Jerry Iannelli for Miami New Times writes:
Coral reefs are more than just unique, irreplaceable ecosystems full of the Earth's natural wonders: Studies show they also act as natural storm-surge barriers that help break up gigantic waves before they steamroll over cities such as Miami. A recent study says Florida's reefs protect at least $1.6 billion in real estate. The cruise industry, meanwhile, sends a collection of booze- and trash-filled ships onto the ocean so the world's least interesting people can listen to Jimmy Buffett, barf, and pretend to enjoy the company of their spouses for a few days at a time.
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