Friday, 6 November 2009

Pretty Coral...Is It Worth It?

Coral reefs are home to an abundance of sea life, providing food, shelter, hiding places and areas for reproduction.  When most people think of coral, they think of the little branches in our aquariums, little white sticks, or beautiful red coral beads.  But coral is a living, breathing organism and we are systematically killing it. 

In poorer areas of the world, fish are captured from the reefs both for upscale restaurants in Asia and aquariums in North America.  Some fishermen use dynamite and collect the stunned fish from the surface.  Of course, the reef is not just stunned by the blast, it is destroyed.  Some fishermen pour cyanide in the water and collect the stunned fish that float to the surface.  The fish recover but the reef cannot.  Reefs are bulldozed off the coast of Africa to crush for roads.  And probably the biggest killers of all, pollution and global warming are changing the acidic level of the ocean and killing the reefs.  It's hard to believe, isn't it, that we puny humans can destroy something as big and powerful as an ocean?

I can do my infinitesimal part to save the world by practising the three "rs" and trying to buy local when possible, to support small farms instead of factory farms and to be one less person buying goods that were shipped across the country or continent.  I'm probably not as consistent as I'd like to be because cost is always a factor.  But when it comes to coral, I am now adamant.  As much as I'd like the beautiful red beads, real coral will never be a part of any of my jewelry. 
There are many organizations devoted to saving the reefs and one of the most recognizable jewelers, Tiffanys, has lent their name to a new one called "Too Precious to Wear."  Tiffanys will no longer sell coral jewelry.  A plethora of information and organizations is available if you google "reef destruction" if you would like to learn more about how these beautiful reefs are vital to the health of our oceans and our world.

1 comment:

  1. I love the colour of coral but won't use it, either, unless I happen to come across some antique coral beads. Mixed with pearls, silver and turquoise, it makes quintessential summer jewellery. Great post :)