June 1st, World Reef Day: to defend and protect the corals

On June 1, consumers, businesses, and organizations around the world celebrate World Reef Day. They are invited to reflect on the delicate ecosystem of our ocean's coral reefs and prevent further reef loss.

World Reef Day is now the recurring annual day for the world to come together in awareness and activation to effect positive change for our world's reefs.

The initiative was launched by Raw Elements USA with the support of Hawaiian Airlines and Aqua-Aston Hospitality.

World Reef Day kicks off a month of initiatives focused on the environment to spur conversations and actions to support sustainability.

The day brings together the general public, influencers, and opinion leaders to create active change through education and engagement.

Recognized by the National Day Calendar Association, World Reef Day was inspired by new legislation that will go into effect in Hawaii and Key West, Florida, in January 2021.

But the date will also highlight the recently proposed bills in Florida, Bonaire, Palau, and Aruba, banning the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that have been shown to be damaging to coral reefs.

Sunscreens: formulas containing oxybenzone and octinoxate should be banned | Photo: Shutterstock

Say No to Chemical Sunscreens

World Reef Day aims to bring awareness to how coral reefs are hurt by human activity, including industrial pollution, plastic pollution, sewage, and chemical sunscreens.

World Reef Day promoters highlight change is possible through simple, everyday choices and spreading the message.

"Two easy steps we can take to protect these precious resources are by wearing non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen and reducing our use of plastics that contribute to marine plastic pollution," notes Dr. Craig Downs, Ph.D., and forensic ecotoxicologist.

In 2015, Downs released a peer-reviewed study that concluded that oxybenzone was a threat to coral reefs.

"The launch of World Reef Day is the culmination of a lifelong dream of ours to make a difference on this planet through awareness, education, and positive action," says Brian Guadagno, founder and CEO of Raw Elements USA.

"As consumers become more aware of the perils facing our oceans, we want to empower them to initiate simple changes in their daily lives, such as using reef-safe sunscreen and reducing plastic waste, which will have an enormous impact on the planet."

World Reef Day organizers will encourage consumers and businesses alike to get involved with worthy organizations making a difference in the future of our world's coral reefs, such as Haereticus Environmental Laboratory (HEL), The Friends of Hanauma Bay, and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Top Stories

The Indian Ocean takes up about one-fifth of the world's ocean area.