Coral bouquet: Alt gift for Valentines Day

Coral Gardener in action (Tourism Fiji)
Coral Gardener in action (Tourism Fiji)

Every February as Valentines Day encourages people around the world to splash out and share the love, the event has an unfortunate impact on the environment, according to Coral Gardeners. 

By way of example, coral-restoration NGO says that during the month some 570 tonnes of roses are imported to the UK, equating to a claimed carbon dioxide emission of 30kg per bunch of flowers. 

So with its base now the South Pacific archipelago and honeymoon destination of Fiji, Coral Gardeners is offering environmentally conscious lovers including scuba divers an alternative to gifting flowers – in the form of a Coral Bouquet.

The organisation undertakes to collect and nurture fledgling corals and send a downloadable card including a picture of the plant or plants with a personal message from the sender, to reach the loved one on 14 February.

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Baby cauliflower coral on the card (Coral Gardeners)

You can choose from five resilient coral species, and mix and match plants if you want to adopt more than one. Coral Gardeners collects each fragment in the lagoon and grows it in its nursery. After little more than a year it will have matured and be ready for outplanting on the reef.

Recipients are encouraged to share images of their coral bouquets on social media to spread awareness, and can expect to receive regular updates about how their baby coral is getting on. 

Coral Gardeners is charging US $25 (about £21) per coral plant, and says that 100% of the proceeds of each Valentine’s Day Coral Bouquet will go to support its work. 

Fiji is home to the Great Sea Reef, the world’s third-largest barrier reef, and Coral Gardeners describes its corals as fragile and threatened by the warming ocean. The organisation was formed by young freedivers, surfers and fishers in 2017, and since then says it has planted more than 100,000 corals in French Polynesia and aims to have planted a million globally by 2025.

Flourishing corals (Coral Gardeners)
Flourishing corals in Fiji (Coral Gardeners)

Its international hub is now at the Six Senses Fiji resort on Malolo island and it has formed a partnership with Tourism Fiji in carrying out its restoration and awareness-raising campaigns. 

It also recently tied up with with Warner Brothers on the Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom movie, with its star Jason Momoa becoming its Chief Ambassador and helping to highlight coral bleaching and reef damage caused by climate change. Coral Bouquets can be bought through the Coral Gardeners website

Also on Divernet: 10 ways tech is rescuing coral, Coral crash: can our reefs be saved?, Coral farmers reshaping the future, The Big Build: Reef-star dives in overdrive

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