As snorkelers, the damage we see happening to our beautiful oceans and coral reefs is heart wrenching. Huge portions of the world's reefs are dead or dying. The impact from global warming and over-fishing is undeniable to anyone who has had their face in the water for the last decade and beyond.
So, although it is not enough, we contribute monthly to five charity organizations that are working to help protect our oceans.
How did we pick who to give money to? There are so many possible charities that are focused on environmental protection and the oceans and reefs in particular.
First, we suggest you decide on what problems you want to focus on. Maybe you are interested in helping stop the slaughter of sharks, whales and dolphins, or cleaning up the great ocean trash heaps? Or maybe focusing on educating youth on the value of our oceans is more interesting to you?
For us, there is one danger to our oceans that is dwarfing all others, global warming. The pace of the damage from rising ocean temperatures is extremely scary and impacts the entire world. So two of the charities we support are not specifically ocean focused, but are working on this larger global issue.
These are the five non-profits that we give money to on a monthly basis.
Coral Reef Alliance
The coral reef alliance works on the local scale, to improve reef management, establish marine reserves, create sustainable fisheries and tourism, and they also promote educational programs in the communities closest to the reefs.
The Ocean Conservancy is a larger organization than the Coral Reef Alliance, and works on some similar things. They are focused on fighting ocean trash, sustainable fisheries, ocean acidification, and establishing marine protected areas.
The Misool Foundation protects a large area of ocean habitat, in Raja Ampat Indonesia, that has the highest marine biodiversity in the world. They do this in a very holistic way with the local communities, creating employment, helping with education and recycling programs, and most importantly by actively patrolling the protected area to ensure that no fishing, or shark fining is taking place. We have seen the results in person, and it is astounding. The volumes of fish are simply incredible, the corals are healthy, and there are once again many sharks in the area. The easiest way to donate monthly is through the WildAid website, and make sure to select "Misool, Indonesia" in the Program selector field.
You probably have heard of the Sierra Club. It has been around a long time, and is very focused on global warming and moving our world off fossil fuels and into more sustainable options.
350 stands for 350 parts per million, which is considered by scientists the minimum level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that is sustainable and safe to prevent further global warming. We are currently at 400 parts per million and rapidly rising. 350.org is a world-wide grass roots organization with the goals of keeping carbon in the ground, building sustainable alternatives, and pressuring governments to limiting emissions.
There are a ton of charity options which can be very confusing. Fortunately there are also a number of really useful research websites to find not only the charity type you are interested in, but you can also look at the financials of the charity, to make sure your money is going where you want, not just paying administration.
Here are a couple useful research websites:
Here are some more resources with lists of reputable charities that are ocean focused: