Recognized by the National Day Calendar Association, World Reef Day was inspired by new legislation that will go into effect in Hawaii and Key West, Florida in January 2021, as well as recent proposed bills in the state of Florida, Bonaire, Palau and Aruba, banning the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that have been shown to be damaging to coral reefs. The Day aims to bring awareness on how coral reefs are hurt by human activity, including industrial pollution, plastic pollution, sewage and chemical sunscreens.
World Reef Day promoters highlight change is possible through simple, everyday choices and spreading the message. According to Dr. Craig Downs, Ph.D. and forensic ecotoxicologist whose 2015 peer-reviewed study found oxybenzone was a threat to coral reefs, “Two easy steps we can take to protect these precious resources are by wearing non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen and reducing our use of plastics that contribute to marine plastic pollution.”
“The launch of World Reef Day is the culmination of a lifelong dream of ours to make a difference on this planet through awareness, education and positive action,” says Brian Guadagno, founder and CEO of Raw Elements USA. “As consumers become more aware of the perils facing our oceans, we want to empower them to initiate simple changes in their daily lives, such as using reef-safe sunscreen and reducing plastic waste, which will have an enormous impact on the planet.”
World Reef Day organizers will encourage consumers and businesses alike to get involved with worthy organizations that are making a difference in the future of our world’s coral reefs such as:
- Haereticus Environmental Laboratory (HEL) is a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to increasing the scientific, social and economic knowledge of natural environmental habitats in order to better conserve and restore threatened environmental habitats and resources.
- The Friends of Hanauma Bay is dedicated to the conservation of coastal and marine environments, emphasizing stewardship of the natural resources of Hanauma Bay.
- Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is a grassroots local nonprofit organization run by a small team of dedicated staff and supported by passionate volunteers. They inspire local communities to care for their coastlines through fun, hands-on beach cleanups, educational programs, team building corporate cleanups, waste diversion services, public awareness campaigns.
World Reef Day will further spread awareness through a consumer-focused sweepstakes to win a trip for four to Hawaii. One randomly chosen winner will receive 320,000 HawaiianMiles, the equivalent of a roundtrip flight from any of Hawaiian Airlines’ 13 U.S. gateway cities to Hawaii for four people, and a complimentary stay at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, an Aqua-Aston Hospitality property. The selected winners will also take part in curated reef experiences with world-leading ocean influencers Ocean Ramsey and Garrett McNamara, an ocean-to-table cooking lesson with Ed Kenney of Mahina and Sun’s, and prize packs from Vissla, SISSTREVOLUTION, Pura Vida Bracelets, Package Free Shop and Health-Ade. In addition, there will be eco-activities in Hawaii and an awareness event hosted on Oahu on June 1st to round out the initial World Reef Day launch. Full details on the sweepstakes are located here.
Hawaiian Airlines will celebrate World Reef Day on the ground and at 35,000 feet by distributing complimentary Raw Elements sunscreen samples on all flights to Hawaii from North America, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Papeete from May 25 – June 1. Guests will also be able to purchase specially-priced sunscreen products from the airline’s Pau Hana cart and learn more about World Reef Day via a new educational video available on all flights operated by the Airbus A330 aircraft.
“As Hawaii’s airline, we have a kuleana (responsibility) to minimize our impact and preserve the beauty of the islands that most of our employees call home,” said Renee Awana, managing director of product development at Hawaiian Airlines. “Raw Elements has been an instrumental partner in our in-flight sustainability initiatives, and we look forward to further engaging our guests and the larger community in important environmental discussions for World Reef Day.”
Aqua-Aston Hospitality will continue distributing Raw Elements reef-friendly sunscreen to guests at its properties throughout Hawaii with check-in amenities and poolside dispensers.