Remember when you were a kid snorkeling at John Pennekamp in the Keys and your father panicked when he spotted a nurse shark? He plopped you atop a coral reef to take you out of danger's way. Bad daddy! Didn't he know he was damaging the reef? So what if that shark took a little nip out of you. In the grand scheme of things, that reef is a quadrillion times more important than one rotten kid.
That's the problem with humans. Totally selfish. And nothing like coral reefs, which are a model of how societies should behave. Plants and animals live harmoniously in coral reefs, and they provide food, breeding areas, and safety from predators for thousands of types of sea creatures. If your dad knew anything, he'd know coral reefs are the key to the biodiversity of sea life off the South Florida coast. And they are incredibly fragile. It takes them a whole year to grow from half an inch to seven inches, and it has taken them 5,000 to 7,000 years to get the size they are today. All it takes is a spoiled brat a couple of seconds to destroy much of that history. So step off. Learn more about the reefs during a special presentation, Florida's Fragile Coral Reefs, given by eco-historian Frank Schena at HistoryMiami Sunday.
Sun., Sept. 18, 2 p.m., 2011