One of my greatest joys on earth is scuba diving a beautiful coral wall and witnessing sea life in their natural habitat, darting in and out of coral crevices. It is so otherworldly and stunning when the reef is alive with fishes of every color and pattern imaginable. I'm amazed how coral reefs come in a myriad of colors and fantastical formations, forming endless walls, winding tunnels, and fans gently bowing and waving in the current. It's one of the most impressive expressions of nature.
Yet coral reefs are at risk around the world. Rising ocean temperatures, pollution and chemical sunscreens are killing this very fragile and fundamental ecosystem. When coral reefs are at risk, so are the fishes and sea life that depend on this ecosystem for protection and food. It’s estimated that roughly 25 percent of all marine life depends on coral reefs, with species ranging from sea turtles to parrotfish to reef sharks. They also provide food, economic value, and shoreline protection to coastal communities.
At OLITA protection of our oceans is vital and that's why we have chosen the Coral Reef Alliance as our partner. We give back a portion of our sales to the Coral Reef Alliance because they are doing important global reef restoration and ocean conservation through advocacy, scientists and community. That is protection with a purpose!
The United Nations (UN) designated June 8 as World Oceans Day, serving as an opportunity to raise awareness about the role that oceans play and how we can protect them. Whether you reside on the coast or live hundreds of miles inland, World Oceans Day is a time for everybody to celebrate and learn how ocean health contributes to the overall health of our planet.
Here are excellent tips and suggestions from our friends at the Coral Reef Alliance. One major way you can protect the ocean this World Oceans Day is by taking actions that focus on keeping coral reefs healthy. Here are a few simple ways to start making a difference:
- Educate Yourself: Collectively, one of our biggest faults is a lack of knowledge about the ocean and why it is so important to protect. To be part of the solution, you first need to educate yourself. Start by checking out our list of e-learning resources or our reef-safe travel guide.
- Advocate and Spread Awareness: Once you’ve learned about coral reef conservation, start spreading the word! Tell your parents, your friend, your neighbor—or better yet, start spreading awareness in your local community and advocating for government officials to take action.
- Reduce Your CO2 Emissions: Climate change is threatening our coral reefs, our oceans, and the future of our planet. To reduce emissions, vote for leaders who will prioritize climate solutions, support eco-friendly brands, and protest for climate action. You can also reduce your own greenhouse gas emissions by minimizing your time in the car, reducing your meat consumption, reusing instead of buying new, and more.
- Keep the Ocean Plastic-Free: By reducing your plastic use, recycling, and picking up litter, you are preventing trash from entering the ocean. It’s estimated that at least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year—and toxic chemicals are binding to the materials. As a result, corals and other marine animals ingest harmful plastics and many also suffer from physical injuries or death.
- Minimize Direct Threats to Coral Reefs: To keep coral reefs and surrounding marine life healthy, we reduce direct threats like water pollution, chemical sunscreens and overfishing. Research shows that there is hope—if corals are kept healthy by minimizing stressors and slowing down worldwide emissions then they can adapt to the planet’s changing climate. Support CORAL’s work to save coral reefs and keep the ocean thriving today.