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Chasing Coral on St. Croix, USVI

St. Croix is leading the charge to protect and restore our Caribbean coral reefs, but climate change is threatening to wipe out coral reefs on a global scale. Never before has coral bleaching been more vividly shown and clearly explained than in the Sundance award-winning documentary Chasing Coral. From this film has sprung a movement to make the public more aware of this catastrophic issue and to take action to prevent the death of our reefs. Want to join in and do your part? Keep reading to learn how you can help.

 

1.  Learn the facts by watching Chasing Coral:

You can join us at 6pm on Sunday, August 27th at Baked Cafe in Christiansted for a screening of Chasing Coral, along with eco-conscious presentations by local businesses and environmental organizations. Join in coral preservation discussions and meet with those individuals and organizations that are working to preserve our reefs. You can also see the documentary on Netflix if you can’t make it to a local screening. 

 

2.  Reduce your energy use and carbon footprint on an individual level, and encourage others to do the same:

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle whenever and wherever you can.
  • Bring your own grocery and shopping bags, and buy in bulk whenever possible to reduce packaging.
  • Reduce your consumption of bottled water and other packaged drinks. Use reusable containers and straws your water, coffee, smoothies and other beverages instead.
  • Buy your food from local sources, which cuts down on the shipping and distribution processes that burn fuel and create emissions. 
  • Choose to frequent restaurants that source their food locally, and use compostable  .
  • Carpool, walk, bike, or take public transit. If you have to drive, be sure to maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by doing things like keeping your tires properly inflated, avoid speeding, keep your vehicle free of excess weight. 
  • Install solar panels on your home, or choose to rent a place the uses solar power to support renewable energy sources.
  • Use Energy-Star rated appliances and LED bulbs to reduce your energy consumption.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water, and line dry them instead of running your dryer. 

3.  Be ‘Reefsponsible’ – support coral reef preservation on an individual level and in your community:

  • Use sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone and zinc, and are non-toxic and biodegradable.
  • Practice safe and responsible diving, snorkeling and boating to avoid damaging coral. 
  • Dispose of your trash properly so it doesn’t end up in the ocean.
  • Support reef-friendly businesses. 
  • Report on your local reef conditions.
SVII in Coral Triangle - Photo by XL Catlin Seaview Survey - The Ocean Agency - Aaron Spence

SVII in Coral Triangle filming Chasing Coral (XL Catlin Seaview Survey, The Ocean Agency, Aaron Spence)

4.  Support the community, national, and international organizations that are working to protect our coral reefs and oceans by donating or volunteering your time. Here is a list of several organizations here on St. Croix who are involved with preserving and/or restoring our coral reefs, along with their contact information in case you are moved to get involved:

  • Friends of St. Croix East End Marine Park: (340) 718-3367 or www.facebook.com/Friends.STXEEMP
  • Friends of the St. Croix USVI National Parks: www.stxparkfriends.org
  • Reef Jam: (340) 643-6095
  • Reef Responsible: www.reefconnect.org/reef-responsible
  • St. Croix Environmental Association: (340) 773-1989 or www.stxenvironmental.org
  • The Nature Conservancy: (340) 718-5575 or www.nature.org/caribbean

For more information about how you can be involved in the outreach and action movement sparked by Chasing Coral, you can visit www.chasingcoral.com. Join in with thousands of #coralnerds from around the world, myself included, and let’s save our coral reefs!

– Jennie Ogden, Editor

 

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