Pro­tect Co­ral Reefs

8 WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Natural Solutions - - Healthmatters Health -

Just as our planet’s rain­forests are the lungs of the earth, our co­ral reefs pro­vide the rich bio­di­ver­sity that is es­sen­tial for the bal­ance of the oceanic ecosys­tem. Although co­ral reefs cover a mere 0.1 per­cent of the ocean, 25 per­cent of all ma­rine species live within them. And our fish friends aren’t the only ones who stand to gain from co­ral. Through tourism, fish­eries, and coastal pro­tec­tion, the reefs are also ex­tremely valu­able to the global econ­omy.

Even though co­ral reefs are eas­ily dis­missed as rocks or plants, they are ac­tu­ally liv­ing an­i­mals that are very sen­si­tive to en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors such as cli­mate change, and hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties like pol­lu­tion and un­sus­tain­able fish­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese del­i­cate ma­rine or­na­ments are be­ing harmed by hu­mans—it’s even been proven that the sun­screen we use to pro­tect our bod­ies can con­trib­ute to co­ral viruses and bleach­ing. THE PER­CENT­AGE OF US RES­I­DENTS’ URINE SAM­PLES FOUND TO CON­TAIN OXY­BEN­ZONE, AC­CORD­ING TO ONE STUDY. SOURCE: EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL HEALTH

PER­SPEC­TIVES

1//

Ed­u­cate your­self on co­ral reefs and the ecosys­tem sur­round­ing them. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand the value of co­ral reefs and how frag­ile they can be.

2//

En­sure that reef or­gan­isms and fish have been eco­log­i­cally col­lected be­fore pur­chas­ing for pets and fish tank props. Un­der­stand the im­pact that im­proper har­vest­ing will have over time.

3//

Use only biodegrad­able and eco-con­scious pes­ti­cides and fer­til­iz­ers. What we put down the drains in our own homes ul­ti­mately reaches our streams and oceans!

4//

Pick up trash and re­cy­cle. Our lit­ter can pose a sig­nif­i­cant threat to ma­rine life if it’s swal­lowed or they get tan­gled in it.

5//

Conserve wa­ter! Ac­cord­ingg to the EPA, the av­er­age Amer­i­can fam­ily uses more than 300 gal­lons of wa­ter per day in their home.

6//

Be a mind­ful trav­eler and re­spect guide­lines when you are vis­it­ing g a reef lo­ca­tion. Sup­port reef-friendly busi­nesses. nesses.

7//

Use rash guards and UPF cloth­ing to min­i­mize the amount of f sun­screen you need to wear.

8//

Use ap­pro­pri­ate sun­screen!screen!

dam­age your skin ac­cord­ing to Au­tum­n­tumn Blum, a cos­metic chemist at Stream2Sea (read the full in­ter­view on page 26). How­ever, your fleshy ap­pendages aren’t the only ones in dan­ger of sun­screen’s scorn—the co­ral reefs also have limbs caught in the warpath of man-made chem­i­cals and preser­va­tives. Oxy­ben­zone, found in more than 3,500 sun­screens, is shown to dis­rupt co­ral re­pro­duc­tion, cause bleach­ing, and dam­age co­ral DNA. Butyl­paraben, Octi­nox­ate/ ethyl­hexyl methoxycin­na­mate, and 4-methyl­ben­zyli­denene cam­phor are all shown to cause co­ral bleach­ing, too. Flip to page 62 for our top 7 safe sun­screen prod­ucts. Source: Stream2Sea

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