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Solutionaries delves into Florida’s dying coral reefs, impacts of climate change * Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – Climate change is an issue that affects everyone and almost everything.

It has also affected coral reefs off the coast of Florida. Coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate, threatened by climate change diseases.

“These reefs basically act as barriers when hurricanes and strong storms hit the state of Florida. As they dissipate and die and global warming causes more severe and powerful hurricanes, we will see more damage and the impact of that,” said News 6 investigator Erik Sandoval.

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Working with various programs and organizations, Sandoval delved into the many solutions they are developing to help coral reefs survive and thrive.

“What we found was that two arch-rivals, Disney and Sea World, are actually working together to take these little pieces of coral and re-propagate them in a lab in an unassuming location in the middle of Orlando to save the next generation.” said Sandoval.

This story is just part of our latest episode of Solutionaries. News 6 Investigator Louis Bolden hosts the episode focusing on climate change.

“In our normal investigative stories that air on TV, we have about 2.5 minutes to dig and get results for people. With Solutionaries, we have all the time we want to tell the story, dig, and find solutions to these issues that affect everyone,” Sandoval said.

The hour-long episode of Solutionaries covers multiple topics related to climate change, including urban heat and how urban landscapes affect nature’s balance, solar-powered homes and how the system works, and how groups are taking action to protect coral reefs.

“One of the most surprising things that came out is that the Florida Coral Rescue Project isn’t just happening here in Florida, they’re taking propagated coral and sending it to aquariums across the US,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval also follows divers who are part of the Florida Coral Rescue Project.

The project is a collaboration of agencies working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to not only stop coral death, but to find ways to bring back their population.

Dozens of divers got ready and formed four teams to search for two major threats to Florida’s corals. Bleaching is caused when the water temperature gets too warm. Researchers say that this is one of the consequences of climate change.

Hard coral tissue disease is a waterborne bacterium that can be fatal if left untreated. Researchers are still trying to figure out where the bacteria came from.

So what can you learn from solutionaries?

“Solutions are not always immediate. Solutions are in the works. Are there better solutions in the future? Absolutely. That’s the point of this program,” Sandoval said.

A big part of Solutionaries is you, our reader and viewer. We encourage our community members to get involved in this project and future projects. Do you have ideas for solutions to our coral reef problem? Let us know in the comments below. If you have ideas for future Solutionaries pieces, please share them with us. Together we can find solutions and bring about change.

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