You want to stop coral dieback and do your part to protect the reefs? Then you are absolutely right here! Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of diving in a coral reef and observing clownfish, turtles or moray eels in their natural habitat is likely to feel a special motivation to preserve the most species-rich habitat of the underwater world. Corals are even more than "just" food, protection and home for countless animal and plant species - they are breakwaters off the coast and the most important source of income for countless people from the tourism industry. The livelihood of many fishermen also depends on them.
In this article I would like to give you some very important tips that you can use every day - and almost automatically - to save corals and prevent them from bleaching and dying. Let's go!
- Live more climate friendly
- Do not buy coral souvenirs
- Avoid plastic waste
- Travel more environmentally aware
- Eat a plant based diet
- Protect yourself naturally from UV rays
- Dive and snorkel responsibly
- Support environmental and animal welfare organizations
- Participate in Beach CleanUps
- Be a role model for others
1. Live more climate friendly
This sounds more complicated than it actually is. You can find effective levers above all in the following areas Mobility, nutrition, finance, energy and consumption before. Ride a bike more often, as well as by bus and train, Eat less meat or ideally purely vegetable, open an account at an ethical bank, charge your smartphone with green electricity from regenerative sources and buy only the things you really (seriously!) need. There are countless possibilities!
2. Do not buy coral souvenirs
In tourist areas you will always find people selling souvenirs made of coral. If you want to protect the colorful reefs and its colony-forming cnidarians, you should of course give it a wide berth and stay away from to sustainable souvenirs look around. In the end, it should really be something special that also suits the person receiving the gift. Not always is a gift really necessary - often it even disappears in the infamous junk drawer, which probably everyone knows. For me, for example, even a personal postcard would be enough 😉.
3. Avoid plastic waste
Plastic waste in nature is one of the greatest Environmental problems of our time - especially since the plastic is not biodegradable. Plastic damages corals through friction, infects them with bacteria and deprives them of light.₁ In addition, there is the Microplastics in the sea, which settles on the coral stalks.
Who wants to stop the coral dieback should therefore live as plastic- and waste-free as possible and tiny microplastic components from clothing and cosmetics. Because plastic comes not only directly through Litteringbut also indirectly through our runoff into the oceans. Useful helpers are, for example, reusable fruit and vegetable nets, as well as the App CodeCheck.
Continuing contributionsthat should help you:
4. Travel more environmentally aware
The Mass tourism, along with the cruises, the fish feedings, and the big diving and snorkeling trips, is also among the partial causes of coral death. Journey therefore deliberately more sustainable and more climate-friendly! Discover destinations near you, plan your vacation by train, get involved with foreign cultures, don't leave trash in public places and protect the environment at all times. Remember: you represent your home country in a foreign country - and you are only a guest there. A more conscious travel experience will ultimately protect the corals!
5. eat a plant-based diet
The Factory farming, contributes significantly to climate change, as well as to the pollution of air, soil and water - in addition to the cruelty to animals. Last but not least, "modern" fishing methods, such as the Dynamite or trawl fishing, as well as the Overfishing of the seas in general, contribute to coral mortality.
A purely plant-based diet saves the resource-intensive "Detour animal" and contributes significantly to the preservation of countless animal and plant species. Fortunately, the Change from meat eater to vegan today easier than ever, as the Internet is full of delicious recipes - and the supermarkets with more than equivalent substitutes, which are useful especially for those people to whom the change is difficult.
6. Protect yourself naturally from UV rays
In sunscreens and some other cosmetic products, coral-damaging pollutants are lying dormant, such as the chemical compound Oxybenzonewhich is added to some sun creams as a protective filter against UVB and UVA rays. Substances such as oxybenzone, triclosan or phenoxyethanol - and a whole range of other ingredients - are also questionable in this respect and act like poison for corals.₂
Therefore prefer natural sunblocks (and natural cosmetics) or make your own sunscreen.
7. Dive and snorkel responsibly
Of course, the best way to protect corals is to simply leave the little cnidarians in peace. But we don't have to completely renounce their unique charisma and tranquility. But it is important: when you dive or snorkel, treat the corals responsibly and environmentally conscious. Do not break anything off, do not touch anything and keep a sufficient distance - that is the best protection.
8. Support environmental and animal welfare organizations
Fortunately, there are an incredible number of incredibly great organizations that are work for the preservation of corals. Coral conservation organizations such as the Coral Reef Alliance or the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) on very direct - and environmental - and animal welfare organizations like, Ocean Care, the WWF or the Marine Conservation Foundation in a direct or indirect manner.
Finally For example, shark conservation also promotes the preservation of coral, as sharks feed on smaller predatory fish that would otherwise minimize herbivory on the reef, increasing the risk of young corals becoming overgrown with algae.₃
9. Participate in Beach CleanUps
As already described Plastic waste in the environment a massive threat to all life on earth - including coral. We may be able to avoid the trash in the future, but the already existing plastic on the beaches and in the water basically remains until we collect it.
If you want to stop the coral die-off, participating in worldwide CleanUps so a great measure! Get disposable straws, crushed cups and plastic bottles out of nature to protect them.
Here are some, further articleswhich I recommend to you appropriately:
10. Be a role model for others
If you want to curb coral bleaching, you have to lead the way yourself and not just swim along 🙂 Making a change in your own life to protect corals is already a great achievement. But the difference you make is even more substantialif you also want to make other people aware of the Nature conservation in everyday life inspire.
Motivate other divers and snorkelers not to touch and break off the coral. Show the people around you why it's worth itYou have to collect garbage from nature, eat a vegan diet, avoid plastic waste and stop buying coral souvenirs. After all, everyone has an interest in a clean, intact environment and accordingly you will also (mostly) meet open ears.
Stop coral dieback - Everyone can do something!
Just because the Great Barrier Reef, the Reed Bank and the Red Sea coral reef are far away from us, that is no reason to stand idly by and watch them perish. On the contrary: a careless, selfish way of life even supports coral mortality. That's why every human being can make a difference every day by adopting a "coral-friendly" and sustainable lifestyle also help protect coral reefs and reverse bleaching.
I hope that this article will help you decisively. Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Then I look forward to your comments.
Be always kind to animals,
PS.: Besides coral reefs, tropical forests are also among the most species-rich habitats on this planet. As you also know the Protect rainforest in everyday life you can now learn in the linked article. Have fun with the implementation!
₁ Joleah B. Lamb; Bette L. Willis, Evan A. Fiorenza; et al: Plastic waste associated with disease on coral reefs, available at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aar3320. [18.01.2022].
₂ Robert Züblin: Sunscreen ban - Palau bans coral-damaging sunscreens (Jan. 01, 2020), available at https://www.tal-mi-or.de/news/sonnencreme-verbot-palau-verbietet-korallenschaedliche-sonnenschutzmittel. [18.01.2022].
₃ Schweizer Agrarmedien AG: Sharks keep coral reefs healthy (as of 25.07.2017), available at https://www.tierwelt.ch/news/wildtiere/haie-halten-korallenriffe-gesund. [18.01.2022].