Protect Coral Reefs
8 WAYS YOU CAN HELP
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Conserve water! Accordingg to the EPA, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day in their home.
Be a mindful traveler and respect guidelines when you are visiting g a reef location. Support reef-friendly businesses. nesses.
Use rash guards and UPF clothing to minimize the amount of f sunscreen you need to wear.
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