INAUGURAL WORLD REEF DAY 2019
On June 1, Raw Elements, Hawaiian Airlines, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, along with organizations, elected officials and individuals joined forces to celebrate the inaugural World Reef Day and spread awareness about the health of our coral reefs.
The festivities included a special blessing by Tom Pōhaku Stone, a Native Hawaiian surfer and surfboard carver, a ceremonious paddle out to the Hōkūle‘a, the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s legendary sailing canoe and remarks by Brian Guadagno (founder and CEO of Raw Elements USA), Peter Ingram (president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines), Theresa Van Greunen (senior director of communications for Aqua-Aston Hospitality), Lisa Bishop (president of Friends of Hanauma Bay), Archie Kalepa (leading crewmember with the Polynesian Voyaging Society), Scott Glenn (director of the state of Hawaiʻi's environmental quality control), state Rep. Gene Ward, state Senator Mike Gabbard and U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's office.
“Our goal for today was to stimulate a global conversation about reef conservation and the simple things we can do in our own lives to make huge changes” – Theresa Van Greunen.
“One of the important things we can do is to create more awareness. There are a lot of people who come to Hawai‘i and aren’t aware of the need to protect the reefs and keep the oceans alive. If we can create awareness among a few more people today and they create awareness among a few more people tomorrow, I think we’ll go a long way in protecting our reefs and making sure we continue to do what we can for our oceans.” – Peter Ingram
“We want to show the rest of the world how we can move forward. If we as islands can figure out solutions at the island level, then we’ve found ways to scale it up to the planet level.” – Scott Glenn
“It’s incredible to see something that started as an idea turning into a global movement. We celebrated the inaugural year in Hawai’i to honor the work the state has done to preserve its reefs. We know that today’s efforts will inspire others, and that’s what it’s all about. Our goal is to build the day each year and create a legacy for future generations.” – Brian Guadagno
In addition to the efforts on the ground in Hawai'i, the #WorldReefDay social media campaign reached over 5.5 million people who pledged to use reef-friendly sunscreen and reduce the use of single-use plastics that contribute to marine pollution.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
In recent years, there has been a major decline of our reefs (40% in Hawaii & the Great Barrier Reef, 85% in the Caribbean and 99% in the Florida Keys).
“The reef destruction that has happened up until now has truly been done localized and regional anthropogenic factors.” – Dr. Craig Downs, Executive Director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory. “Industrial pollution, plastic pollution, sewage, chemical sunscreens and unmanaged high-density tourism all threaten coral reefs.”
This has been caused by humans, and we can fix it.
Three simple things we can do to protect these precious resources are:
1. Use reef-safe sunscreen
2. Reduce single-use plastics
3. Spread the message