Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet - home and nursery for almost a million fish and other species. Unfortunately, about 70 percent of the world's coral reefs are threatened or destroyed, and 20 percent of those are damaged beyond repair. The resources coral reefs provide are worth about $375 billion each year - and they cover only one percent of the earth's surface. 2008 has been designated as the International Year of the Reef to raise awareness about the increasing threats to coral reefs. Whether you live near the ocean or thousands of miles away, you can help restore this amazing habitat. Pledge to:
- Use ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to coral bleaching and ocean acidification, and threaten coral reef survival. Long lasting light bulbs are a bright idea. If every household replaced a burned out bulb with and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that produced by about 800,000 cars.
- Use naturally-derived and biodegradable detergents and cleaning products. The chemicals we use end up in our waterways and are carried to the oceans. Just one pound of phosphorus in water produces about 500 pounds of algae, blocking sunlight and starving coral reefs. Outside the house, minimize the impacts of fertilizer by using zero-phosphorus products or no more than one pound per 1,000 square feet of turf area for nitrogen.
- Not give coral as presents. Corals are popular as souvenirs, for home decor and in costume jewelry, but corals are living animals that grow and reproduce. It takes corals decades or longer to create reef structures, so leave corals and other marine life on the reef.
- If I use the ocean for recreational purposes, I will use reef-mooring buoys for my boat whenever possible, or anchor in sandy areas away from coral and sea grasses so the anchor doesn't drag on corals or tear up sea grass beds. When diving and snorkeling, I will maintain proper buoyancy control, never touch the reefs and spread the word about coral reef stewardship.
Already signed this pledge? Now sign the International Declaration of Reef Rights: http://www.reefcheck.org/petition/petition.php
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