From Sam Teicher, Earthshot winner and CoFounder of Coral Vita
The best thing to do for ecosystems is to stop killing them.
I’m a coral farmer, and my job shouldn’t exist. Growing coral to revitalize dying reefs is not an existence anyone should dream for. This single ecosystem, which covers less than 0.1% of the seafloor, sustains 25% of marine life. Half of the world’s coral reefs are dead and over 90% are on track to die by mid-century. This is not just an ecological tragedy but a socio-economic catastrophe, as coral reefs alone generate $2.7 trillion annually while supporting the livelihoods of up to one billion people. And that’s just from one ecosystem - 55% of global GDP depends on healthy ecosystems on land, along coastlines, and underwater.
Drawing from my lifelong love for nature and realization of how much humanity’s security and prosperity along with biodiversity depends on a healthy planet, I co-founded Coral Vita to scale reef restoration globally.
A report by The Future of Nature and Business outlined a blueprint to emerge from the pandemic with a ‘nature-positive’ economy that generates up to $10.1 trillion annually and creates 395 million jobs by 2030, while the World Resources Institute found that $5 in environmental, health, and economic benefits are generated for every $1 invested in key ocean actions. If we are going to build an economy that works in service of people and the planet, we need to invest in sustainable infrastructure and long-term policies to address existential threats, systemic injustice, and structural inequality. Clearly, we should be investing in our joint well-being, especially when it will yield such incredible dividends for society and the planet that sustains us all.
Building a Restoration Economy can revitalize threatened ecosystems and the benefits they provide while creating localized jobs and mitigating mounting threats from the climate crisis.” Sam Teicher is the Co-Founder and Chief Reef Officer of Coral Vita, a social enterprise that grows resilient corals in months instead of decades to restore dying reefs. Sam previously worked on climate resiliency initiatives at the White House and for the Global Island Partnership. He is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur, co-authored Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, launched Coral Vita out of his master’s program at Yale, and has been in love with the ocean since becoming a scuba diver as a child.