Video games may be the last place people expect to see hard-hitting climate change awareness messages. Pokémon Sword and Shield has made it a point to convey the severity of coral bleaching by killing off a species of Pokémon. The usually pink coral type Pokémon, Corsola, is featured as a white ghost-type Pokémon in the Galarian variant. According to the Pokédex, the Galarian Corsola has been wiped out due to "sudden climate change."
The effects of climate change on coral life has been devastating in recent years. Since the 1980's almost half of the world's corals have died out. The algae that inhabit the corals live in an endosymbiotic relationship. When the temperature of the water around the coral rises, the algae get expelled from the corals. Expulsion of the algae causes the corals to lose their colour and essentially die out.
Even though corals can bounce back once the water returns to an equitable temperature, global warming is preventing the recovery. As more and more corals reefs are dying out, the marine biosphere is becoming imbalanced.
Pokémon Sword and Shield takes players to the Galar region of the Pokémon world. In the Galar region, climate change has permanently altered multiple types of Pokémons. The Galarian Corsola and its evolved form is just one of them.
Instead of a happy looking pink coral Pokémon, the Galarian Corsola is a grim image. With a frowning face and eerie white body, the ghost type Pokémon absorbs the life-force of other Pokémons. The evolved form, Cursola, is another spooky ghost Pokémon. Those who touch the ghost type Pokémon can become "stiff as stone."
Gaming website, Polygon, pointed out that the Galarian Weezing is another Pokémon that had been altered due to Galar's pollution problem. However, unlike Corsola, Weezing's change has been a bit more positive. The poison type Pokémon in the Galar region consumes pollutants and expels clean air.
Even though Pokémon Co. International did not comment on the reasoning behind the new Corsola, the message of climate change and global warming is pretty clear.