Lewis Pugh, a British-South African endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans, is attempting what is believed to be the first swim across the Red Sea in an effort to draw attention to the growing vulnerability of coral reefs and the world’s oceans in the face of the climate crisis, the Lewis Pugh Foundation said in a press release. Pugh anticipates traveling six miles every day for around two weeks to complete the almost 100-mile journey.
According to The Hill, Pugh Started the Historic Swim a Few Days Ago.
Starting in Saudi Arabia, Pugh’s voyage will culminate in Hurghada, Egypt. The swimmer will cross Sharm el-Sheikh, the site of the COP27 UN climate summit, along the way.
Coral reefs are the basis for 25% of all ocean life, making them the ecosystems on the planet with the greatest biological diversity.
Not only will we wipe out thousands of species if we lose our coral reefs, but we will also lose a whole ecosystem that is essential to our survival. In human history, this would be unparalleled. Coral reefs are the cradles of our seas and the habitat of some of the most amazing life forms on the planet. In the press release, Pugh stated, “I refuse to accept that we could lose them in my lifetime.”
Pugh will urge for the conservation of 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 and stress the significance of ocean health in addressing the climate issue at the climate conference.
The 52-year-old Pugh will be swimming across the Red Sea, passing over some of the planet’s richest coral reef ecosystems and navigating one of the busiest shipping channels to the Suez Canal.
I have swum in some absolutely stunning and diversified coral reefs. There are fish of every imaginable color and type. But when I returned a few years later, there wasn’t much left, Pugh told BBC News.
The World’s Oceans Have All Been Traversed by Pugh, Who Is the First to Have Done It.
Pugh, who has swum in some of the coldest seas on the planet, will swim in some of the warmest waters in the Red Sea.
Pugh stated in the press release, “I have been swimming in the world’s oceans for 35 years, and during that period, I have witnessed them change significantly. The Polar Regions and coral reefs have undergone the most significant alterations, in my opinion.
Rising temperatures are having an impact on both: the coral is dying and the poles are melting. The Ground Zeros of the climate crisis are ice and coral. These alterations are taking place right in front of our eyes and are undeniable proof that the world is warming up.
Scientists have warned that 70% of the planet’s coral reefs will disappear if global temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. A two-degree Celsius increase in global warming will result in the extinction of 99 percent of coral reefs. The planet is currently headed for an increase of at least 2.2 degrees Celsius.
According to Pugh’s statement in the news release, coral reefs serve as unambiguous barometers that show what happens when the globe warms. Now, every tenth of a degree counts.
Coral from the red sea is exceptionally hardy. Researchers have discovered that the corals of the Red Sea are better able to withstand warming and acidification than other corals, like those of the Great Barrier Reef that are subject to increasingly frequent bleaching events.
Half of the world’s coral reefs are believed to have been destroyed since the 1950s due to factors such as warming ocean temperatures, reef disturbance, pollution, and overfishing.
In order to conserve the Red Sea’s priceless resources, the Lewis Pugh Foundation and the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), a group of experienced divers, scientists, community members, and business experts, have teamed for Pugh’s Red Sea swim.
The Great Fringing Reef in the Egyptian Red Sea is being pushed for protection as a multiple-use protected area by HEPCA. Although it is advised that no more than 5,000 to 22,000 dives be conducted in a single spot, HEPCA would want to see a decrease in the strain put on the coral reefs surrounding Hurghada, as some sites have seen 200,000 annual dives.
Pugh Will Attend the Cop27 Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh After Completing the Historic Red Sea Swim.
According to Pugh, who was quoted by BBC News, this is a battle to make people aware of the enormous impact that [climate change] is having on not only the present generation but also every single future generation on this planet.
In Support of Ocean Health, Endurance Swimmer Tries First-Ever Red Sea Crossing originally appeared on EcoWatch.