I’m lucky enough through my work to have been to some spectacular reefs around the world. The Bahamas is world famous for its crystal clear warm waters (think James Bond in Thunderball), shark dives (which I’ve done many times, no worries), and miles of coral reefs. My time in Mauritius also was magnificent, diving with dolphins, every color imaginable, and vast school of fish. I visited the Great Barrier Reef for the first time last summer while I was out there for a coral reef restoration workshop, and I’m actually en route to the Red Sea now for another workshop. My bucket list includes Indonesia, the Seychelles, Palau, and plenty more.
As you pointed out in your question though, all of these places have suffered high rates of coral mortality. The best thing to do for coral reefs isn’t to hire companies like Coral Vita, but (shockingly) is to stop killing them. We need our political, industry, and media leaders to step up and push climate change mitigation measures forward, alongside efforts to eliminate pollution, overfishing, and activities that harm both coral reefs and human health. Failure is not an option, and time is of the essence to protect them.
Beyond growing more climate-resilient coral, reducing ocean plastic waste, and changing sunscreen habits, what are other things we can be doing to help support corals?
Vote for political leaders who recognize that environmental health is inextricably linked to our prosperity, health, and security. In the billions of years of history of Earth, it’s only since the end of the last Ice Age that human beings made the leap forward from bands of hunter gatherers to modern civilization. And in that time, we’ve been blessed with an incredibly stable climate that supported the ecosystems and life we needed to survive and grow. If that gets thrown out of whack, it will be heartbreaking to see so much wildlife decimated. But ultimately, Earth will eventually recover, and life will take new forms. The real problem we have to reckon with is that humanity will be screwed. Everything that exists that allows us to live will be out of balance, like the coral reefs that feed and protect us from storms.
Demand that our politicians step up to protect us all by protecting coral reefs. For those worried about refugees, imagine what will happen when hundreds of millions of people can no longer feed themselves off of reef fisheries, lose their homes to rising waves, and have no more jobs from a dead scuba and snorkel economy. I could keep going with more examples, but that’s really how you can have the most impact. Call your representatives and let them know that if they don’t step up, then you’re going to kick them out. Because they are failing us all in the name of ignorance and greed.
We’re shooting to host our ribbon-cutting ceremony this May, and we can’t wait for people to come visit! The flight to Freeport is just an easy 30 minutes from Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with plenty of comfortable places to stay on the island. The farm will be open for tours and workshops, and once corals are ready to be installed into the reefs (likely starting early 2020), folks will hopefully be able to participate in coral plantings with the local dive shops.
And if you live in a country with coral reefs that need help, reach out to your local government representatives, tourism operators, and community leaders and let them know they should start reaching out to us at http://www.coralvita.co/, so we can lay the groundwork to bring Coral Vita’s reef restoration solutions to you! Can’t wait to have you down planting corals with us soon enough Victoria!