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Like Jaws, but not really...

I recently watched Jaws again. I watch it every single summer. Call me crazy, but nothing screams summer to my Caribbean mind as the Martha’s Vineyard shoreline, the New England accent and the classic anxiety driving score. Maybe it is because I live in New York, but looking at summer through the romanticized lens of a tranquil beach town, and hearing phrases like “Wanna get drunk and fool around?” almost make me forget the fact that there is no character of color in the whole movie, but I digress…

Like in Jaws, there have been many sightings of sharks along the Long Island shore. But unlike Jaws, these sharks are not here to eat us, they are actually not interested in us at all. The only reason they are here is because they are being pushed up north by the rising temperatures of the ocean.

Researchers have confirmed that the Atlantic ocean has risen in temperature in recent years and it is causing cold water loving marine animals to swim north in search of cold waters, therefore moving out of their ecosystems and into new areas.

In short, the ocean absorbs most of the excess heat produced by greenhouse gas emissions, this heat has terrible consequences for marine life. When waters get too warm, corals get bleached, marine life dies or moves on, causing a domino effect of consequences.

The coral reefs are a beautiful, magnificent and delicate balance of life. From the smallest organisms to the biggest predator of the reefs (our friends, the sharks), everybody has a job to do. If one of them is not around to do their job, the balance is broken and the reef dies. These stunning structures we call coral reefs are not only enchanting to watch, they offer shelter to around 25% of all marine life. Coral reefs also protect shorelines by absorbing energy from waves and reducing damage from hurricanes, storms, etcetera.

So, we have covered the sharks, the reefs, now, what can we do? What can be done in a small level that will have an impact in a larger scale? Well you can learn more about the reefs, their ecosystem, the threats they are under. You can volunteer or donate to organizations that are helping restore and rehabilitate coral reefs all over the world. You can also make decisions in your everyday life that have an impact on sustainability efforts and reduce your own production of waste and greenhouse gas. Things like walking more instead of driving, or riding a bike. Or maybe that is not an option for you, but you have an electric car. Also you can choose what companies you support based on their sustainability practices.

All this to say, I do not want you to feel hopeless or useless, because you are not either of those things. You have the power of choice and you have a voice.

And I hope that the next time you hear about a shark coming into your beach and causing you to stop enjoying the water, please remember that they are not there by choice and they don't have a voice. They are there because their world is changing and that’s on us.

Thank you for being here,

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