You can help

Hundreds of millions of people around the world depend on coral reefs. When corals are damaged and decline, these communities are impacted first.

Actions taken thousands of miles away can affect what happens on reefs. Use this guide to shape a plan that will limit your impact on distant corals, and you'll also save money and resources and make your local community better in the process.

Helping coral reefs doesn't have to be complicated. By following basic sustainability practices can make a big impact. In the Oregon State community, we have some fantastic resources that make OSU a leader in sustainability, including the Sustainability at OSU program and the Student Sustainability Initiative.

Here are some specific actions you can take:

1. Reduce your carbon footprint

"Climate change is the greatest threat to coral reef ecosystems," according to the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. Corals live at their thermal threshold, meaning even a minute change in temperature can lead to disastrous impacts like coral bleaching and even death. Carbon emissions also increase ocean acidity, which can impact corals and the species that depend on them. Walking, biking, riding public transportation and carpooling are all ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. It doesn't matter where you live: every decision you make to reduce your carbon consumption can impact a reef on the opposite side of the globe.

Assess your carbon footprint

List of tips for reducing your carbon footprint

2. Conserve water to reduce pollution

All water winds up in the ocean, and pollution drives much of the damage to reefs. And runoff is what carries nutrients and contaminants into the sea. Even if you live thousands of miles away from the coast, the water you use can eventually find its way to a reef. Using less water can help minimize these impacts. You'll also save money and make an immediate impact on your local rivers, coastline, and lakes.

Avoiding the use of pesticides, chemicals and fertilizers  reducing trash and other contaminates can also help keep water clean.

Water usage calculator

Things you can do to protect water quality

3. Get engaged

Individual efforts are just one part of the web of solutions needed to fight coral reef decline. But communities, cities, large institutions, companies and nations have the power to make broad impacts impacts. Through civic and political engagement, you can help shape your community in ways that reduce negative impacts on coral reefs. Volunteering, voting and running for public office are all ways you can become more engaged and magnify your impact on a wide range of issues.

OSU's Center for Civic Engagement

More information on youth civic engagement 

Register to vote

4. Support sustainable fishing

Overfishing has a dramatic impact on coral reefs. By making informed choices about the fish you purchase and eat, you can contribute greatly to ocean health.

A guide to making smart seafood choices

5. Support sustainable development and tourism

The impact of development projects on coral reef ecosystems is wide ranging and difficult to quantify. Solving these problems require research and voting with your economic decisions. And when you hear about development projects, like the dredging of the shipping channel near Bocachica, Colombia that was portrayed in the film, help to spread the word. By doing research, speaking out and making informed choices when you visit tropical reefs, you can make a big impact

Coral reefs and tourism

Impacts of coastal development

6. Help inform the public

Educating others about the crisis facing coral reefs is a vital part of building support, engagement and the political will to fight the human-caused pressures that are devastating reef ecosystems. We offer companion classroom materials for teachers and educators specifically developed for the film by environmental sciences teacher Deidra Spencer. You can also host a screening at your institution, school or library via our educational partner, Collective Eye Films. Beginning in November of 2019, the film will be available for purchase in iTunes, Amazon and host of platforms.


7. Donate to the project

Contributions to this film project through the OSU Foundation will expand the audience and allow more screenings. And after our out reach efforts, all proceeds from the Saving Atlantis will be directed to OSU student scholarships for documenting research on more critical ecological issues.

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