On June 1st, consumers, businesses, and organizations around the world celebrate World Reef Day. It has now become a recurring day to promote awareness and help to motivate positive change for coral reefs around the world.
Coral reefs are living communities of organisms, and are sometimes referred to as “the rainforests of the sea.” Coral reefs are made up of colonies of hundreds to thousands of tiny individual corals, called polyps. These marine invertebrate animals have hard exoskeletons made of calcium carbonate and are permanently fixed in one place.
Read on to learn about what is happening to this critical marine habitat and how you can help.
What is Happening to Coral Reefs?
Coral reefs provide an estimated 30 billion dollars each year in economic benefits and directly impact people through providing food, fishing, as well as tourism. Unfortunately, there are several threats that can impact the future of these coral reefs.
There is increasing acidification of oceans, due to the burning of fossil fuels. This causes the ocean to absorb heavy amounts of carbon dioxide, therefore prohibiting the coral reefs to produce their exoskeletons, which they rely on for protection.
Additionally, water pollution is causing major problems for coral reefs. Pesticides, fertilizers, oil, plastics, sunscreen chemicals, and sewage make it difficult for coral to thrive. This damages the whole ecosystem, including plants, coral, and other animals. As the temperature of the oceans increases, due to global warming, the coral also loses their brilliant colors, causing coral bleaching, and causes the coral eventually dying off.
Finally, overfishing and controversial methods of fishing also impact coral reefs’ ability to thrive.
Methods such as cyanide fishing, which temporarily stuns the fish, or blast fishing, can destroy a coral reef within a very short amount of time.
How Can You Help?
One of the simplest things you can do is ensure that your sunscreen is to use reef-safe sunscreen. This means that the sunscreen is free of chemical ingredients and small particles that are known to damage and potentially kill coral reefs in the oceans. Those ingredients are oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene. Our favorite? Beauty By Earth Mineral Facial Sunscreen SPF 20 and Beauty By Earth Natural Body Sunscreen SPF 25.
Reducing your usage of plastics that can end up in our oceans. Even if you may live thousands of miles away from the coral reefs, recycling helps eliminate the rubbish that ends up in our water supply and eventually ends up in these delicate ecosystems. We’re proud to partner with CleanHub, which empowers brands to minimize their plastic footprint. Through a global network of collection hubs, CleanHub collects plastic before it reaches the ocean and safely processes non-recyclable plastic. You can read more about our partnership here.
Best of all, our partnership with CleanHub allows us to track our progress. You can follow our progress here.
Choosing to support brands or causes that give back can also help to make an impact. Consider donating to charities such as the Coral Reef Alliance. You can make a donation here.
Our 4Ocean bracelets, are hand-assembled in Bali, and for every purchase of one of these bracelets remove one pound of trash from the ocean. Specifically, the coral color helps to protect and restore critical coral reef ecosystems.
Millions of people and species of wildlife depend on coral reefs. While climate change threatens their future, science shows that corals can adapt and survive if we keep them healthy. Let’s make an impact today!