Coral bleaching is about to cause one of the biggest breakups of all time.

Once upon a time, there was coral.

Coral lives in the ocean and forms massive, magnificent reefs when it binds together. The reefs, with their hard bony structure and various nooks and crannies, provide protection and shelter for all manner of marine wildlife.


Photo by Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images.

Then algae came bouncing along, and something beautiful happened.

Algae, one of the oldest lifeforms on the planet, had been drifting through the ocean waters for millions of years, attaching itself to anything it could in order to reproduce.

Algae! Photo via Simon Andrews/Wikimedia Commons.

Algae found a home with coral, and the two quickly fell in love.

Coral provides carbon nutrients and protection for algae, and algae provides food for coral through its photosynthesis. It's a perfect symbiotic partnership, and algae and coral found out they were a match made in heaven. On Earth. In the ocean.

Everyone was happy. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images.

For hundreds of millions of years, coral and algae's relationship has been rock solid. But times are unfortunately changing.

You know how sudden, massive changes in your life can put a stress on your relationship? Like the loss of a job or a death in the family? Well, the same thing can happen to coral and algae.

When the couple's environment experiences sudden changes, coral reefs can get stressed out, which affects its ability to be the good, supportive partner algae fell in love with. The algae is then forced to abandon the coral and seek out a better life elsewhere in the sea.

This is a process known as coral bleaching.

The coral looks "bleached" because algae is what gives it its bright green color. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

One of the largest coral reefs in the world, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, has been abandoned by almost all of its algae.

It's one of the most significant coral bleaching events ever recorded and possibly the biggest oceanic celebrity breakup since South America left Africa in the great Pangea split.

Currently, 93% of the Great Barrier Reef has been left by its algae — a scarily high number, one which has never been seen before.

The Great Barrier Reef is visited by about 1.6 million people every year. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

Who's to blame for this deep-sea Shakespearian romantic tragedy?

One of the most significant coral stressors is changing ocean surface temperatures. The "photosynthetic efficiency" of coral and algae's millennias-old lovefest drops if temperatures become too warm or too cold.

Lately, human-made climate change has pushed ocean surface temperatures way above normal. Australian ocean temperatures are also greatly affected by El Niño, which has recently become more extreme as a result of the greenhouse warming of the planet.

Greenpeace activists painting a message on the side of a coal ship. Photo by Greenpeace via Getty Images.

That temperature shift has forced algae to pack its bags and leave the Great Barrier Reef cold, lonely, and in serious danger.

To be fair, parts of the Great Barrier Reef will regain their algae population when (or if) ocean temperatures drop back down. But scientists have already seen large portions of the reef permanently die due to the sudden loss of algae.

Some scientists estimate that the Great Barrier Reef will face total extinction in decades. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images.

Global climate change will also continue to produce temperature extremes unless we do something about it, meaning that coral stressors will become worse and worse every year, and these bleaching events will become even more significant.

There are 8 billion reasons to fight climate change. Now there's one more.

One of Earth's oldest and best love stories is coming to an end off the coast of Australia, but fighting back against climate change can save it.

If you don't want to do it for humanity, do it for Earth's greatest couple. Do it for a partnership that deserves to continue.

Do it for love.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less
via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less