With the new release of Finding Dory, State Tourism Minister of Australia, Kate Jones, asked for Ellen DeGeneres to come visit the Great Barrier Reef. DeGeneres’ character, Dory, is from the Great Barrier Reef and Jones believed that DeGeneres’ should visit the reef to see why it’s considered one of the best reefs in the world. The natural wonder looks beautiful within the movie, but in reality the reef is slowly dying; according to CNN, the reef will be extinct by 2050 if no action is taken to prevent coral bleaching.
Global warming is a contributing factor to this phenomenon due to the extreme changes in temperature. Algae and coral depend on one another to survive, but when there are drastic changes in temperature, light, or nutrients, the coral become stressed which causes the algae to leave the tissue of the coral. The surface of the coral then turns completely white, leaving the surface completely vulnerable to the ocean acidification that occurs when there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The coral begins to decay and will eventually die, affecting the ecosystem within the reef.
DeGeneres has partnered with the Disney branded campaign, Remember the Reef, to help spread awareness about the issue. One of the goals of the campaign is to restore the mangrove forests along the Queensland coast to help improve the ecosystem. DeGeneres is also donating some of her earnings from her latest movie to help touch up the reef and to save the remaining sea dwelling creatures of the Coral Sea.
For more information about coral bleaching within the Great Barrier Reef click here.