Giving Tuesday: Reef Restoration With Coral Gardeners
The ocean has always been a source of happiness and inspiration for us. Everything we do here, from the products we make to the people and organizations we champion, revolves around the island lifestyle. And while a portion of every purchase you make already goes toward the Ama OluKai Foundation—which supports organizations that are preserving and upholding the cultural heritage and Aloha Spirit of Hawai‘i—this Giving Tuesday, we wanted to do even more.
When you shop on November 29th, we will donate a portion of your purchase to Coral Gardeners to support their reef restoration efforts. Together, we can bring life to the ocean.
What is Coral Gardeners?
Founded by Titouan Bernicot, Coral Gardeners started in 2017 on Mo’orea, the sister island of Tahiti in French Polynesia, after a small group of young surfers, freedivers, and fishermen noticed the heartbreaking degradation of their home reef and decided to act.
Today, the group of island kids grew into an international collective of gardeners, scientists, engineers, creators, and advocates determined to revolutionize ocean conservation and create a global movement to save the reef.
What is Happening to Our Reefs?
Our coral reefs are at serious risk. Climate change and warming seawater are upsetting the symbiosis between coral polyps and the algae that nourish them. When that symbiotic relationship becomes stressed due to increased temperature or pollution, the coral polyp rejects the algae living inside its tissues, losing its main source of food and energy. As little as a 2-degree increase can have a huge impact. As a result, the coral starts to starve and turn white, exposing its mineral exoskeleton. This event is called coral bleaching, and it has already affected a large number of our reefs.
According to a 2021 impact report by Coral Gardeners, “coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate—as much as 50% have already been lost in the past 30 years (UNEP). Between 2009 and 2018 alone, 11,700 square kilometers of coral have died, which is more than one million soccer fields of reef graveyard (ICRI).”
But why are our reefs so important? Coral Gardeners provided us with a few statistics that can’t be ignored.
- 1/4 Of all marine life call coral reefs their home.
- 500 Million people worldwide directly rely on the reef for food, income, coastal protection, and more.
- $375 billion Is the estimated worth of the resources and services they provide yearly.
The world’s coral reefs could all vanish by 2050 if nothing is done. But there is still time to save them, and heat-resilient corals might be the key.
How is Coral Gardeners Helping?
The Coral Gardeners project is focused on three areas of action:
1. Restore damaged reef areas that have suffered from rising temperatures or other natural and human disturbances. To achieve this, they collect fragments of heat-resilient corals, that have proven to survive extreme water temperatures and bleaching events, from surrounding reefs and grow them in underwater gardens. The team then cares for and monitors the coral over time. When they're a suitable size, they plant those fragments on areas of the reef to recreate ecosystems that can once again thrive. By 2025, Coral Gardeners aims to plant 1 million corals around the world.
2. Tell the story of the reef worldwide. They educate the world on the importance of coral reefs through conferences, hands-on workshops, ambassadors, and social media content and campaigns. They believe awareness is key to building a better future for our ocean. By 2025, Coral Gardeners wants to reach 1 billion people.
3. Innovate how reef restoration is done. The scientists and engineers of the CG Labs are developing new tools and technologies to further their coral knowledge and improve their reef restoration and monitoring methodology. Their team is creating connected nurseries using artificial intelligence to collect real-time data about the reef and create immersive experiences for supporters. By 2025, Coral Gardeners wants to become the largest and most advanced reef restoration program in the world.
What Impact Have They Had So Far?
The numbers don’t lie, Coral Gardeners has already had a massive impact on the restoration of our reefs—and they’re just getting started.
- 25,000 corals planted onto the reef
- More than 190 million people reached globally
- 4 Connected nurseries
- 1 Artificial intelligence in training, ReefOS
- 8,000 ReefOS images labeled
How Can You Join the Efforts?
There are two easy ways to support the incredible efforts of Coral Gardeners. The first is to shop with us on Giving Tuesday, November 29th, 2022. We will be donating 2% of every purchase made to their project. The second way to support is to visit coralgardeners.org and donate. You can choose to donate a monetary amount, or you can adopt a coral. Coral Gardeners will then plant your chosen coral and send you a coral card and updates about its growth.
We’re immensely proud to work with an organization that has already done so much to restore our reefs. Our goal is to support the growth of more corals, and with your support, we’re confident we can achieve it.
You shop. We donate. Take action with us this Giving Tuesday.