My husband has been playing the computer game League of Legends since he was in college. Since it is over the internet, it has been a nice way for him to keep in touch with his friends on the other side of the country. I’ve tried to learn a bit about it since it is something he enjoys. I’ve learned the names of the pro teams, and I’ve learned a little bit about the game play so that I’m not totally lost when I watch competitions with him.
I have done this 100% out of love for him. I had zero interest in any of it. But, this year, something different happened. One of the North American teams decided to do some rebranding. The name of the team is FlyQuest, and for each competitive season they ran a different Go Green promotional campaign. The spring season campaign was “TreeQuest”. When the team would complete certain tasks during the games or when they would win those games, the team would plant trees. Based on their regular season and post season play, they ended up planting over 10,000 trees! What a wonderful commitment!
Now they are currently competing in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS for the summer season! This season their campaign is “SeaQuest”. Among other fun promotional stunts, like an aquarium where fish pick winners of games, their main promotion is to donate money to the Coral Reef Alliance (www.coral.org) for each of the in-game tasks they complete.
In their press release about this season’s campaign, they wrote:
“We will be helping to replenish the oceans’ dwindling coral reefs, by donating to the Coral Reef Alliance, one of the biggest coral reef foundations in the world. So much of our planet’s life depends on coral reefs, so we are making it our mission this split to help protect them.”
All of their work has made me want to watch, cheer for them, but also get more interested in coral reefs.
They are bringing attention to coral reefs and raising money for them because reefs are in serious trouble. These amazing organisms are threatened by natural things like diseases, predators, and storms, but unfortunately they’re also in danger because of humans and what we’ve done. The threats from us include pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and climate change. This last threat is raising ocean temperatures and causing ocean acidification.
What are all of these threats causing? BLEACHING!
Maybe you like to bleach your hair or your teeth, but it is not good for corals. It can even lead to coral death. Normally, coral polyps depend on a symbiotic relationship with algae. The algae provide nutrients through photosynthesis, and the coral provides CO2 and ammonium to fuel the photosynthesis. It is this algae that provides the bright color of the corals. During difficult circumstances like extremely warm waters, the corals expel the algae. They then begin to lose color, but more importantly they lose their access to nutrients and begin to starve to death.
During the bleaching event of 2014-2017, due to unusually warm waters, 70% of the coral reef ecosystems worldwide were affected. Scientists have found that corals CAN recover if the environment improves, but it can take years. Scientists are also looking into other solutions like growing coral in a nursery and then transplanting it to damaged areas. So there is hope!
But why should we care about coral reefs? They’re in the ocean, we’re on land, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that coral reefs are some of the MOST DIVERSE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE WORLD!
First of all, there are the corals themselves, little coral polyps can grow into all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Then among these different types of corals live an incredibly diverse community of fish and other creatures. This is why coral reefs have been given the nickname the “Rainforests of the Sea”. About a QUARTER of all ocean fish depend on coral reefs for survival. Some of them use reefs for shelter, others use them to find food, reproduce, and raise their young. So many different fish all call corals their home.
The only place I know as diverse as coral reefs is the Catholic Church. All over the world in so many different languages, the same Mass is celebrated. No matter where in the world you go, when you walk into a Catholic Church it feels familiar, it feels like home. EVERYONE has a home in the Catholic Church.
One of the key beliefs of the Catholic faith is Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus died for our sins, the sins of every human that has ever lived and ever will live. Jesus came to save EVERYONE, the saint, the sinner, white, black, poor, rich, young, old, sick, healthy, EVERYONE.
This is the teaching, but the people of the Church don’t always do the best job of showing it. It is up to us to share this teaching with the world. It is up to us to make Catholicism more than a religion; we must make it a home. It is common for people to call God “The Father” and the Church “Mother Church”. We use all of these familial terms because we, the children of God, ARE a family. This family has a home in the church.
When we go to church on Sundays, do we say hi to the people around us? Do we welcome them and invite them to more church activities? Do we invite them to our groups and Bible studies? Many of us have been blessed by being a part of churches that feel like home, but it’s up to each of us to make it more of a home for those around us. We marvel at the beauty of the coral reef, all of the fish swimming in and out of it. We must look at the church in the same way, inviting people from all walks of life to come home and be a part of our family. There is room for all of us here, and each new person makes our home just a little bit better, a little bit brighter, and a little bit more beautiful.