Coral reefs are inspiring. They are bristling with lively, colorful displays of magical living creatures. From microscopic plankton to towering purple sponges and whale sharks with mouths of cavernous proportions, coral reefs are intriguing, enchanted places. They are fertile paradoxes. Coral reefs are at once fragile, delicate, and intricate, but they are also bountiful, robust survivors of ice ages. Coral reefs are perpetual collaborators in the largest construction projects undertaken by any animals – they are the builders of islands and underwater mountain chains large enough to view from space.
Coral reefs are also endangered. In the last few decades, humans have destroyed over 35 million acres of coral reefs. If the present rate of destruction continues, 40% of the world’s coral reefs will be killed in the next ten years. The loss of healthy coral reefs could mean the elimination of a primary source of food, income, and employment for millions of people around the world, as well as the extinction of many fascinating and beautiful marine species. However, there are a few things you can to TODAY to help them survive!
10 Things You Can do to Help Keep Coral Reefs Alive
- Visit a coral park: One of the most powerful things you can do to support conservation is to reward places that are taking good care of their reefs.
- Conserve water: The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually finds its way back into our oceans.
- Don’t use chemically enhanced pesticides and fertilizers: Although you may live thousands of miles from a coral reef ecosystem, these products end up in the watershed and may ultimately impact the waters that support coral.
- Be an informed consumer: Consider carefully the coral objects that you buy for your coffee table. Many reef souvenirs are harvested sustainedly or illegally.
- Ask your waiter: Avoid farmed shrimp and threatened reef species like grouper. Stay informed about your best seafood choices at www.mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp.
- Dive responsibly: Coral-friendly divers have good buoyancy control. Don’t touch, and don’t leave trash behind. Remember, you are a guest in this underwater world.
- Pay attention to your trash!: Make sure to bring toxic items like batteries home from island vacations. Better yet, consider switching to reusable batteries to help reduce the volume and toxicity of your waste.
- Dive In!: Get involved in events like Dive In To Earth Day during the week of April 22. You can organize a fundraiser, join a beach cleanup, or take local kids snorkeling. Your involvement can make a big difference.
- Don’t anchor on the reef!: Make sure to always use a mooring. Only dive with operations the never anchor on the reef.
Support CORAL: Your financial support can help CORAL do more to keep coral reefs alive! Go to http://www.coralreefalliance.org/ or call 1-888-CORAL REEF.