Ocean warming and acidification are set to destroy over 90% of reefs by 2050, a death sentence for the quarter of marine life who need them to survive. It will be a disaster, too, for the billion human lives dependent on the benefits reefs provide.
A year after Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern launched Coral Vita’s first facility in Grand Bahama, Hurricane Dorian destroyed their coral farm. The experience brought home the extent of the climate emergency and strengthened their resolve to protect our reefs.
Coral Vita, which grows coral on land to replant in oceans, gives new life to dying ecosystems. Its methods grow coral up to 50 times faster than traditional methods and improves resilience to the impact of climate change.
As well as restoring reefs, Teicher and Halpern work with local communities, public officials, and private companies to improve education, create new job prospects, and build a model to inject more funding into environmental protection. Coral Vita gives new life not just to the ocean but to coastal economies as well.
With Coral Vita’s methods, a single farm could potentially supply coral for an entire nation, and they ultimately envision a network of such farms in every nation with reefs, kickstarting a restoration economy to preserve the ecosystems that sustain us all. Winning the prize will help them make that vision a reality.
We choose to repair and preserve our oceans for future generations. Meet the Finalists whose innovative solutions will help us ensure the ocean can continue to sustain and enrich all life on Earth.
The ocean covers 70% of the Earth. It provides food for billions and over half the oxygen we breathe. Devastating human impact, however, is pushing the ocean towards a tipping point beyond which we may never recover. Pristine Seas, a global ocean conservation program, is leading the charge to avert catastrophe.
The project was founded by Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence. A former university professor, Sala grew up by the Mediterranean Sea, where he saw the destruction wrought on the marine world first-hand.
In 2008, Sala founded Pristine Seas, bringing together an expert team of scientists, filmmakers and policy experts, with the aim to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030. It has already produced over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 30 documentary films to inspire others to action.
So far, Pristine Seas has helped establish 24 marine reserves worldwide, across an area over twice the size of India. Pristine Seas aims to lead a global movement to protect 30% of our ocean by 2030. Winning The Earthshot Prize would scale this conservation mission, boost visibility of ocean issues, help educate a new generation of leaders, and transform economies. If Pristine Seas succeeds, our oceans, and the life they sustain, can be saved.View Website
With sea levels on the rise, concrete defences against the tide now ring half the shorelines of coastal cities. But these artificially built defences can be devastating for marine life. Living Seawalls, a project founded in Sydney Harbour, is changing this.
Sydney, as a coastal city, is especially exposed to rising sea levels. Consequently, sea defences are an important part of climate change adaptation. But these flat, concrete structures are devoid of shelter for many marine organisms.
Founded in 2018, Living Seawalls, a flagship program of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, has a solution. Its habitat panels, fitted to sea defences, mimic natural formations like rock pools and mangrove roots.
Living Seawalls have 36% more marine species than flat seawalls after only two years. Eighty-five species now thrive among the panels. The project isn’t limited to Sydney. Three other Australian cities and coastal shorelines in Wales, Gibraltar and Singapore have followed suit.
The Earthshot Prize fund would support new research, educational programs and sites across the globe. This would be living, breathing proof marine life and coastal cities can thrive together.View Website