On Wednesday, December 4, even in the midst of bitterly cold weather, 200-300 people came to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a talk on coral reef conservation.
On Wednesday, December 4, even in the midst of bitterly cold weather, 200-300 people came to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a talk on coral reef conservation. They piled into the steep seats of the IMAX theatre to listen to Stephanie Wear of the Nature Conservancy.
Wear is the lead scientist for coral reef conservation at the Nature Conservancy, where as an intern she helped establish the first territorial marine park in the U.S. Virgin Islands and later developed the Reef Resiliency Program.
An energetic speaker, anyone in the IMAX could clearly see that Wear is very passionate about reefs and the people who rely on them.
She shared several colorful photographs of coral reefs, as well as a few video clips, including a BBC mini-broadcast that has yet to be revealed to the public, a special treat for the audience.
The focus of her talk was on the secret of reef conservation: it is 10 percent science and 90 percent about the relationships between the people and the reefs. Wear encourages the locals to protect the reefs as a resource.
What many people don’t realize is that reefs offer a significant source of food, jobs, tourism, and overall money for the countries that have them. According to Wear, coral reefs provide a source of food to 1/2 billion people worldwide.
In addition, reefs are “underwater pharmacies,” providing chemicals currently used to make cancer-fighting medicines. We are 300-400 times more likely to find future cures in the ocean than on land, even in the rainforests.
Wear’s current work is on poop: sewage pipes and waste going into oceans. Through this, she is connecting environmental and human health, making it more relevant for us to protect the reefs.
However, the real question is: in Colorado, a landlocked state, what can we do to help the cause? Wear says that it is up to our daily choices.
Who knows? Maybe whether we turn off that bedroom light or not determines the survival of the coral reefs.