As strange as it may sound to some, I love sharks and I wish I could spend days on end under the water observing them. Their peace and quiet, together with an indescribable strength and focus on what matters to them, echoes in me and gives me peace. A few years ago, I spent 6 months studying how we, as humans, interact with them and published a thesis on shark attack conservation measures. That was in another life, before becoming Chief of Staff at Scality. However, my love for the ocean and marine resources remains and continues to guide me along the way. So when I heard that Jerome, our CEO, was heading to Polynesia on a personal trip, I suggested he pays a visit to the Coral Gardeners, a network of young surfers and fishermen on the Tahitian island of Moorea with one objective: To save the Polynesian coral beds. I didn’t know them personally, only through social networks, but I knew deep down it would be a once in a lifetime encounter for him and his family.
The ocean is my everything. It's the place where I can rest, feel and learn -Titouan Bernicot, founder of the @Coral_Gardeners Click To Tweet
And it didn’t disappoint! You see, while covering less than 1% of our oceans, coral reefs host 1/4 of known marine life. They are truly a breathtaking sight! On top of that, they produce up to 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe. They are the greatest natural barrier against storms and coastal erosion that exist and the medicinal properties of coral is an untapped resource. So when you get to a location like Polynesia that is surrounded by a reef, it seems only logical that you would want to know all about it and what it takes to protect it. At least to me it does and luckily enough, the feeling was shared by Jerome and his family.
The reason you want to know more and find out what it takes to protect is because there is a dark side to the story. Based on current trends, increased global temperatures, urbanisation, pollution, overfishing and many other factors, it is thought that all coral reefs may be dead by the year 2050. Beyond the thousands of species which would be directly impacted by this loss, the death of coral reefs would have a direct impact on over 500 million people who are thought to be directly affected by corals worldwide.
“I was breathtaken by Titouan’s energy and the work he provides with his team to raise awareness on marine conservation and to protect the reef.”
– Jerome Lecat, founder of Scality
That’s how Coral Gardeners and Titouan, its founder, come into play. Members of the Coral Gardeners group are actively preventing the loss of corals by transplanting coral cuttings onto degraded areas of the reef. When these coral fragments grow, they help to recreate reef habitats. This allows other life to return and strengthens the reef against future damage, giving it protection and strength to provide the services that are so important for our planet.
Jerome came back starry-eyed from his experience. So much so that he decided to support the Coral Gardener project financially and present it in front of the entire company during our annual kick-off earlier this year. The project resonated amongst the teams, a few of whom also presented other personal projects they worked on or supported during the year. You see, Scality works hard on being socially responsible and gives its employees the possibility to support projects in their community by matching any donation they choose to make. Last year, Scality supported socially responsible projects for a total amount of $10,000 and aims at doubling this in 2020. For a while during his holiday, the coral reef of Moorea was Jerome’s backyard and so supporting the project is his way of supporting the local community. Jerome’s donation was matched by Scality up to $500, a benefit all Scality employees have access to.
Now I have a CEO who understands my passion for marine resources and sharks especially. Although a field trip to Coral Gardeners is unfortunately not in the cards for me – not giving up on that one! – it does make me proud that I was able to share a bit of what motivates me in my personal life with Jerome and his family!
WE ARE CORAL GARDENERS
All pictures courtesy of Coral Gardeners