Those who love to snorkel or dive know how beautiful coral reefs are up close. These vibrant ecosystems are the homes and breeding grounds of multiple sea creatures. However, due to pollution and human activity, about 20% of coral reefs in the world have been damaged beyond repair. The bright side is, if we all take action today, we can still protect the remaining reefs in our oceans. Scientists and conservation groups are working double time to use their expertise in saving our seas and coral reefs. Even if you aren’t an expert, you can still do a lot to join the movement.
1. Cut your carbon footprint.
Climate change is a leading cause of coral reef deaths. Lessen your amount of carbon emissions by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking a bus when going places. Plant trees and create community gardens. You can also make your home more energy-efficient and be more particular about buying local products that are ethically made.
2. Conserve more water.
By reducing your freshwater usage you are helping to lessen the amount of wastewater and runoff that spills into and pollutes oceans.
3. Dispose of your waste properly.
Reuse, reduce, and recycle. Be particular about what you pour into your sinks, drains, and your lawns because plenty of chemicals found in home and cleaning products are harmful to the environment and reefs. Use eco-friendly products as much as possible.
4. Do not buy souvenirs and products harvested from reefs.
Corals make for nice vacation souvenirs, jewelery, or home decorations, but supporting industries that create these goods can lead to overharvesting of corals and other aquatic species.
5. Be a responsible diver or snorkeler.
Avoid touching the corals with your hands or flippers. Don’t anchor your boat on reefs, look for a sandy bottom or use moorings instead. Try to be more responsible during all your activities at sea. Don’t leave any nets or fishing lines in the water or on the beach, and make sure to dispose of your waste properly.
6. Participate in coastal and coral reef cleanups.
You get to help the ocean’s ecosystem and meet people who are as concerned as you about the state of our reefs and environment.
7. Invest in the right type of business.
Buy seafood that comes from fishermen and businesses who follow sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly practices.
8. Support reef-friendly industries.
When you book your next snorkeling or diving adventure, check if the operators you are dealing with have programs for protecting reefs and the ocean. Ask if they have activities related to coral reef conservation that you can participate in.
9. Take part in local movements for protecting coral reefs.
Sign petitions, join demonstrations, participate in information drives, volunteer in any way you can to gather more support and create more awareness of the issue. By getting more people involved, the government and businesses can take better notice, and will hopefully be more encouraged to take action.
10. Educate more people.
Whether it is through souvenir photos from your diving trip that you post on social media, through a blog post, through conversations you have with family or friends, use whatever opportunity you can to inform more people about the danger of losing our coral reefs and how we can all help in protecting them.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.