Planet
April 29, 2019

Adopt a new piece of coral in Tahiti and meet the teenage gardeners who’ll plant it for you

Words by Matt Leedham
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Pic: Coral Gardeners, Tahiti

The Islands of Tahiti are home to an abundance of marine wildlife, and while the oceans surrounding the islands are crystal clear and truly stunning, by 2050 this could all change for the worse.

Taking the ever-growing issue of the deteriorating health of the ocean into their own hands, a group of local teenagers have named themselves ‘The Coral Gardeners.’

This exceptional group of young changemakers who grew up and live on Moorea, are super passionate about the water that surrounds them and the marine life within it – and are determined to preserve it for future generations.

Moorea, Tahiti

What’s the challenge?

Due to pollution and climate change from a wide range of human activity, coral reefs around the world are drastically reducing in size.

Recent research published in ScienceAdvances found that tropical coastlines are at a greater risk of erosion from larger wave heights after live coral has been destroyed.

The researchers predict that wave heights will likely be twice the size of the current ones in locations like Tahiti and in other reef sites worldwide by the end of the century.

According to the study, preserving live coral reefs in scenarios of high sea-levels helped reduce wave heights by three times.

It all starts with education…

What’s the solution?

As surfers, freedivers, and fishermen – and with salt water running through their veins – these teenagers aim is to positively change the future of the ocean’s wellbeing, starting with the islands’ reefs.

Through conferences with the general public, visitors, and schools, The Coral Gardeners are educating adults and children of all ages about the coral’s health and what they’re doing to restore the reef surrounding the Islands.

The teenagers plant healthy coral fragments back onto the reef to encourage growth and to rebuild habitats.

The idea is to transplant coral cuttings into threatened areas of the reef, which will help to recreate the reef environment so that marine wildlife can prosper and strengthen the health of the surrounding ocean.

The planting of healthy coral is where the general public can help with immediate effect.

Anyone, from anywhere in the world, can adopt a piece of coral that The Coral Gardeners will replant and take care of until it can survive and flourish on it its own.

You can also visit the project in Moorea where you’ll get to spend around two hours with their crew at one of their coral nursery tables.

You’ll learn all about why we all must protect the reefs, and plant your own coral with the Gardeners. How cool is that?

What will the positive impact be?

The whole mission and idea is to transplant coral cuttings into threatened areas of the reef, which will help to recreate the reef environment so that marine wildlife can prosper and strengthen the health of the surrounding ocean.

It’s as simple as that. By continued education and awareness, and spreading the message, the hope is that more people will get involved to save coral reefs the world over.

You can adopt a piece of coral for yourself or a friend from AU$40 and play your part in changing the health of the coral reefs all around the world.

Find out more: www.coralgardeners.org

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.

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