Bio Rock: Saving the reefs


Published in Insight Magazine, Bali

The Indonesian archipelago is home to the richest assortment of coral species in the world, but its reefs are vanishing as global warming, pollution and unsustainable fishing and tourism practices take their toll.

Indonesia’s appalling conservation record is well documented and it would be easy to write yet another article about imminent disaster; but I am sick of all the doom and gloom, because with destruction comes regeneration.  While politicians  and environmental agencies gather in endless global summits and engage in pointless debates about how to fix things,  often the most effective change is happening at a grassroots level, and I knew that somewhere in Bali someone would be doing something to save the reefs.

I find my story in the north of the island, in a humble village that sits in the shadows of the mountains. Just meters off  Pemuteran’s  black sandy shore lies the  Karang Lestari (Everlasting Reef) Project, one of the largest and most ambitious coral restoration projects in the world. A reef that had badly damaged is once again thriving due to a unique technology called Bio-Rock, which uses electric currents to stimulate the growth of coral.

All coral photographs courtesy of Rani E. Morrow-Wuigk

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About me

When I was 21 I left Australia strapped into a giant purple backpack…… I wanted to go everywhere and see everything and my quest took me around the world, from the steamy jungles of Mexico to the pyramids of Guatemala, and the hidden surf beaches of El Salvador. Travels through North America led me from Venice Beach to the Redwood forests of northern California and on to the icy mountain peaks  of Canada. Back in the states I stumbled onto the Grateful Dead culture and  went on tour,  then flew to South America and travelled by land from the hazed streets of Santa Marta Colombia, across the mountains through Ecuador and Peru. I saw the sunrise over Machu Pichu and watched pink flamingos dance in a bright red lake in midst of the vast salt planes of Bolivia. There was a gut-churning flight over the Nazca lines, and an awe-struck moment watching the sun set and the full moon simultaneously rise over the Valle la luna in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

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