Getty"We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size - but our results show that even the world's largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline."
They concluded: "There is no time to lose - we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP."
via: GettyLet's hope we have more time to reverse the catastrophic effects. Keep scrolling for more...