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If you’ve been living under a rock, you may not know what all the animals living under the ocean know all too well – humans are destroying our earth’s coral reefs. Coral reefs are not only beautiful, they are also unique ecosystems, which are essential to the survival of over 4,000 different species of fish  – and play a role in the lives of 25 percent of marine life on the planet. However, most reefs have lost 40-50 percent of their coral dues to rising temperatures and ocean acidification.

While scientist have been desperately trying to warn the general population about the dangers of global warming, for well over a decade, two sisters in L.A. took a more creative approach to the problem.  In 2005, twins Margaret and Christine Wertheim started Crochet Coral Reef project in California. The sisters combined their great love of the Great Barrier Reef and their passion for crocheting to create striking images that would start conversations about saving the planet’s coral reefs. The sisters have partnered with The Institute for Figuring, a group dedicated to the poetic aesthetic of science, and their artwork has been traveling the globe for over a decade. The exhibit currently resides in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

This exhibit is not only for your viewing pleasure, patrons are invited to contribute their own handiwork to the growing “reef.”

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Artists use hyperbolic geometry that occurs naturally in coral reefs to make their crochet-masterpieces.

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More than 8,000 people have participated in their crafting workshops so far.

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The sisters plan to continue making art and raising awareness about the perilous plight of our planet’s reefs.

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Their message is spreading fastUC Santa Cruz is working to adopt the sisters’ crafty approach to addressing climate change and the coral reefs.

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Their crochet coral program currently involves over 250 students, and many other concerned members of the community.

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The Wertheim sisters are thrilled by the support and enthusiasm shown by the UCSC students and staff.  Margret told Scientific America, “Those of us who care about science, who care about communication should branch out in new ways to reach audiences that aren’t already in the loop.” The sisters plan on moving the exhibit to UCSC in the spring and to partner with the school to fight to save our planet’s coral reefs.

These reefs are at risk because of the rapid rise in ocean temperatures due to climate change from the massive amount of greenhouse emissions human industry generates. You can help to combat climate change and save our coral reefs by spreading the Wertheim sisters’ message with your friends and family. You can also work to stop climate change by making on simple change – leaving meat off of your plate. 14.5 percent of the global carbon emission come from the animal agriculture industry. Did you know that by leaving meat off your plate, you can cut your carbon footprint in half? Pretty powerful. For more information on how you can use your food choices to beneift the oceans, join One Green Planet’s Eat For The Planet movement.

All image source: The Institute of Figuring/Facebook

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