Coral reefs contain a staggering amount of biodiversity, provide food for millions of humans, protect our coastlines, create land, are a source of natural materials used in pharmaceuticals and are intrinsically beautiful. They are vital for life on Earth and are currently in grave danger of completely dying out. We can’t let this happen, but the window for saving them is rapidly closing.
The IMarEST is supporting the International Year of the Reef 2018 and urges its members and the wider public, to engage in this conservation crisis and to spread the word about the importance of coral reefs to the future of humanity.
Prof. James Crabbe, an expert, covered the topic at the Institute’s prestige Stanley Gray lecture, where he spoke of the history of coral reefs, their destruction and possible routes to their revival. The lecture was recorded and is available to watch again.
Share the infographic
The IMarEST has created an infographic with some easy ways in which you can help save coral reefs. You can download and share different versions of the infographic at the bottom of this article.
- Be conscious of your energy consumption - lower your heating or air-con, use LED bulbs or renewable energy sources, eat less meat and dairy
- Eat sustainably sourced seafood
- Watch a film or read a book on climate change – when you educate yourself about coral reefs, you can help others understand their importance
- Avoid sunscreens and cosmetics containing oxybenzone, proven to damage reefs.
- Join one campaign to help protect reefs or counter the effects of climate change
- Scientists urgently need to know which reefs bleached in the last three years and which did not. If you regularly visit coral reefs or know someone who does, get in touch with the 50 Reefs initiative.
- Don’t pour chemicals into waterways, excess fertilizer can increase growth of algae which block sunlight from reaching coral reefs
- Volunteer for beach or reef clean-ups. Or get involved in protecting your local watershed.
- When you are boating, do not drop anchors or chains near coral reefs as it can damage them.
- Don’t give corals as presents, they take decades to grow… leave them on the reef.
Read the book
The IMarEST has also published a book on the subject, Coral Reefs – A Handbook for their future by Orla Doherty, Director of Biosphere Foundation. “This beautifully presented book takes the reader through an exploration of coral reef biology, and looks at some of the challenges, both practical and moral, including climate change and global warming, that we face in trying preserve one of the most important ecosystems on the planet.” You can read the full review here or buy the book here.
Things you can do right now
There are many other things you could do to help this cause. Please take a look, and take action.