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? Here are 5 ways you can help right now…
1. Learn the facts by watching Chasing Coral.
We offered a screening of Chasing Coral, along with eco-conscious presentations by local businesses and environmental organizations in 2017. But, if you missed it, you can also see the documentary on Netflix.
2. Reduce your energy use and carbon footprint on an individual level, and encourage others to do the same.
- 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 also source their food locally.
- 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, avoiding speeding, and keeping 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. Create less trash, 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 for your water, coffee, smoothies and other beverages instead.
- Don’t use disposable straws, carry your own reusable straw or opt to drink without a straw.
- Choose to frequent restaurants that use compostable take-out containers and utensils, have pledged to reduce or eliminate their use of disposable straws.
4. Be ‘Reefsponsible’ by supporting 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.
5. Support the organizations that are working to protect our reefs and oceans by donating or volunteering your time.
To get involved locally, 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:
- 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