Armchair Activism: 5 Ways You Can Help Save the Reefs

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Barrier and coral reefs may not be cute and cuddly, but, as home to 25 percent all species, they do a lot to keep our slacker asses alive. Unfortunately, overfishing and global warming have had an unconscionably negative effect on their ecosystem. Are you depressed yet? Then join us in doing something about it: For the inaugural edition of Armchair Activism, we tap Reef Check, the world’s largest reef-preservation organization, for all the facts. After the jump, five tangible ways your life is affected by this trend and five quick, no-hassle acts of armchair activism to make it better.

REALITY BITES

1. Nemo is real, and that dude is dying. 25 percent of the world’s species can be found on barrier reefs. Reports from life-long divers are that many of the most common species 30 years ago have already become uncommon or gone extinct.

2. Your vacation is about to go bye-bye. Barrier reefs bear the name because the protect the beach from big waves. As the reefs break down, tides continue to creep, eventually consuming established settlements.

3. The Caribbean is headed for catastrophe. Sip your cocktails while you can. Even during a good year, Caribbean reefs are losing 1 percent of everything.

4. There could be a cure for cancer. This isn’t an abstract. The reef is a source of many agents being used in experiential drugs being created to better treat and cure cancer.

5. Reefs are the canary in global warning’s coal mine. Global warming has many effects, but this is one of the biggest: 10 percent of ALL reefs died in 1998 (a periodic trend which global warming is likely to exacerbate).

EASY ACTION

No effort: Don’t buy exotic sea shells, exotic ocean fish, or food from places that use blast fishing (a practice where dynamite is tossed indiscriminately into the ocean).

1 minute: Join five former presidents by electronically signing Reef Check’s Declaration of Reef Rights.

5 minutes: Check out the Reef Check website, donate $10 to support the group’s conservation programs, and sign up for their online newsletter.

1 hour: Sign up for a Reef Check Training on your next beach vacation.

1 day: Take the Discover Reef Check course and play marine biologist for one day.

And if you’re feeling really inspired…

1 week: Sign up for a reef check discovery expedition or apply to be part of Malibu’s Reef Check program and win a ten-day trip to explore and catalog the reefs in Thailand, the Philippines, or the Maldives.