5 Ways to Take Action for our Reefs This September

We’re facing a crucial time in our history to take action for our warming climate. News has circulated in recent headlines that
the world is losing the war against climate change”, and summer weather reports have indicated that temperatures around the globe are reaching new record highs.

Fortunately, we realized that the month of September is all about communities around the globe taking action and raising awareness for our planet with Global Climate Action Summit kicking off September 12th in San Francisco, The Global People’s Summit convening during the United Nations General Assembly on September 22nd, and Climate Week closing out the month on September 24th in New York City.

From national holidays to global rallies, there’s a lot of climate stuff going on this month  — so below we’ve listed our top 5 picks for initiatives to support in September:



1. September 3rd – School’s Back in Session

Image courtesy Jennifer Manville for NewportFilm

By early September, most students are back at school — parents, teachers, and students alike are digging in their heels and gearing up for another year of learning and discovering.

We couldn’t agree with Zack Rago, our favorite coral-nerd-in-residence more when he says, “In my mind, all kids are born scientists, they’re born adventurers, they want to explore. If we can get the kids to hold onto that curiosity, then our planet would be a much better place.”

To engage students in the classroom this month and beyond, we’ve crafted new educational materials including pre and post-screening lesson plans, outreach guides, group project ideas and more!

Inspire students about what’s happening in their own local ecosystems and check out our educational resources at www.chasingcoral.com/in-the-classroom.



2. September 8th – Rise for Climate and the People’s Climate March

Image courtesy People’s Climate Movement

On September 8, tens of thousands of people will attend rallies in cities and towns around the world to demand bold action from our local leaders. Raise your voice and tell leaders to commit to building a fossil free world that puts people, planet, and justice before profits.

Rise for the climate in your community and join a rally near you at riseforclimate.org.



3. September 15th – International Coastal Cleanup Day

Left: Instagram user @leben_ohne_industriezucker shares their trash collection after an impromptu beach cleanup. Right: Instagram user @pelangisamudera.id shares a photo from an organized beach cleanup initiative in Indonesia which ended with a Chasing Coral screening. 

Every year during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup®, hundreds of thousands of volunteers comb lakes, rivers and beaches around the world for trash. For over three decades, more than 12 million volunteers have collected over 220 million pounds of trash. 

While warming ocean water may pose the largest danger to our reefs, trash and plastic pollution are also a very serious threat. Plastic debris can cling to our reefs, which causes disease and death in our reefs too.

On September 15th, organize a coastal cleanup-up at a lake, river, or beach in your community. Make sure to download Ocean Conservancy’s app, Clean Swell and take along a trash bag to collect and document the debris you find.

Host your own Chasing Coral coastal cleanup party and organize a screening before or after your cleanup. You can register online here.



4. September 21 & 22 – Zero Emissions Day + Car-Free Day

Image courtesy People’s Climate Movement

As Richard from The Ocean Agency says in Chasing Coral, our coral reefs are “crying out to be noticed”. Their global bleaching response is due to warming ocean waters, largely caused by carbon emissions

When fossil fuels burn, carbon emissions trap heat in our atmosphere —  93% of this excess heat is absorbed by the ocean and is damaging our reefs at an unprecedented rate. So, here’s the challenge: Recruit your friends and go analog for 24 hours — don’t use gas, oil, or coal, and use minimal or no electricity generated by fossil fuels. 

How do you plan on going fossil-free? Share your plan with us on social media by posting your “Coral Commitment” to the hashtag #ChasingCoral.



5. September 25th – National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day is a great reminder to register to vote.  Many states have deadlines for registering to vote within 30 days following September 25th, so don’t delay (check out vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines if you’re curious about your state’s cutoff date)! 

If you’re located in the U.S., this is a great opportunity during this important election year to make a difference for our reefs where it matters most – at the polls. Create a lasting impact for years to come by sending a powerful message to candidates that you’re serious about voting and prioritizing environmental issues.


Celebrate National Voter Registration Day and register to vote (or get others in your community registered). 


Then, take Chasing Coral’s Unstoppable Voter pledge at unstoppablevoter.com.