Summarised from an item by Michael Menduno, entitled 'Reefer Madness', in Wired magazine (September 1998), monitored for the Institute by Roger Knights. Additional up-to-date information from the Reefball website: http://www.reefball.org/ .
The destruction of coral reefs around the world is occuring at such a rate that there are estimated to be almost 30,000 square miles of dead reefs around the world, and the number is rising all the time. A new foundation hopes to stop the decline with patented 'Reef Balls' made of ecofriendly concrete which are designed to mimic natural reef systems. They can be towed behind any size of boat, and then be sunk to create habitats for fish and other marine species. The Reef Ball Foundation also works with schools and communities on educational projects, as well as with governments and eco-charities around the world. Its aim is to help restore the ecosystems of the oceans, which primarily involves repairing and preserving natural reef systems.
For more information, contact the Reef Ball Foundation, 603 River Overlook Road, Woodstock, GA 30188, USA (tel: (USA) 770-752-0202; fax: 770-360-1328; web: http://www.reefball.org/; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
A company called Eternal Reefs is now offering individuals the chance to make a permanent difference in helping the environment - after they have died. It is now possible to contribute cremated remains to a personalised 'Memorial Reef', as part of ongoing development projects to restore deteriorating coral systems (see above). The person's ashes are mixed into a specially designed artificial reef unit which then goes on to form part of the reef restoration project. Eternal Reefs' founder Don Brawley says that, "It is the only permanent, environmentally positive option available today for memorializing an individual's passing....A Memorial Reef becomes an idyllic, eco-friendly resting place, a physical legacy where the remains of one's existence are also part catalyst for a new cycle of life." While he may be pressing the point somewhat, the fact remains that such a memorial would have a much more positive contribution on the environment than simply sprinkling them in the sea.