This short, informational list creates new awareness on the need to protect your local coral reefs, whether they are simply visible as small rock pools or part of the listed natural wonders of the world. In all cases, the protection of these natural habitats of small flora and fauna, barely visible or unseen, is vital to ensure that the ocean’s natural ecosystems remain balanced.
According to Wikipedia,
“Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups.“
Here are 30+ extraordinary ways to protect coral reefs.
1. Only support businesses that are kind to coral reefs – When shopping near the sea or at diving or marine use specialists, investigate whether they are actively aware and involved in utilizing sustainable means to preserve reefs and coral environments.
2. Take part in reef cleanups – Even if it is just your local coastal pool, this humane initiative already makes a visible difference, preserving the life of unseen organisms or tiny forms of marine life.
3. Do not use chemically-induced pesticides and fertilizers – Invariably, these harmful products will find its way to the ocean and by dint will reach reefs and coral beds.
4. Educate yourself well on the reef environments and its coral reefs – The more you educate yourself through authoritative means such as literature produced by marine biologists and other experts, the more aware you will become of the urgent need to preserve and safe coral and reef life.
5. Join your local aquarium – This extends to the educational drive. Aquariums today have full awareness programs in place and usually have at least one biologist on their staff. Don’t forget to take your children with for regular visits.
6. Respect and obey all municipal laws and regulations – Laws and regulations are in place and begin long before you’ve reached your local beach. These laws are mainly concerned about littering and in certain instances, close to the threatened source, have visible warnings in place to better inform the public. Contraventions are also punishable.
7. Join a group that campaigns for coral reef protection – Not yet a member, but at least a visible and vocal support, you are making a modest but effective contribution towards creating public awareness.
8. Do your own word by mouth advertising – It’s been tried and tested and it’s the longest-surviving advertising strategy in the manual of effective advertising mainly because it still works. Talk to your peers and creatively, you will raise awareness.
9. Use social media networks responsibly – The most responsible users of social media networks continue to produce the best results in creating awareness. Their involvement is authoritative in the sense that they often publish important material from prominent groups actively involved in saving reefs.
10. Become a discerning shopper – Carefully inspect the labels of your products and instill an awareness of which products contain excessive amounts of harmful chemicals or which products are eco-friendly and sustainable.
11. Never pollute – It is the oldest rule of thumb. If everyone did this, we might not even need to be having this conversation today. The less you pollute your environment unnecessarily, the cleaner it will be for marine life and fragile ecosystems.
12. Always recycle – Due to over-consumption, a lot of waste material has been created. But there are now plenty of opportunities to recycle by responsibly disposing of waste at strategically-located depots.
13. Do not pollute your water – Be careful about what chemicals are being used at home and do not flush waste residue down kitchen sinks or toilets.
14. Do not waste your water either – Wasted water is invariably still polluted and excessive wastage will reach the shorelines.
15. Vigilantly report irresponsible and illegal dumping – Earlier, we mentioned that the legislation is in place to curb this; however, policing this is always difficult. You can help by reporting dumping to your local authorities.
16. Become a responsible diver – If you are already a keen diver, always exercise restraint and responsibility by not interfering with the micro-marine life in the coral reefs. Do not even touch anything, never mind remove living articles in these areas.
17. Always keep your own natural and domestic environments clean – This is the best practice and is a good habit to practice. How well you look after your own home will positively reflect on your acquired respect for the natural environment.
18. Only source eco-friendly aquarium fish – Only source domestic aquarium fish from sources where environmentally responsible practices have been utilized. In some instances, sodium cyanide has been used to stun fish living in pristine but now threatened environments to make capturing these easier.
19. Do not keep live rocks – Living rocks can only be collected from coral reefs. By removing them from their natural habitat, you are depriving the flora and fauna that rely on these rocks to survive.
20. Never anchor on or near reefs – Undoubtedly, this practice will be harmful. It is best to steer clear away from reefs, even when sustainable docking methods are available.
21. Willingly volunteer for local drives – Don’t simply be a bystander or vocalist. Practice what you preach. You are more effective in spreading awareness when you are also seen to be actively involved in preserving the life of marine ecosystems.
22. Become an active supporter of an environmental NGO – This can be done many ways. You can donate much needed funds, or you can re-post important information sourced via your social media networks.
23. Become an active member of your local NGO – Better to become a full-fledged member who encourages more direct involvement which, in turn, yields better prospects for the desired outcomes.
24. Always treat wastewater and sewerage correctly and carefully – There are now sustainable methods of doing this. Wastewater disposal units have been invented. Where it is feasible to do this, water can also be purified and recycled.
25. Become a statistical expert and count fish – There are active campaigns, whether at government level, conducted by NGOs or part of academic research efforts. You can volunteer and also learn just how many species are affected.
26. Encourage, inspire and support the creation of new marine parks – This can be done on different levels, but to be effective and then successful, it has to be an ongoing campaign. Even where there is no natural environment to speak of, much like planting new trees, the human creation of marine parks will have positive spin-off effects.
27. Become a shade cloth innovator – It is already being used to protect corals from harmful and excessive amounts of infiltration by the sun’s UV rays and can help prevent them from bleaching and then dying.
28. Encourage the use of minerals – Naturally-sourced base minerals introduced to reefs and coral beds help reduce acidity in the water which debilitates the ability of living creatures to grow their shells or skeletons naturally.
29. Become technically sound and talk to experts about electrification – This is a controversial and artificial suggestion which is best handled by experts. But electrical currents can help stimulate growth.
30. Carbon dioxide conversion alternatives – Waste is being converted for carbon sequestration deposits into the ocean in some parts of the world and can help reduce the harmful acidity content which threatens marine life along reefs and coral beds.
31. Influence your politicians – Without the help of these influential representatives, much of what everyone is trying to achieve could become futile. Human nature has shown that where influential men and women lead by example, others will surely replicate their good behavior and proactive efforts.
This short article, listing numerous suggestions on how you could play a small part in helping to protect coral reefs, should show you that all is not lost. The little we do today can make a positive difference tomorrow.