Five Easy Bathroom Swaps

Five bathroom items to swap

The Products We Use and Why…

Written by Christel Schultz – February 29, 2020

Note: I am not affiliated with any product, brand, etc. discussed. These are just my personal choices after researching and finding good products that seemed in line with changes I wanted to make.

As many of us try to minimize waste and use natural, sustainable products, it’s important to approach the transition with reasonable goals. Making simple changes creates a big impact over time.

Eliminating plastic played a role in our decisions. We wanted products made with simple, natural ingredients and sustainable materials. Supporting local markets and online creative entrepreneurs was another consideration.

Determine what is important to you. Think about switching a few items to begin at your own pace. A handful of bathroom swaps is an easy way to take action.

Bamboo Toothbrush

Bamboo toothbrush

An estimated one billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year. And you may have guessed, nearly all of them are PLASTIC. Plastic toothbrushes are one of the most common items found during beach cleanups on coastlines around the world. Switching to bamboo toothbrushes was a definite priority. Bamboo grows very quickly and is quite versatile – a useful and sustainable resource. It did take some research to find a bamboo toothbrush with natural bristles that is fully compostable, though. We ended up choosing the Dr. Perfect brand. The toothbrush is simple, but the bristles are soft, and it works well for a very reasonable price. You can buy it here.

Natural Toothpaste

Toothpaste in glass jar

Along with the toothbrushes, approximately one billion toothpaste tubes end up in the trash every year.  This is another staggering waste statistic. Our household doesn’t use a lot of toothpaste quickly, but we need alternatives to traditional products and packaging. Many natural products that contain favorable ingredients still use plastic containers. We need sustainable and/or reusable containers. After evaluating toothpaste and toothpaste bites, I leaned toward toothpaste. If you travel frequently, camp, or spend time outdoors away from facilities, toothpaste bites may be the better option. Regardless of your choice, be sure to check the type of container, too.

Considering the ingredients, container, size, and cost, I ultimately chose Native Essence Botanicals all natural toothpaste. Even though it doesn’t foam up quite like traditional toothpaste, my mouth feels nice and clean after brushing. The hint of orange peppermint flavor makes this choice well worth it. The toothpaste comes in a reusable glass jar with a plastic lid. It’s the perfect size for little stuff like collecting change in the car or storing paper clips on a desk. Check out the ingredients and order from the company or purchase here.

Handmade/Natural Soap

Handmade Soap

Our former shower regimen included body wash with harsh soaps, perfume, and dye in plastic containers. The list of ingredients, and the plastic container, made this an undesirable choice. I quickly located body washes that were made with natural ingredients, but most were in plastic containers, and the products did not seem to lather. I decided to try some simple coconut oil or goat’s milk soap; the soaps were typically less expensive than the body wash anyway.

The soaps we use are scented with essential oils, smell totally amazing, and deliver the clean you need. As a fan of anything beach related, I adore the tropical fruit and ocean scents I’ve discovered. Local farmers and/or artist markets tend to carry some of the best quality and most uniquely scented soaps, in my experience. Specific scents are often available for holidays throughout the year, too. If you have a local market or specialty store, check them out, or explore options online. I’ve been pleased with products from numerous markets and online sources.

I have yet to find shampoo and conditioner bars that work for our household. With long and curly hair in the family, we use a lot of shampoo, and even more conditioner. Those plastic bottles can add up quickly, but we need a strong conditioner, so I look forward to checking out more of the available products. A variety of shampoo and conditioner bars are currently available to meet a range of hair and scalp needs like traditional hair care products, so this is another easy bathroom switch to consider.

Want to support people making products? Check out a multitude of handmade soaps, shampoo, and conditioner bars on Etsy.

Cotton Swabs

Bamboo Cotton Swabs

Some cotton swab manufacturers are now making biodegradable products. This is a positive move that would be made better if the swabs and packaging were biodegradable. Plastic packaging is still too common. Again, we needed an overall sustainable option. The Make Eco Choice bamboo cotton swabs are a zero waste product with zero waste packaging. And with the amazing attributes of bamboo, this is just a great product for day to day use in a health or body routine. You can buy them here.

Cotton Skin Care Pads

Cotton face pads

These reusable makeup remover and skin care pads are made of organic bamboo cotton. Another great role for bamboo to play, in fabrics this time. These take the place of cotton balls as the go-to skin care item, and they’re really soft. A variety of cloth pads like these are available through online vendors. The set of 16 that I ordered came in a flat cardboard box that I recycled. AND it came with a little laundry bag for the wash! I’m definitely pleased with this product, but there were so many to choose from, it was hard to decide. A wide range of handmade cotton rounds is available on Etsy; definitely worth checking out! With a number of useful and fun products available, this should be an easy swap, too.

It’s never been easier to make a change…

As people become more conscious consumers, their demands create a market for more sustainable options. Because we now have so many choices available, it’s a great time to evaluate products and practices. Look around your home and think of alternatives. Take action by choosing to change one thing today. Inside your bathroom, kitchen, or wherever. One choice makes all the difference today for a better tomorrow.

The Bahamas…

STILL a Nature

Lover’s Paradise

Written by Christel Schultz – January 1, 2020

With the New Year, and a brand new decade upon us, consider that vacation you’ve been dreaming of…making memories under the golden sun, in the lush tropical forest, or beneath the surface of the endless sea. No matter what you’re into, the Bahamas has an outdoor adventure waiting for you!

14 Bahamas Islands still open for business

Nested in the tranquil turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the islands of the Bahamas abound with natural wonders to explore. While Grand Bahama and The Abacos islands were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, there are 14 islands in this incredible Caribbean nation waiting for you to visit:

Tourism is a major staple of the Bahamas economy, comprising about 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Many people are directly or indirectly employed by the tourism industry, so your vacation dollars contribute to sustaining and rebuilding this slice of tropical heaven. Pick your passion and go see for yourself!

Kayak & Paddleboard

If you enjoy clear water but prefer to stay above the surface, a variety of blue holes and natural ponds are available to explore in addition to the Caribbean waters. Turtle Lake is an inland blue hole on Eleuthera where green sea turtles are commonly spotted along with a variety of fish and birds. Bonefish Pond is located on the island of New Providence near the capital city of Nassau. It’s part of a large National Park that sea stars, sharks, turtles, and stingrays call home. Andros is the blue hole capital of the world with 50 of them spread around the shallow waters offshore. These deep, circular shaped sinkholes in the water provide an air of mystery. The bottoms of many have never been discovered.

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park covers 176 square miles. It was established in 1959 as the first marine protected area in the Caribbean – fishing is prohibited. Some of the cays remain completely uninhabited. This ecological preserve and wildlife refuge boasts an abundance of vibrant marine life and coral reefs visible through crystal clear water. Several freshwater blue holes and caves, including the Thunderball Grotto, are also available to explore throughout this extensive park.

Hiking & Birdwatching

There are a number of places to wander and take in the various habitats across the islands, too. The water is definitely full of life, but the shores and inland areas provide adventures of their own.

More blue holes are found inland on Andros than offshore – 175 of them. The Blue Holes National Park was created to protect these natural treasures along with the surrounding pine and coppice forests. Take a walk on the nature trails, enjoy birdwatching, and swim in the fresh water to cool off. You may encounter some of the more uncommon fish species found only in the caves and caverns. Explore the wetlands or mangrove marshes while hiking Andros, too. If you’d like an expert guide, visit the Small Hope Bay Lodge where bird watching and nature hiking tours are led by Dr. Mike Baltz of the Nature Conservancy. 

Guided tours are also available on Bimini Nature Trail located on South Bimini. Learn about the ecology and history of Bimini while seeing the flora and fauna up close in their native environment.

The Cat Island Hiking Trail is the path to Mount Alvernia, the highest point in Bahamas at 203 feet above sea level. Take a walk on Eleuthera to visit a number of caves, one of the largest and most well-known being Preachers Cave. This is a popular exploration destination first discovered in the 1600s when a group of Christians led by William Sayle became shipwrecked and took refuge in the cave. Sermons were held there for some 100 years.

An extensive boardwalk and viewing platform provides wonderful access to the Bonefish Pond nursery area on New Providence. An abundance of young fish, crawfish, and conch, as well as a variety of waterfowl and plants, thrive in the nutrient rich environment. Inagua National Park is a popular destination for ecotravelers due to the massive colony of West Indian flamingos. The park is also home to the Bahama Parrot, Brown pelicans, Bahama woodstar hummingbird, Tri-colored herons, Bahama pintails, and several other bird species.

Harold and Wilson Ponds National Park in Nassau is a vital wetland habitat identified as an Important Bird Area. It is home to the island’s largest populations of herons, egrets, ibises and cormorants as well as the endemic Bahama Swallow. Over 100 different bird species have been identified in this 50 acre park. Conception Island National Park is another designated Important Bird Area believed to have the largest population of nesting tropic birds in the Bahamas.

Primeval Forest National Park on New Providence is another prime destination for the nature enthusiast. This unique tropical hardwood forest is essentially undisturbed, and several large caverns are present. Boardwalks and walking paths provide easy access to park features.

Snorkeling, Diving & Swimming

When it comes to the Bahamas, we certainly can’t forget the amazing snorkeling and diving opportunities. No matter your skill level, preference for deep or shallow water, or the number of people in your party, there’s a snorkel or dive experience just for you.

Exuma and its string of cays (collectively referred to as the Exumas) are beautiful locations for snorkeling or diving. Shallow coral reefs and shipwrecks provide easy beginner diving. Multiple blue holes and submerged cave systems are available for more advanced divers.

Rose Island Reef, near Paradise Island, is one of the most shallow reefs in the Bahamas. It’s a perfect location for all ages and experience levels to snorkel or dive. Two shipwrecks – The Mahoney and The Alcora – are also present and accessible to people of various skill levels. Goulding Cay Reef is another shallow snorkel destination. The elkhorn coral and variety of colorful fish make this a family favorite.

The Gambier Deep Reef northwest of New Providence sinks from the surface to 80 feet. The shallow portions of the reef are completely visible at the surface and perfect for snorkeling. The deeper section is accessible to divers.

The Andros Barrier Reef is the third largest reef in the world, extending 124 miles along Andros. Due to its remote location, a variety of coral and fish species thrive here, creating a very biologically diverse reef system. This reef is also home to the “Tongue of the Ocean,” a vertical cliff that begins at 65 feet below surface and drops into a trench over 6,000 feet deep.

Shark Experiences

For those with a more specific water encounter in mind, there are several shark experiences available in the Bahamas, too. In July 2011, the Bahamas became a Shark Sanctuary, prohibiting shark fishing and the trade of shark products. With over 40 different species of sharks, the Bahamas is a prime destination for this type of ecotourism.

The Compass Cay Marina is famous for its “pet” sharks. Several nurse sharks congregate in the shallow turquoise waters of the marina, and guests regularly swim with them. These sharks are typically docile unless provoked, but they are still wild animals, so caution is always advised.

Perhaps the most renowned location for shark interactions is Tiger Beach. This sand flat is located west of Grand Bahama Island in about 20 feet of water with phenomenal visibility. The location is famous for its tiger sharks, many of which are so common they’ve been given names by divers that frequent the area. Tigers aren’t the only locals to be seen, though. Great hammerheads, oceanic white-tips, lemon, Caribbean reef, and nurse sharks are likely to be present. Many of the sharks have become accustomed to the divers, too. They may approach more closely than expected. It is important to move fluidly and calmly, keep the sand from stirring up to maintain visibility, and be aware of your surroundings, including any sharks that may be approaching from behind. These practices should be employed in any dive or snorkel experience to protect yourself and the ocean ecosystem.

Another amazing shark experience, especially for those interested in science, is through the Bimini Biological Field Station Sharklab. The Sharklab offers a “research experience” complete with accommodations on South Bimini. The trip is five days and offers a variety of encounters with different species in their natural environment. You will learn about shark science, what information the lab collects, what it’s used for, and more!

More Travel Information

These are just a few of the places and experiences available in the beautiful Bahamas. If you’d like more information about the Bahamas, please visit their website. Consider making this Caribbean treasure your next vacation destination. The following airports are operating to serve the islands:

  • Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau (the largest airport in the nation)
  • Exuma Airport (GGT)
  • South Bimini Airport (BIM)
  • North Eleuthera Airport (ELH)
  • Stella Maris Airport (SML) and Deadman’s Cay Airport (LGI) in Long Island

One Root on Land, One in the Sea – Mangrove Forests

Mangrove trees on beach at sunset

Written by Christel Schultz

Putting down roots in changing tides and shifting sands is just part of coastal living. The transition zone between land and sea is a highly dynamic environment. Adapting to these conditions is necessary for survival. Mangroves have seemingly mastered this “double life” – they don’t just survive, they thrive!

Habitat hardy

Mangroves forests are found in or near water in coastal areas around the world. These trees and shrubs possess specialized root systems specific to their habitat. Aerial roots elevate the trunk and leaves above the water, allowing the plant to breathe. They create an anchor network, providing stability in a constantly shifting environment. The roots filter salt based on water conditions. Some species even exude salt crystals through their leaves.

Mangrove roots

There are over 50,000 square miles of mangrove forests in warm ocean waters along several continents. Mangroves are prevalent from Florida down the Atlantic coast of South America, around Australia and New Zealand, even Africa. They also grow in areas of Asia, India, and Burma. Some flourish in fresh or brackish (mix of fresh and salt) water. Thought to be the largest of its kind, the Sundarbans Forest is located at the mouth of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Megha Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. This area covers approximately 3,860 square miles and is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site.

Taking care of the neighborhood on and offshore

No matter the size, mangrove forests perform a number functions vital to the surrounding habitats and communities. These unique ecosystems are rich in biodiversity. A variety of marine life including shrimp, fish, and several species of sharks, use the mangrove root system as a nursery. A large volume of food in the form of smaller fish, organic matter, and even bacteria is available. Juveniles can safely roam around without the threat of larger predators. A healthy mangrove forest promotes an abundance of adult fish in the neighboring waters.

Fish swim in mangrove roots

The complex root system does more than provide shelter and food for young animals. Soils from land, along with sand and silt particles in the water, become trapped in the root system. Nutrients in runoff may also be absorbed, preventing excessive plant growth detrimental to the ecosystem balance. Coastal erosion is thus minimized and the water is filtered. This is particularly important near coral reefs and seagrass beds where sediment deposits can choke out sunlight, prevent oxygen absorption and cause extensive damage.

Because mangroves are specially designed for their environment, they can withstand an array of weather conditions. Tropical storms, massive hurricanes and typhoons occur in coastal areas where mangrove forests are found. The dense mangrove network provides a great level of stability and resilience. The mangroves provide a significant level of protection by absorbing much of the wave action that would otherwise directly impact the coastline.

The mangroves also absorb and store carbon particularly well. They extract carbon from carbon dioxide to grow. When the leaves and old trees ultimately die, they fall down and decay. The stored carbon then becomes part of the saturated soils. Because sediment tends to accumulate in the mangrove root system, the carbon may be stored for centuries. Mangroves are responsible for 10 to 15% of carbon burial even though they comprise less than 2% of marine environments. One acre of mangrove forest can store about 1,450 pounds of carbon per year. This buried carbon stored underwater in coastal ecosystems is known as “blue carbon”.

Challenges facing the forest

Like rainforests and coral reef systems, mangroves are plagued by human impacts including deforestation and coastal development. Large tracts of land may be cleared for timber, agriculture, establishment of shipping ports and harbors. Removal of mangrove forests releases mass amounts of stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Construction and development along the coast often occurs quickly with little concern for impacts to the surrounding area. Dredging activities and large volumes of runoff can alter a habitat beyond its ability to rebound.

Hope for the future…

Mangrove seedlings

The importance of mangrove forests has become more recognized. Many countries have implemented laws to protect existing forests. Restoration and conservation programs like Mangroves for the Future and the Mangrove Alliance have been established. Various restoration methods have been tried, and the most effective techniques developed. After many failed attempts to reestablish growth, it was determined that mangrove seedlings do best when they are submerged for 30% of the time and dry for the remaining 70%. Robin Lewis discovered this in 1986 during restoration activities in Florida, and his method of planting has been successfully repeated in several countries. Educating locals about the importance of mangroves also encourages reforestation. Coastal communities can then sustain the environment that provides their home, food source and economy for the long term.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products – DIY or Buy?

Natural cleaning and laundry materials

Written by Christel Schultz

Eliminating waste production in our daily lives is an ongoing process for my family. Natural products are more widely available, but many of those still come in bulky, single use containers. Chemical solutions and abrasives in plastic containers currently make up the majority of our cleaning products. Our cleaning tools tend to be various types of scrub sponges in disposable packaging and plastic brushes or brooms. The goal is to minimize waste and convert to earth friendly products.

Do It Yourself

Do it yourself (DIY) options are ideal in theory, but busy schedules prevent many of us from consistently doing things ourselves. The best approach for transitioning to eco-friendly products with minimal waste may be a combination of DIY and available items through local or online markets. As a start, take inventory of your home for items that can be repurposed. We often take clothing to the thrift store, but some things are a little too far gone. Old clothing, bath towels, and dish towels provided us with a crate of rags for household use. We just wash and reuse or separate them based on purpose. Mason jars, old pickle jars, or jelly containers are ideal for storing various DIY cleaning solutions or powders, too. Basic ingredients for most cleaners include combinations of baking soda, distilled white vinegar, coconut oil, lemon juice, castile soap, and essential oils.

Here are some examples:

Baking soda
  • Baking soda is a fantastic deodorizer and works well as a mild abrasive. Add it to your laundry. Mix it with warm water, vinegar, and your favorite essential oil for a personalized fabric refresher. Baking soda and vinegar create a foamy scrub to tackle bath and shower grime.Vinegar can be used to clean just about anything in the kitchen and bathroom, including windows and floors. It kills some bacteria, too. Adding citrus scented essential oil (or your favorite scent) can eliminate the unpleasant odor. Vinegar is acidic, though, so it’s not recommended for polished surfaces, stone or wood. Porous surfaces are subject to damage.
  • Coconut oil and baking soda make an effective paste cleaner. Coconut oil alone is great as a crayon and scuff mark remover, furniture polish, and hardwood scratch hider. A light coating also makes a useful dust deterrent.
  • Lemon juice is great for removing stains and grease, followed by a gentle baking soda scrub as needed. Apply lemon juice to fabrics and dry in the sun for a natural bleaching effect. It cleans copper and even windows.
  • Castile soap may be the most versatile of all these ingredients. It is a vegetable-based, biodegradable soap available in liquid or bar form. Originating in the Castile region of Spain, it was previously made with olive oil. Castile soap has now gained worldwide popularity and is typically made with hemp, coconut or castor oils. Avocado, almond, or walnut oils may be used as alternatives. Mix it with some warm water in a spray bottle to create an all-purpose cleaner or in a bucket to mop floors throughout your home. A few drops can clean a sink of dirty dishes. As little as ¼ cup can be used as laundry detergent in the washing machine. Combine with baking soda for another effective shower scrub.
Essential oils
  • Some of the most popular essential oils for cleaning include lemon, tea tree, peppermint, lavender, orange, thyme, rosemary, grapefruit, eucalyptus, and lemongrass. Pick the scent that seems most refreshing or best suits your purpose.

Purchase Options

The green clean movement has really taken root. So if DIY is not your thing, there are plenty of purchase options. Non-plastic, biodegradable, natural products, containers, and cleaning tools are widely available. Many containers are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, too. If you use products in plastic, look for those. Avoid single use plastics and refill containers. Use concentrate and water solutions when possible. Look for brushes and brooms with wood or bamboo handles. Natural bristles made of horsehair or plant materials like rattan, tampico fiber, broomcorn, and yucca are known to out-perform their synthetic counterparts. Metal dust pans, buckets, wash bins and trash cans are more durable than those made of plastic.

The following companies offer a variety of options to consider:

  • Blueland provide shatterproof, 100% Bisphenol-A (BPA) free, acrylic bottles that do not leach or break down. Fill the bottle with water, and add a Multi-Surface, Glass & Mirror, or Bathroom cleaning tablet. Get cleaning in minutes.
  • Grove Collaborative offers household and personal care items. Choose from their own line of products or brands like Seventh Generation and Burt’s Bees. Consult with a Grove Guide to determine what products may be best for you.
  • Biokleen plant and mineral-based home cleaning products are available for laundry, kitchen, and general household needs. The company uses bottles created with 50% PCR content. Their concentrated products minimize water consumption in manufacturing, require less packaging due to small size, and reduce shipping costs.
  • Gaia Natural Cleaners products are plant and mineral-based, paraben and sulfate free, with no synthetic preservatives. The containers are metal tins and amber tinted bottles. Eleven total ingredients, plus a variety of essential oils, comprise the list for their ENTIRE line of products.
  • The JAWS (Just Add Water System) is a line of non-toxic, biodegradable concentrate cleaners to clean glass, showers, hardwood floors, and granite. A disinfectant cleaner and degreaser for the kitchen are also available. Reusable spray bottles are included.
  • Branch Basics offers a plant and mineral-based, biodegradable concentrate solution created with 8 simple ingredients for all of your cleaning needs. The oxygen boost powder (2 ingredients) can be combined with the concentrate solution to tackle tough stains and scrub bathrooms. A convenient, multi-purpose, natural beechwood scrub brush is also available.
  • Well Earth Goods has a huge inventory of products to meet all your natural, sustainable, zero waste needs. The whole website is worth checking out. Their plastic free cleaning tools can be found here.
  • Lola Products offer a variety of bamboo handle brushes with Tampico fiber bristles. The reusable paper towels are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Check out the eco-friendly products available here.

Think about this…

Your daily choices matter. Consider your needs and make informed decisions to transition your household. Chemical cleaners and unnecessary waste will be a thing of the past. Together we create a more sustainable tomorrow.

Rainforests of the Sea – Are they fading away?

Various fish & coral collage

Written by Christel Schultz

Located near the equator, coral reef systems are some of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world. Reefs are estimated to cover less than 1% of the earth’s surface and provide homes to 25% of marine life. It’s fitting that coral reefs would be deemed the “rainforests of the sea.”

Like the rainforest, reef ecosystems provide a multitude of benefits. The reef is a tremendous food resource for locals and people around the globe. The actual reef structure minimizes coastal storm impacts and erosion. Colorful corals and sea creatures attract snorkelers, divers, and water enthusiasts. The tourism industry provides jobs for the local community. Plants and animals of the coral reef are used to create medicines . Anti-tumor medication developed from sea squirts, and a pain killer derived from the cone snail, are all ready in use. Healthy and abundant reef systems are too valuable to ignore.

Great Barrier Reef heart coral

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef on Earth. It spans over 1,400 miles along the coast of Queensland and covers approximately 133,000 square miles. It is the largest living structure on our planet and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The ecological significance of this unique and diverse reef system was recognized several decades ago. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975. Activities and access to areas of the reef have been limited, and in some cases prohibited, ever since. The biodiversity and overall health is constantly monitored.

Climate Change and Coral Bleaching

Despite ongoing efforts to protect and maintain it, climate change has heavily impacted the Great Barrier Reef. Record high sea temperatures documented in 2016 caused a mass coral bleaching event. An estimated 30% of the Great Barrier Reef was affected. Water temperatures were elevated again in 2017. Another 20% of the reef was bleached. Bleaching occurs when water temperatures are elevated by 1 to 2°C for just a few weeks. The bright colors characteristic of the reef are provided by photosynthetic algae (Zooxanthellae). The algae create food and oxygen for the coral. When exposed to high water temperatures, the coral becomes stressed and expels the algae. This creates the white “bleached” appearance. Corals starve in the absence of algae and ultimately die.

Colorful coral reef & fish

Regional bleaching events previously occurred approximately every 27 years. In the 1980s, the frequency increased to every 6 years. Damaged reefs typically take 10 years or more to bounce back when conditions are favorable. The northern extent of the Great Barrier Reef suffered the worst damage. Because it was impacted two years in a row, recovery is unlikely.

The southern extent of the reef did not suffer as badly. A variety of coral species remain in that section. Differing species assist in repopulating the reef. Biodiversity is key. A limited number of species survived in the northern reef. Distance between the two areas may prevent transport of coral species from one to the other. The northern extent needs help.

The Great Barrier Reef is not alone. Reef systems all along the equator experienced bleaching in 2016 and 2017. Minor changes in temperature have a major effect. To learn more about the state of coral reef systems around the world, be sure to see Chasing Coral. This is not over – there is hope!

White coral reef & blue fish

What is being done?

Transplanting healthy coral began decades ago. Impacted areas are addressed on a small scale. The study of corals in various environments continues. Research provides insight about the resilience of certain species. The Australian authorities responsible for the Great Barrier Reef previously refrained from intervention in the ecosystem. Recent bleaching events changed that approach. Transplanting efforts are underway on a larger scale here. Human intervention has become necessary to ensure the future of our coral reefs.

What you can do…

Coral transplanting and restoration are steps in the right direction. Addressing climate change is essential to protect new coral from the same fate. A global effort is crucial. Together we create a better tomorrow.

NOAA Ways to Protect Coral Reef Infographic
Download Infographic

10 Ways to Protect the Coral Reef

• Choose sustainable seafood. Learn how to make smart seafood choices at

• Conserve Water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually find their ways back into the ocean.

• Volunteer. Volunteer in local beach or reef cleanups. If you don’t live near the coast, get involved in protecting your watershed.

• Corals are already a gift. Don’t give them as presents. It takes corals decades or longer to create reef structures, so leave them on the reef.

• Long-lasting light bulbs are a bright idea. Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is one of the leading threats to coral reef survival.

• If you dive, don’t touch. Coral reefs are alive. Stirred-up sediment can smother corals.

• Check sunscreen active ingredients. Seek shade between 10 am & 2 pm, use Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) sunwear, and choose sunscreens with chemicals that don’t harm marine life. For more information, visit

• Be a marine crusader. In addition to picking up your own trash, carry away the trash that others have left behind.

• Don’t send chemicals into our waterways. Nutrients from excess fertilizer increases algae growth that blocks sunlight to corals.

• Practice safe boating. Anchor in sandy areas away from coral and sea grasses so that the anchor and chain do not drag on nearby corals.