Celebrate World Oceans Day by protecting our world's coral reefs

What is the world's largest source of protein, the source of 80 percent of the air we breathe, and covers 70 percent of the planet? The ocean.

World Oceans Day is June 8, a celebration and reminder of the ocean and the need to protect it and the life it carries. Almost 40 percent of the world's oceans have been impacted by pollution and over 100,000 marine creatures have lost their lives through plastic entanglement.

Even though we live on land, we need the ocean to live, and its up to us to help protect the animals who live in it as well.

The Atlantis Blue Project Foundation is working alongside the Disney Conservation Fund to develop innovative strategies to help protect marine life and protect and restore coral reefs in the Bahamas.

The foundations's efforts include a coral reef nursery, which is growing coral fragments to repopulate reefs where coral has been destroyed through disease, hurricanes, or bleaching.

The Atlantis Blue Project Foundation is also working to educate snorkelers and divers about the challenges that coral reefs face by assisting with the funding of a coral reef sculpture garden that brings together art, education, and coral reef conservation. The center piece sculpture, "Ocean Atlas," is the largest underwater sculpture in the world.

Presently, 10 percent of the Bahamas are part of Marine Protected Areas. The Atlantis Blue Project is assisting to preserve 20 percent of Bahamian waters by 2020.

"It's critical for us right now to protect what we have for future generations because with many ecosystems like coral reefs, we're on the brink of losing so much in terms of the diversity of life underwater and that's irreplaceable," Craig Dahlgren, director of the Perry Institute for Marine Science, said. "So now is the time that we need to act to protect things."

In honor of its 20th anniversary, the Disney Conservation Fund's "Reverse the Decline" campaign is working to help threatened species around the world through scientific research and community engagement. In addition to its work in the Caribbean to protect the shrinking Bahamian reefs, the DCF is also aiming to reverse the decline of sea life including sea turtles, sharks and rays.

To learn more about the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, visit their website.

For more on how you can help protect our oceans, visit the World Oceans Day website.
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