Coral Bleaching | The Incredibly Beautiful Phase of Death - Guest Blog

December 02, 2017

dying coral


The ocean is definitely a mysterious place. It is the most therapeutic yet powerful force known to human. It is the source of life. Without having a healthy ocean we don't have a healthy planet. It controls everything from the temperature of our planet to the production of a massive 70% of our oxygen. We all know about deforestation, so why isn't deoceanation (my new word) a thing!?!

"Just because the ocean is out of sight does not mean it should be out of mind"

- Chasing Coral

coral bleaching

We Learn & We Grow

If you haven't watched Chasing Coral yet, please please do. It is one of the most powerful documentaries I've seen & it really is sending out a message we all need to be aware of. By watching documentaries like this we learn, & therefore can do something to help make a difference. We can slow down the problems we have & are still currently causing.

I'm constantly trying to learn so that I can grow & be the best person I can be. I find that I learn through visual interaction, & so documentaries are something that I can really connect with. Chasing Coral was different. I'm not one to get emotional, especially when watching films, but within the first 8mins of watching Chasing Coral, let's just say I was pretty emotional. It's definitely one of the most heart-breaking things I've ever watched. It's absolutely devastating to see the effects that our actions as humans are having on a whole other, alien-like, eco-system. Coral in the ocean is a fundamental part of a huge ecosystem, just like trees are in the rainforest. We need to look after them, just as much as they look after us.


Dead coral

The Oceans turn to Snow

The ocean is magic, time slows down underwater, or at least it may feel like it. Until it comes to coral bleaching, it seems that time is speeding up. Bleaching occurs when the water temperature increases, this causes the corals' stress levels to rise, tuning itself white in order to protect itself. By turning itself white, it shuts down the way in which it feeds, & much like humans, coral needs food to survive.

Think about it this way. When we as humans pick up a bug or get ill, our body temperature rises slightly higher. Well, when the temperature of the ocean rises slightly higher by as little as 2degrees, this is when bleaching occurs. It's a stress response much like a fever in humans. Body temperature rising can be fatal, it is the same for the ocean.  The corals' ability to feed is impaired, & it starts to starve. That's when you see the white looking structures, this is actually the Skelton of the coral. So although it may look beautiful underwater, the truth behind it is actually the complete opposite.

"It is the incredibly beautiful phase of death. It's saying look at me, please notice"

- Chasing Coral

Through the increased production of greenhouse gas emissions (thanks to livestock & fossil fuel production), we have changed the average rate at which the atmosphere, & therefore oceans have been warming. It's like we forget that when we burn fossil fuels carbon dioxide goes into the air. 93% of this CO2 is trapped in the air goes into the ocean. This whole ecosystem is being threatened on our watch, so why the hell is no one listening?


diving female


When We Change the Rate of Time

In the 1980's the first big coral bleaching occurred, 13 years later it occurred again, then in 2010 we had two global scale mass bleachings. Now only 5 years after that we have had our 3rd mass bleaching. The oceans are warming & the process is speeding up, time is getting faster. Which means there is no longer enough time for the coral to recover, it is dying. Global warming is causing a heat wave which is killing the coral. In the last 30 years, we've lost 50% of the worlds coral, in the next 30 years, we are forecast to lose 90% of ALL coral. 80-90% of the coral in Florida is already gone. The oceans have been warming & are continuing to. This WILL affect the human race, there is no doubt about it.

"& we are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends"

- Pocahontas


dying coral


The Realisation

For a while now I've been getting more & more interested in looking into ways in which we are causing environmental problems, & what I/we can do to help. I spent the first couple of years of my Fine Art University Degree at UAL looking into problems related to deforestation & deoceanation. Even though I went off this topic from time to time, I always ended up looping back round to my focus being on the ocean, & many of my prints were largely influenced by the underwater world.

So when I decided to travel the world, scuba diving was definitely on the top of my list of things to experience. Well, last week I was not only lucky enough to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, but I was also lucky enough to see it from an aerial view.

The sight from above was absolutely breath-taking it was beyond beautiful, it was so surreal. Unfortunately, the view from underwater was also breath-taking, but not for the right reasons. There is nowhere near as much coral or ocean life as you would expect to see in the Great Barrier Reef (one of the 7 wonders of the world) which really shouldn't come as a surprise, as last year 30% of the GBR died, & earlier this year it was officially pronounced dead.

I feel like the link of being that involved with a certain part of the ocean from above & below, & then seeing Chasing Coral is the real reason as to why it really hit home with me. Unless you can make that personal connection then this is probably another blog post that many people will read & just dismiss. Please don't let that be the case. This is an advanced issue & it matters. It's absolutely devastating & it is something that we need to urgently address. Us losing the GBR (our biggest underwater eco-system in the world) has got to wake up the world. If that doesn't then what will!?!

"We need forests, we need trees, & we need the reef. Or can we just live in the ashes of it all?"

- Chasing Coral 


dying coral


What you can do! 

"The film that is dedicated to all the young who can & will make a difference"

- Chasing Coral

The transformation is beginning, it's still possible to reduce the rate at which the climate is changing. We have the money, resources & brains. So let's do something about it! Head over to to see what you can do to make a difference. Or check out some of my previous blog posts:

F*ck Fast Fashion 

Plant-Based Eating

How to Live more Consciously & Save the Earth 


Check out my #planetlove Series where I talk about all things eco-friendly & post super yummy plant-based recipes. 


dying coral

Shop Responsibly

Want to do your part to help save the Earth? Buy friends & families presents from responsible companies this Christmas!

My Mantra Active Uses recycled plastic to create their amazing ocean inspired active wear. Give back this Christmas & Shop Responsibly.

Cork Yogis Help women in India get out of the sex slave industry, one purchase at a time. Money from your purchase goes to giving them & education & teaching them a skill.

Sand Cloud (use code AnnaShaw25% for discount) #savethefishies 10% of your purchase goes to helping Marine charities. 



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Love Annie | Rocket & Honey

Social Media | @rocketandhoney


I feel like this is an issue that is really close to my heart, but I understand not everybody has that same personal connection. If anybody has any great ideas for helping people connect with this problem, then we would love to hear them. We love hearing your thoughts & opinions, especially on trending topics. So feel free to comment below or get in touch. We love hearing from you! 


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