Besides providing a home and a shelter to the most diverse ecosystems on our planet, coral reefs are vital because they help protect our coasts from beach erosion due to wave action and tropical storms.
Coral reefs support more species per square foot than any other marine environment, including more than 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species. (NOAA) This biodiversity is desperately important in humanity’s search for new medicines. The cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, viruses, and other diseases may be dependent on the shelter and sustenance that coral provides.
But humanity’s abuse of our planet poses a serious threat to the world’s life-saving coral population. Climate change has caused major damage to reefs. Massive waves resulting from hurricanes and cyclones can break apart or flatten coral heads, and while it’s rare that one storm will kill off an entire colony, some of the slower-growing varietals can be overwhelmed by algae and other invasive ocean life before it has time to recover from the storm.
French artist Aude Bourgine Honor is acutely conscious of the threat our carelessness has caused our oceans’ coral reefs, and her art is an homage to the vital organisms. Replicating coral varieties using beads, sequins, fabric, and crocheted and tatted elements, Honor then places her creations under bell jars, symbolically protecting them from humanity’s harmful influences. Her project is known as ‘Poumons des Océans,’ which translates to ‘Lungs of the Oceans.’ If you find yourself in Northern France in June of 2019, you can see Honor’s exhibition at the Saint Julien Chapel in Le Petit-Quevilly.
“If we do not rapidly change our relationship with our environment, oceans will be dead by 2050. Their disappearance will entail a disastrous imbalance on all ecological, climate and human levels…We must take heed for this universal cause, which concerns each and every one of us.”