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In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last week, President Obama declared to the nation,

[M]y plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They a™re a threat to our children's future.

Alternet: Obama To Nation: 'Climate Change Is Not a Hoax. More Droughts and Floods and Wildfires Are Not a Joke.'

Rush Limbaugh promptly responded that global warming is "the greatest hoax", and then addressing the president, Limbaugh added, "just as you are."

In 2011 Media Matters for America described Limbaugh as the Climate Change Misinformer of the Year. The Carbon Brief Blog essentially confirmed this analysis earlier this year when they published the results of a study concluding that "Americans get the most information about climate models from Rush Limbaugh." Of course Limbaugh is wrong when he denies climate change; not only is arctic ice melting, our oceans are becoming more acidic, thereby threatening coral reefs and organisms at "the base of the food chain for some of the world's most productive fisheries."

Last month I explored why Rush attacks climate change, and the extent to which he bulldozes those (including children!) who disagree with his "ontological certitude". Today I offer one surprising example of the interconnectedness of our world, suggesting that there may be a lot more at stake in climate change than many have considered.

On Sunday The Guardian published an article with a startling and dire analysis:

[excerpts] Caribbean coral reefs face collapse

Caribbean coral reefs – which make up one of the world's most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems – are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover...

Last year, scientists estimated that 75% of the Caribbean's coral reefs were in danger, along with 95% of those in south-east Asia. That research, from the World Resources Institute, predicted that by 2050 virtually all of the world's coral reefs would be in danger.

The Guardian: Caribbean coral reefs face collapse

At our holiday on the beach, as we gaze across the water – mindful of the extent to which the oceans have or have not risen – we may tend to minimize any great significance from climate change in our own lives. What is the connection between the health of the ocean, and us? How might the loss of coral reefs affect our ability to enjoy our holidays on the sand?

The surprising answer is that much of the sand on our beaches is coral that has been chewed, swallowed, and processed into sand by certain species of Parrotfishes. This is "the primary form of sand apparent in areas where reefs have dominated the ecosystem for millions of years, like the Caribbean." Estimates of sand production by a single adult Parrotfish range from 200 to 2,000 pounds per year. This is the second most common source of all sand, and by one scientific estimate, coral reef Parrotfishes produce 70 percent of all sand on tropical beaches.


A Parrotfish excreting calcium carbonate (coral sand)

If Rush continues to spew false climate change propaganda to millions of Americans, inaction on global warming and unchecked acidification could result in total destruction of coral reefs around the world. If the coral reefs die, the Parrotfishes that depend on them may become extinct, possibly leading to the eventual disappearance of many of our sandy beaches. Our grandchildren may never sit on a sandy beach, build sand castles, or marvel at the teeming life that burrows into the bottom of a tidal pool. Of course, by that time many of our ocean fisheries may have disappeared as well.

     
Probably the greatest threat to Rush Limbaugh's continued climate propagandizing is the activism of consumers, volunteers, and activists who seek to hold Rush accountable for his misinformation and hate speech by joining Flush Rush on Facebook, and other groups that use the StopRush Database to inform advertisers about where their ads are appearing. Most every day of the week, additional advertisers inform volunteers that they will stop sponsoring Rush. If you're concerned about hate speech or climate change, please join!

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