Outreach
Bringing the Ocean to Society
28 Aug 2019
Did you also think that a bright colourful coral was a good thing?
Glowing Glowing Gone is a global campaign highlighting the global danger signalled by fluorescing corals.

In case you are a true fan of surfing and other wave ridding affairs, we do not have to tell you what took place yesterday, Tuesday 27 August 2019, in the infamous Tahitian reef pass called Teahupoo, aka The End Of The Road. Having a 5 m @ 15 secs swell perfectly directed towards one of the planet’s most mesmerising – and most dangerous – waves of the planet during one of the World Surf League Championship Tour event is exactly what make that competition a “Dream Tour”.

But not everything is picture-perfect in paradise. While the world’s best surfers challenged gravity in ways you not often see in competition, the underwater coral reefs - that produce the unique shape of the hypnotic wave of Teahupoo - are fighting their own death-defying battle.

In 2016, a team from The Ocean Agency photographed one of the most spectacular and rarest sights in nature while filming the Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral. A coral reef situated in New Caledonia was "glowing" in incredibly rare vivid colours due to an underwater heatwave. The corals were producing brightly coloured chemicals that act as sunscreen in a desperate bid to survive the fatally high water temperatures. This glowing coral phenomenon, called fluorescing, is one of the most visual indicators of the climate crisis and the existential threat to entire ecosystems such as coral reefs. However, until now, it has gone largely unnoticed.

This glowing coral phenomenon, called fluorescing, is one of the most visual indicators of the climate crisis and the existential threat to entire ecosystems such as coral reefs. However, until now, it has gone largely unnoticed. Photo: The Ocean Agency

In 2019, the WSL and WSL PURE are committed to action to address the climate crisis, and its effects on coastal habitat like the coral reefs of French Polynesia. These reefs are under pressure from many human-related causes, most notably ocean warming and acidification related to climate change. In addition to offsetting the carbon footprint of the entire event in Tahiti, including air travel, the WSL is supporting Coral Gardeners, a youth-led non-profit organization that is actively restoring coral reefs in the area.

In addition to offsetting the carbon footprint of the entire event in Tahiti, including air travel, the WSL is supporting Coral Gardeners, a youth-led non-profit organization that is actively restoring coral reefs in the area. Photo: Coral Gardeners

"We're excited to both raise awareness for the plight of coral reefs around the world as well as support real impact in French Polynesia," said Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO of the WSL. "The Glowing Glowing Gone campaign draws attention to the cause and global solutions, while the Coral Gardeners are making a positive difference in the restoration of the nearby reefs, and the WSL is proud to partner with both organizations."

"The future of the world's coral reefs hangs in the balance, threatening both marine life and hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for food, livelihoods and coastal protection," says Gabriel Grimsditch, UN Environment coral reef expert. "By supporting the Glowing campaign, the World Surf League is leading the way in helping to sharpen global attention to the crisis facing corals."

"We are thrilled about the World Surf League's commitment to making their events carbon neutral and free of single-use plastics, and their support of the Glowing campaign," said Richard Vevers, Founder and CEO of the Ocean Agency. "The WSL has the reach and influence to raise awareness and funds for coral reef restoration, making a tangible positive impact through their events, athletes, and content. The WSL's support of the Glowing campaign will certainly help us achieve the mission to be the first generation to save an entire ecosystem."

To learn about how you can take action to support Glowing Glowing Gone and ocean health initiatives, please visit WSLPURE.org.

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