WeSea for Nature
The oceans and seas cover more than two-thirds of the Earth and are home to spectacular ecosystems and a wide variety of amazing creatures. The value of the marine world goes well beyond its beauty - it is a source of livelihood for many, regulates climate, produces half the oxygen we breathe, and even drives the water cycle to produce rainwater and drinking water.
However, years of pollution and neglect, along with demographic and industrial development, have led to severe damage to this world. Global warming, ocean acidification, overfishing, plastic pollution… the list never ends… the consequences devastating.
One of the most prominent examples of the human impact on the marine environment is the decline of coral reefs around the world, which may end in the death and disappearance of many coral reefs in the coming decades. This decline is mainly a result of global warming expressed by the increase of seawater temperatures.
Although coral reefs cover less than one percent of the surface of the oceans and seas, they support more than a quarter of marine species.
Looking at the coral reefs of the Gulf of Eilat, we can see that they, unlike their cousins from all over the world, show resistance to rising water temperatures. This remarkable resistance can be explained by the evolutionary origins of Eilat corals. In order to preserve the amazing underwater environment, we must prevent land-based pollution from damaging the sea.
WeSea is an international non-profit organization, which started its activity in Eilat last year. Its goal is to raise awareness about the unique coral reefs of the Red Sea and the threats they are facing. The organization was founded by marine biologists and sea enthusiasts who met on the beaches of the Red Sea for research. However, along with the founders’ enjoyment of working in the marine environment, snorkeling, diving, and camping on the shores next to so unique a reef ecosystem, they were surprised to discover the amount of waste present, the neglect, the damage already done, and the lack of public awareness surrounding such a rare and fragile natural resource. Realizing that something had to be done, the founders of the organization decided to take action and to create WeSea, a young and dynamic organization with an emphasis on education, research, and active conservation. WeSea focuses on making the scientific research and the discoveries related to the marine environment in general, and specifically to the Gulf of Eilat, accessible to the public at large.
The organization performs a variety of environmental activities, such as community services, public education, and beach-cleanups – both above and under the water – along the shores of Eilat and its neighbors – all with an understanding of the importance of regional collaboration to preserve the entire gulf.
One of the main projects of WeSea for the coming year is the campaign #MoveYourButt, which aims to eliminate cigarette butts from the marine environment. Each year, about 6 trillion cigarette butts are produced, and the vast majority find their way into the environment. The cigarette butts are made of a semi-synthetic component called cellulose acetate which has a long degradation period. After smoking, a toxic cocktail of different dangerous chemicals accumulates in the filter and slowly leaks into the environment. Cigarette butts constitute a serious environmental hazard. One single cigarette butt contaminates about one cubic meter of seawater, causing the death of small marine creatures!
More about the organization’s activities can be found on their website wesea.org and their social media.