TEAHUPO'O, Tahiti (Friday, August 16, 2019) - Today, the World Surf League (WSL) revealed its collaboration with ‘Glowing Glowing Gone', a global campaign advocating for greater funding and action for coral reef conservation by highlighting the global danger signaled by fluorescing corals. With the WSL's commitment to leave every place better than we found it, this campaign is focused on raising awareness around the crisis facing coral reefs, while taking action in French Polynesia to support local projects to restore these habitats.
The collaboration features a complete takeover of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o presented by Hurley event branding to incorporate the exact colors of fluorescing corals. The customized range of "Glowing" coral colors were specifically created by the campaign partners Adobe and Pantone from imagery taken by The Ocean Agency in New Caledonia. The three colors, Glowing Yellow, Glowing Blue, and Glowing Purple, will be incorporated into all event branding, including the competition jerseys, which will deviate from standardized colors for the first time ever. The Glowing campaign is a joint initiative between The Ocean Agency and UN Environment and includes some of the world's largest conservation organizations. The campaign is supported by Tahiti Pro partners Hurley, Jeep, Corona, and Red Bull.
In 2016, a team from The Ocean Agency photographed one of the most spectacular and rarest sights in nature while filming the Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral. A coral reef situated in New Caledonia was "glowing" in incredibly rare vivid colors due to an underwater heatwave. The corals were producing brightly colored chemicals that act as sunscreen in a desperate bid to survive the fatally high water temperatures. This glowing coral phenomenon, called fluorescing, is one of the most visual indicators of the climate crisis and the existential threat to entire ecosystems such as coral reefs. However, until now, it has gone largely unnoticed.
The WSL and WSL PURE are committed to action to address the climate crisis, and its effects on coastal habitat like the coral reefs of French Polynesia. These reefs are under pressure from many human-related causes, most notably ocean warming and acidification related to climate change. In addition to offsetting the carbon footprint of the entire event in Tahiti, including air travel, the WSL is supporting Coral Gardeners, a youth-led non-profit organization that is actively restoring coral reefs in the area.
"We're excited to both raise awareness for the plight of coral reefs around the world as well as support real impact in French Polynesia," said Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO of the WSL. "The Glowing Glowing Gone campaign draws attention to the cause and global solutions, while the Coral Gardeners are making a positive difference in the restoration of the nearby reefs, and the WSL is proud to partner with both organizations."
"The future of the world's coral reefs hangs in the balance, threatening both marine life and hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for food, livelihoods and coastal protection," says Gabriel Grimsditch, UN Environment coral reef expert. "By supporting the Glowing campaign, the World Surf League is leading the way in helping to sharpen global attention to the crisis facing corals."
"We are thrilled about the World Surf League's commitment to making their events carbon neutral and free of single-use plastics, and their support of the Glowing campaign," said Richard Vevers, Founder and CEO of the Ocean Agency. "The WSL has the reach and influence to raise awareness and funds for coral reef restoration, making a tangible positive impact through their events, athletes, and content. The WSL's support of the Glowing campaign will certainly help us achieve the mission to be the first generation to save an entire ecosystem."
To learn about how you can take action to support Glowing Glowing Gone and ocean health initiatives, please visit WSLPURE.org.
The Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o presented by Hurley, Stop No. 7 of 11 on the WSL Men's Championship Tour, opens Wednesday, August 21 and runs through Sunday, September 1, 2019. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and on the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.
For more information, please visit WSLPURE.org.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Coral reefs all around the world are extremely vulnerable to ocean warming, climatic changes and ocean acidification, and they need to be protected from additional anthropogenic stressors such as pollution, overfishing and uncontrolled coastal development to give them the best chance of survival. With 93% of climate-change heat absorbed by the upper ocean, coral reefs are firmly on the frontline of the climate crisis. In the last 30 years, we've lost over half of the world's live coral, and the outlook is only getting worse. Corals are a foundation species, so when they die, the whole ecosystem can collapse - an ecosystem that supports 1 billion people, 1 million species and a quarter of all ocean life and has an estimated value of $375 billion per year.
According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists predict we can now only save 10-30% of remaining coral reefs (those least vulnerable to the climate crisis) due to heat already in the system. To save coral reefs, there needs to be urgent targeted action and investment protecting them from other issues such as pollution and overfishing - especially the reefs that are least vulnerable to the climate crisis that have the best chance of surviving.
There is increasing awareness that when corals are subjected to prolonged heatwaves caused by the climate crisis, they often turn white and die (a process known as bleaching). Coral fluorescing, when corals ‘Glow' in vivid colors during the bleaching process, is far less well known and understood and is far less common.
Ocean warming is now the biggest environmental issue facing coral reefs. The ocean is as complex and fragile as the human body, and just a small increase in temperature leads to vital systems shutting down. Glowing corals are the indicator of system shutdown - it's the ocean's ultimate warning.
About WSL PURE
PURE stands for Protecting, Understanding, and Respecting the Environment, and is the non-profit arm of the WSL. Founded in 2016, WSL PURE is on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower ocean protection, starting with the global surf community. WSL PURE is specifically focused on the climate crisis, plastic pollution, and coastal ruin. PURE leverages the WSL's incredible platform to shine a light on the people making a difference -- environmentalists, athletes, advocacy organizations, communities, individuals -- and collaborates with world-class, non-profit partners. For more information, please visit WSLPURE.org.
About The Ocean Agency
The Ocean Agency is an unconventional nonprofit that uses the combination of creativity, technology and powerful partnerships to accelerate ocean science and conservation action. The Ocean Agency's work has included taking Google Street View underwater, developing the most comprehensive visual survey of coral reefs ever conducted (XL Catlin Seaview Survey), revealing the coral reef crisis in the Emmy Award-winning Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral, and developing a global plan for targeting coral reef conservation action called 50 Reefs. www.theoceanagency.org
About UN Environment
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. Visit unenvironment.org and twitter @unenvironment