For many years I devoured everything I could read or watch about the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Why? Because it was the largest biomass on earth, home to countless coral and fish species that added significantly to the beauty and biodiversity of this world. The abundance of this living art inspired and uplifted me.
Then, in 2016 Scientific American published an article stating that 93%—yes, you read that right: NINETY-THREE percent—of the coral that makes up the Great Barrier Reef was dead, mostly in the previous 3 years, almost entirely caused by the increasing temperatures of the water, acidification from human-polluted water runoff, and fishing. I kept reading that number, and I could hardly take it in. That place was one of the greatest wonders of the world, but now it’s dead. Because we just don't care. We do what suits US. We devastate the planet and each other with equal disregard.
In our defense, the causative factors increased slowly, and we did not know exactly what was going to happen until it was too late to reverse it. But we DID know that what we were doing to the planet overall wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t loving. We really did know that.
You could swim above the great reef now, and you might conclude that most of the coral was simply white—after all, the formations are all there—while other patches were colored. But no, white coral is dead. It’s a skeleton of the previously living organisms.
So, the reef’s death occurred gradually, while we did nothing—hoping it wouldn’t really happen, actually—much as happens with us as human beings. Our emptiness and fears—our pain—began in infancy, but because the evidence of it—our reactions to the pain—was revealed gradually, we did nothing about the reactions or the underlying, root pain. And then—apparently all of a sudden—we were surrounded by intolerable pain and the involuntary and deadly responses we had developed to it. “All of a sudden” the water temperature was too high, and the reef was dead.
We must pay attention sooner. We must learn to love our children and help them avoid the emotional destruction of the pain that always accompanies a lack of Real Love. We must learn to feel loved ourselves, so we can love them and teach them how to live.
The reef is so much more beautiful when the coral is alive. Life is infinitely more beautiful when our souls are alive.
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