The global climate crisis poses a severe threat to the well being of coral reefs around the world. Climate Action Fund leader and coral conservation expert Austin Bowden-Kerby shares his efforts to preserve these natural wonders.
Led by climate activist Austin Bowden-Kerby, Corals for Conservation operates off islands across the South Pacific, where the IPCC predicts that more than 99% of corals will die by 2050 if conservation efforts aren’t implemented.
“We live in a time of crisis,” Bowden-Kerby said. “The Earth certainly has a fever, clearly caused by climate change. In this ‘coal mine’ we have two canaries: the polar regions, and our coral reefs. These two ecosystems are collapsing first. Corals for Conservation’s mission is to save the paradise that is a diversely populated coral reef ecosystem.”
Corals for Conservation tackles these seemingly overwhelming odds through an unstoppable mixture of perseverance, ingenuity, and community involvement. After developing a strategy to grow heat resistant corals in meticulously maintained coral gardens, Austin helped incorporate coral conservation into the local economy and culture by training community members and members of the region’s tourism industry. Now, this innovative preservation technique has taken off, and Austin looks to future generations for both inspiration and a path forward:
“Luckily, like Greta in Sweden, I have young men and women who deeply and care and want to pitch in and help. Recently, I was able to teach a group of young surfers in French Polynesia who had risen up to the challenge of saving their reefs. They learned how to identify super corals which are resistant temperature changes. Then, we started creating garlands of coral mini-fragments, which we have planted into a new coral garden of hot water adapted super corals.”
“In early October, we completed a hands-on workshop in my adopted home country of Fiji for 25 trainees from the Pacific islands and across the globe. During that workshop we created a new ‘super coral’ nursery. I was so moved listening to Greta’s ‘How Dare You’ speech before the UN that the we decided to name this wonderful community achievement the ‘Greta Thunberg Coral Nursery’—a super coral nursery named for a super human being,” Austin said.
With support from GlobalGiving’s Climate Action Fund, Corals for Conservation will create four more coral nurseries and further educate local communities on coral conservation. Coral gardening is a temporary solution, but is ensures the survival of these natural wonders while individuals, local climate activists, and global policy leaders work together to mitigate climate change.
“We continue to plug away in an ocean paradise, inspiring change and giving hope with each coral micro-fragment planted. Reefs have been telling us they are stressed for 30 years. Let’s listen to be sure the canary is still singing and save this treasure upon our blessed planet.”
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Featured Photo:Support Local Coral Gardeners in French Polynesia by Corals for Conservation