You know climate change is real when dead coral Pokémon start to wash up on (virtual) beaches. Behold, Cursola, world’s first dead coral Pokémon.

On the origins of Cursola

While Pokémon has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1996, the media franchise maintains its relevance today.

Let's take a brief look at Cursola’s backstory—it more or less aligns with what climate change is doing to coral on Earth.

"Found in the warm shallow waters of southern seas, Corsola requires clean water to live. If its habitat is dirty, the growths on its back become discolored and degenerate. However, when it is healthy, its growths regularly shed and grow back."

According to the Pokédex, Cursola came about after “sudden climate change wiped out this ancient kind of Corsola”.

The original version of the Pokemon Corsola

Corsola *was* originally a pink-and-blue coral-like creature that was first included in the ‘Gold' and ‘Silver’ versions of the popular video game from 1999.

Just last week the Pokémon Company introduced Pokémon ‘Sword’ and ‘Shield’, and just two days after its official release an avid player uploaded a battling guide video indicating “DON’T Evolve Galarian Corsola In Pokémon Sword and Shield!”

It appeared that Corsola had turned into a ghost.

The new version of the Pokemon Corsola and its final form: Cursola

New media, new habits

In the latest stage of Pokémon evolution, Corsola took on a new skin. Once a water/rock dual type (properties for Pokémon and their moves), Corsola is now a ghost type Pokémon, reminding us of the massive bleaching event that threatens the world’s coral reefs.

Apparently, Pokémon nowadays is the perfect medium to introduce kids to the environmental crisis. As Pokémon Go already had thaught us how virtual computer worlds are becoming increasingly ‘real’ and blended with our physical world; Pokémon Sword and Shield will teach us about rising ocean temperatures and the importance of living with coral and algae in a lively symbiotic bond.

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