Did you know those eye-catching red pieces of coral on popular necklaces actually represent the harvesting of a slow-growing animal of the sea?
Corallium, also known as red or pink coral, and the most valuable of the precious corals, has an average growth rate of less than 1 inch per year. Think about that next time you’re in the market or jewelry store, and make a pledge not to buy or give coral as gifts. Every act counts!
Corals vary in size, shape, and color; some form stony, hard structures, others are soft. But the one thing corals have in common is they are all animals.
Given their beauty and variety, it’s no wonder that corals are popular as curio, jewelry and aquarium items. Although it is possible to grow some coral species in captivity, the trade depends primarily on wild collection. Most coral species grow very slowly and demand is increasing, so the time to act on behalf of these fragile ecosystems is now.
The International Year of the Reef in 2008 is a yearlong campaign of events aimed at persuading people to act to benefit reefs, and this pledge is part of the effort. Take one action to benefit coral reefs: Pledge to help keep corals in the wild.
Pledge to fight global warming
You can help fight global warming and save coral reefs at the same time. Global warming can threaten corals by increasing the amount of acid in the ocean and causing the sea level to rise. Increasing ocean temperatures can bleach coral, too.
But Energy Star estimates that if every household in America replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, save more than $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. Pledge to replace a light bulb today, and let your conservation light shine! Every act counts!
Pledge to keep the oceans clean
More than half the world’s coral reefs are threatened and what you do in your own backyard can affect their health. Chemicals found in detergents and fertilizers are washed into waterways and stimulate algae growth, which in turn blocks sunlight and starves coral reefs. Your choice in fertilizers and cleaning products directly impacts the ocean and corals. Every act counts!
Coral reefs are the richest shallow water marine ecosystems on Earth, hosting more than 25 percent of the world’s fish biodiversity. Reefs and associated ecosystems, such as mangroves, provide coastal protection and serve as nursing grounds for many economically important species.
Corals are tiny animals that live in harmony with photosynthetic algae. Both organisms benefit and thrive in clear waters with low nutrients. But when phosphorous and nitrogen levels increase, due to deforestation, ill-planned development, and agricultural runoff, the balance is disturbed. Just one pound of phosphorus in water produces an estimated 500 pounds of algae, blocking sunlight and starving coral reefs.
Do your part by using naturally derived and biodegradable detergents and cleaning products. Minimize fertilizer impacts by avoiding phosphorus products, use one pound or less per 1,000 square feet of turf area for nitrogen (half that amount is needed in shade), and plant endemic vegetation.
Every action counts! Go to the petition site to take the pledge.
Spread awareness by sending an eCard today.
By Robyn Erler, Contributor and Care2 Senior Campaign Manager