Coral reefs are among the Earth’s most beautiful, ancient and complex ecosystems. Coral reefs play an essential role in sustaining life in the sea and coastal communities. Healthy coral reefs are some of the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on earth, providing food, jobs, recreation, pharmaceuticals, coastal protection and other important functions to virtually everyone on the planet. More than 3.5 billion people directly depend on the ocean for their primary source of food.
The reefs are alive… coral polyps are small animals akin to sponges and anemones that form immense colonies in our shallow tidal zones. The polyps form a symbiotic relationship with certain species of algae to photosynthesize energy directly from the sun.
Coral reefs are intrinsic to the formation of tropical islands and their surrounding beaches. Fringing reefs protect shoreline communities from storms, surges and erosion. Coral reefs provide a rich and complex habitat for a phenomenal variety of aquatic creatures, similar to the role tropical rainforests play on land. The reefs provide a safe hatchery and nursery for an incredible variety of fish species. The many filter-feeders in the reef community; the coral polyps, sponges and anemones filter the coastal waters.
And coral reefs are fun! They create nice hollow waves to delight surfers and a wide variety of wave riders, while presenting a colorful underwater tapestry of marine life to enchant divers and snorkelers.
The ancient Hawaiians understood the complex web of life that was their island home. Their very survival demanded an intimate knowledge of island waterways, the reef systems and the creatures that inhabit the seas around Hawaii. The Hawaiian culture basically equates to an intelligently applied, sophisticated ecological system. Their sustainable society, living in harmony with their environment for over 1000 years is unique in all of human history.
But all is not well in paradise… Today the world’s coral reefs are in serious decline. A fifth of the world’s reef systems have been destroyed in the last 50 years and more than half of the remaining reefs are seriously threatened with extinction. Our coral reefs are degraded by a number of factors. Climate change, pollution, sedimentation, coastal development and unsustainable human activity all contribute to stress the reefs and make them susceptible to diseases.
The Earth is calling out in time of great need. Join our sacred mission to restore the ancient ecological wisdom to Hawaii. And to integrate this wisdom with modern science to meet the many critical challenges our reefs are facing. And most importantly, to teach the next generation to become responsible stewards of our island home… spinning among the stars.
“What can I do?” you may ask. Educate yourself about the complex relationship between our planet, the incredibly fragile coral reef systems and yourself… then look deep within your heart and act with conscious will. What you do will depend on your interests, passion and enthusiasm… Remember, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”.
For more information on our coral reefs and some ideas of how you can help, please visit our website, underwater2web.com
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The new Around Hawaii website is finally here!
To view the new website, please go to beta.aroundhawaii.com. Around Hawaii will fully transition to the new website by May 8, 2015. Our goal is to provide you with a fast and convenient starting point online. With a single click, you will be able to view the latest local news, sports and original local content all within a single space.