At a time when we are all still braving our way through a global pandemic, generosity is bringing people together from all races, faiths, and political orientations across the globe. Generosity gives individuals the power to take action and have a positive impact on the lives of others: it is a fundamental, cross-cultural human value.
"Giving Tuesday" was started in 2012 to follow American Thanksgiving as a reminder for people to give thanks and give back to their local and global communities. Over the past nine years, Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement, inspiring millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. In 2019, $511 million was raised through online platforms alone, with an estimated $1.97 billion raised online and offline across the globe.
For the first time, Reef Life is participating in #GivingTuesday! Dec 1st we are launching our Building Homes for the Ocean’s Homeless campaign. Through this vital campaign, we are raising money for Phase 3 of our Sint Maarten reef restoration project. By using nanotechnology, biomimicking coral reef habitats called IntelliReefs, we are revitalizing the coral reef ecosystems that local marine life and island communities rely on. Coral reefs mitigate the negative effects of storms, provide food and shelter for marine species, foster healthy fisheries for locals, and are intrinsically important to tourism, culture, and identity on Sint Maarten.
We formed a collaborative partnership with Nature Foundation St Maarten to find solutions for their vulnerable coral reef ecosystems. In November 2018, we deployed IntelliReefs structures underwater near Philipsburg, Sint Maarten with local conservation organizations and business partners as part of a restoration pilot study. Sint Maarten’s marine ecosystems have been degraded by overfishing, hurricanes, runoff, and a suite of other compounding natural and anthropogenic stressors over the past five decades.
Our successful results from our pilot study in Philipsburg indicate that IntelliReefs provide fish populations with food and shelter, enhance local biodiversity, and naturally attract and grow wild coral spawn after less than 1 year underwater. Researchers found that IntelliReefs were nearly 100% covered with highly diverse marine life. Our ongoing collaboration with the Nature Foundation St Maarten involves the deployment of up to 20 new large-scale IntelliReefs coral reef restoration sculptures in the Man of War Shoal Marine Park.
Donations from our holiday campaign will go towards the deployment IntelliReefs coral gardens in the shape of sea turtles as part of an educational outreach program for Hawksbill sea turtles with the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten. Hawksbills are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN & rely on coral reefs for shelter and food. The Nature Foundation educates locals and tourists on the importance of sea turtles for healthy ocean ecosystems and the threats that they face both on land and in the sea.
In this time of uncertainty, there's a fundamental truth that gives us hope - that together we can do extraordinary things. Join us on #GivingTuesday and let’s rally to revitalize, restore, and protect coral reefs.
Grant Thomas / Coral Reef Image Bank
Shaun Wolfe / Coral Reef Image Bank
Ian Kellet / IntelliReefs