What's really going on under the sea?
It's hard for many of us to know what's really going on under the sea since many humans spend the majority of their lives on land. In fact, it's estimated that 20% of people on earth have never even seen the ocean in real life! In the USA, only 31% of Americans swim in the ocean each year and less than .7% of Americans are certified divers, which means a very small percentage of people have personally looked in the ocean to see what's really happening in the big blue. However, just going to the beach once a year doesn't even begin to show you what's really going on.
In fact, it wasn't until my 7th dive that I realized that the coral I had been seeing on these dives were not supposed to be white - they were supposed to be colorful! I was shocked! The phenomenon of having coral turn white is called Coral Bleaching. Coral Bleaching happens when water temperatures rise to a temperature that is essentially cooking/boiling the coral and killing off the algae that lives on the coral. The algae is what gives the coral it's beautiful, lush color! The water temperature only needs to rise 1 to 3 degrees for the Coral Bleaching to occur. If the temperature change is moderate and reversed within 6 months the damage can occasionally be reversible. Unfortunately, if the temperature change is constant the coral can become permanently bleached giving algae no chance of returning to it's home. This is bad news for the eco-system because fish, sea turtles and sea life of all kids depend on a healthy reef for food, shelter and survival. Below is a photo of a coral reef that is in the process of being bleached that I took on one of my dives in Bail, Indonesia in 2017. The darker green color is the color that the reef is supposed to be if it is healthy. The white tips are where is it getting bleached!
Having been diving in Indonesia and Thailand I wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef, a reef that is world renowned for it's beautiful coral reefs. I eagerly anticipated the trip for most of my life as I have been an ocean lover since I was a young girl. Here is a photo of me, really excited to dive the world famous Great Barrier Reef:
However, upon diving the reef I was greatly disappointed to see much of the coral not only bleached, but as rubble on the sea floor. Below is a picture I took of the coral as rubble in December of 2018 while diving the Great Barrier Reef off Port Douglas.
Here is another photo of the damage:
Our oceans and marine life are in serious danger and coral bleaching doesn't even begin to unfold the vast number of dangers and threats to the ocean and sea turtle conservation. The ocean can no longer be "out of sight out of mind" as many people like to think. The ocean is a regenerator for the land and a healthier ocean means healthier humans and cooler ocean temperatures mean less natural disasters like hurricane and cyclones. Did you know as well that the algae in the ocean is effective at filtering toxins in the air? So the algae in the ocean can purify the air we breathe. Certain algae's have also been found to be aiding resources in health care treatments and they are in the process of incorporating and testing uses for reducing cancer. Yet another reason why it's so important to not let these algae's die or go extinct!
Pollution is another huge threat to sea life and all humans that eat sea food! If you haven't heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch I highly recommend looking into it ASAP so you can better understand the plastic crisis we are in.
Because of the dangers and threats of plastic bags in our oceans we intentionally do not use plastic bags to ship our products from Bali to San Diego nor from San Diego to you. We ship all customer orders using cardboard boxes and biodegradable paper tape. We also use thermal shipping labels which eliminates the need for ink cartridge waste or ink cartridge plastic packaging. Here is a photo of what our packaging looks like as of October 2022:
The fact is we need and depend on a healthy ocean and reefs as much as we need our trees and our forests.
We are working hand and hand with organizations that are actively helping to protect our oceans. 👇
Sungai Watch is an environmental organization on a mission to stop plastic from going into the ocean. Founded in Bali, Indonesia, Sungai Watch is a team of 100+ passionate river warriors, working every day to create solutions to stop the flow of plastic pollution from going into the ocean. By designing simple trash barriers and operating a collection, sorting and up-cycling system, they have created a scalable approach to tackling plastic pollution.
They are on a mission to install 1,000 barriers throughout Indonesia’s most polluted rivers. Here at PIYOGA, we are grateful to have donated to their cause. While traveling through Bali in 2023 I found Sungai river barriers all around Bali, blocking plastic pollution from going downstream into the ocean and thus preventing sea turtles from accidentally eating the plastic that would have otherwise flowed into the ocean. To learn more, visit: https://sungai.watch/pages/about-us
For more than 30 years, The Turtle Island Restoration Network has worked to protect sea turtle nesting beaches, stopped deadly fishing practices, and halted immediate threats to sea turtles and other marine species through hands-on conservation and effective advocacy. Here at PIYOGA, we are proud to have donated to their organization to help sustain a better, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for the sea turtles. To learn more, visit: https://seaturtles.org/give/
The Turtle Hospital opened its doors in 1986 with four main goals: 1) Rehab injured sea turtles and release them back to their natural habitat. 2) Educate the public by visiting local schools and attending outreach programs. 3) Conducting and assisting with research aiding sea turtles (in collaboration with state universities). 4) Working toward environmental legislation making the beaches and water safe for sea turtles.
The Turtle Hospital contains up-to-date equipment needed to perform a variety of surgeries on different species of sea turtles. More than half of our equipment has been donated by local hospitals, doctors, and environmentally-friendly organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit: https://www.turtlehospital.org/
The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world based in Gainesville, Florida. STC was founded in 1959 by Mr. Joshua B. Powers in response to renowned ecologist Dr. Archie Carr’s award-winning book, The Windward Road, which first alerted the world to the plight of sea turtles.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy's research and conservation initiatives have been instrumental in saving the Caribbean green turtle from immediate extinction, as well as raising awareness and protection for sea turtles across the globe with over 60 years of experience in national and international sea turtle conservation, research and educational endeavors. The organization began its work in Costa Rica, but has expanded its research and conservation efforts throughout Central America and the Wider Caribbean.
We chose to partner with the Gili Eco Trust, a local non-profit organization committed to coral reef restoration, waste management, sustainable tourism, environmental education and animal welfare on Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia.
The Gili Eco Trust focuses on conservation, preservation, education, and restoration of the Gili Matra Marine Protected Area. I’ve seen hands on the eco projects they’re worked on and was excited to start working with them on our own conservation project.
The Gili Eco Trust is well know around the area and if you have ever been to the Gilis, you may have noticed that you are required to an ocean entrance fee to snorkel or dive in the ocean. That money goes directly to the Gili Eco Trust to help support conservation efforts in the area to maintain and encourage a sustainable experience for locals, tourists and marine life.
The PI team worked with the Gili Eco Trust on rebuilding the coral reef. We fully sponsored the build and drop of a massive 10-foot bio rock in Gili Trawangan.
Since installing our bio-rock in Gili Trawangan, the bio-rock has been home to hundreds of fish. A turtle was even spotted hanging out in the cavern that was created by the arches!
A bio-rock is a great way to preserve a coral reef, but nothing compares when it comes to protecting the reefs that we currently have. Each of us can help make a difference every time we enter the ocean. See our blog Why the Sun Block You are Wearing is Destroying the Ocean for tips on how you can do your part to protect the reefs!
We helped construct some of the tree structures that would be installed in the nursery and also donated to their fundraising event.
In September 2020, PIYOGA donated to the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF provides education on sea turtles and the daily threats that they face on a day to day basis. They also offer sea turtle adoption kits for animal lovers that come with a cute gift basket and more information about sea turtles. This organization provides tips for living a more conscious life with the sea turtles in mind. Here are some shocking facts we learned from them:
“Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture—known as bycatch—in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites; it alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. Nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.” -WWF
🐠 Watch Chasing Coral to understand what is happening underwater and how fast the coral is disappearing.
Coral Reefs are the most important and diverse ecosystems on the planet, supporting 25% of marine life in our ocean. At the moment, 75% of the coral reefs in the world are in great danger.