Saturday, June 28, 2008

International Year of the Reef 2008

The International Coral Reef Initiative has launched their International Year of the Reef 2008 campaign. The aim of the campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them. All individuals, corporations, schools, governments, and organizations are welcome and actively encouraged to participate in IYOR 2008.

One organization that is taking action is Coral Watch.

CoralWatch is an organization built on a research project at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. They have developed a cheap, simple, non-invasive way to monitor coral bleaching, and assess coral health. Their Coral Health Chart is a series of sample colors, with variation in brightness representing different stages of bleaching or recovery, based on controlled experiments.

In the field, users simply compare colors of corals with colors on the chart and record matching codes. The charts can be used by anyone - scientists, school children, tourists and politicians.
Their aim is to provide a scientific tool and increase awareness about global warming by demonstrating one of its devastating effects. Coral Watch is asking us to please help by using their kit to monitor local reefs, or any that we visit.

CoralWatch has also joined forces with Project AWARE Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organisation working with divers to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. Project AWARE has registered over 500 CoralWatch monitoring locations worldwide making it easy for divers and snorkelers to get involved. You can view a list of participating dive centers or find out more by visiting Project AWARE.

You can request a free DIY Coral Health Monitoring Kit by contacting them at The chart is currently available in English, Chinese, simplified Chinese, Japanese and French with more languages becoming available this year.

As you travel this summer, be aware of the the watery world around you. Find ways to experience the beauty of the earth's oceans with minimum impact to the environment. Educate yourself about them and find ways to become involved in their recovery.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.

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