Coral reefs are dying. The combination of climate change, rising ocean temperatures, pollution, and unsustainable fishing techniques are leading to a catastrophic decline in the health of these delicate ecosystems. Coral reefs are essential for the survival of over one billion people who depend on them for food, income, and protection. They also support biodiversity and drive tourism. Scientists have estimated that if action is not taken, 90% of the world’s tropical reefs would be lost by 2043.
Thankfully, there is hope. The SHEBA Hope Reef coral restoration project is the world’s largest coral restoration program, with over 860,000 square feet of coral reef restored around the globe. The project is led by the SHEBA cat food brand and its parent company, Mars Inc. The Hope Reef project was launched on May 5, 2021, and is just one of 30 coral restoration projects in seven different countries.
The SHEBA Hope Reef is located near the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in the Coral Triangle. The area was once abundant with coral and undersea life but has suffered from overfishing and the impacts of climate change. The new reef is made up of hundreds of two-foot-wide, sand-covered steel stars to which 12,600 coral fragments were attached. The stars spell out the word “hope” in 46-foot-high, 30-foot-wide letters that can be seen from space. The coral cover has already grown from 5% to 70%, and 42 species of coral now attract a 260% increase in fish populations.
To further support coral restoration efforts, SHEBA is offering a unique opportunity for coral reef enthusiasts to become coral reef influencers. Five lucky winners will be selected as SHEBA’s Hope Reef Advocates. The chosen influencers will be sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to Indonesia in August 2023 to see the SHEBA Hope Reef up close and help with the restoration efforts. But, before this, the winners will participate in a ten-day virtual training course to learn more about coral restoration.
The SHEBA Hope Reef Advocate contest is open to individuals from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, or Singapore. Participants must submit a two-minute video explaining their passion for ocean conservation and protecting coral reefs. The winners will also have the opportunity to blog about their experiences, snorkel over the Hope Reef, and talk to local residents about the importance of healthy oceans and coral reefs.
Coral reefs are a vital part of the global ecosystem. They provide biodiversity, food, and protection for coastlines from storms and flooding, all while attracting tourism. The SHEBA Hope Reef project is proving successful, and the chance to become a coral reef influencer with SHEBA’s Hope Reef Advocate contest demonstrates an opportunity to help protect and restore coral reefs from further damage.
In conclusion, coral reef restoration is vital, and it is heartening to see large corporations such as Mars Inc taking such an active role in protecting these essential ecosystems. By becoming a SHEBA Hope Reef Advocate, individuals can make a significant impact on the restoration and protection of coral reefs worldwide. The coral reefs are dying, and it’s up to all of us to protect them for future generations.