Get to 'own' and save a coral reef for just P215

What can you buy with P215?

A fancy cup of coffee, a couple of fast food meals, a movie —or even your own share of a majestic coral reef.

Just about P215 —or $5, to be precise— is all it takes to "own" and protect a portion of the coral reefs in the Coral Triangle, a region in the Asia-Pacific that is home to a major portion of the world's marine biodiversity.

World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF's) MyCoralTriangle (panda.org/mycoraltriangle) is an online campaign that aims to crowdsource public support for the environmental group's ongoing projects across the Coral Triangle by logging on to purchase virtual property in the region.


The Coral Triangle

Currently threatened by the effects of overfishing and climate change, the Coral Triangle is a 6 million sq. km. area spanning the tropical waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor L'Este.

Economies supported by the Coral Triangle's marine resources extend beyond the six countries it encompasses. The WWF notes that a large share of tuna imported for consumption is sourced from this region.

Touted as the "nursery of the seas", the Coral Triangle is home to more than 500 coral species, 6 of the world's 7 marine turtle species and 37% of the world's coral reef fish species--the highest concentration of marine biodiversity in the world. The Coral Triangle ecosystem directly provide for the livelihood of more than 120 million people.

Website sections

The underwater-themed website has four main sections:

Buy a Spot is where campaign supporters make their contributions. The page opens a zoomed out satellite view of the Google Maps interface. At the center is the Coral Triangle, outlined as a shaded area, showing users the vast region from which they could choose virtual plots to purchase. Users may claim a "spot" by selecting any point within the shaded region. A flash widget at the top right hand corner guides them through the purchasing process. A second, smaller widget shows users who have made the most recent purchases and the current number of spots bought out of the total 300,000 up for grabs. Campaign supporters are awarded with virtual medals corresponding to the number of plots they have purchased.

View the Coral Triangle shows the same map, this time plotted with pins representing three categories: spots claimed by campaign supporters, projects by the WWF across the region, and the environmental threats specific to an area within Coral Triangle. Users have the option to isolate any of the three categories for a simpler view. The widget offers more information upon clicking the pins.

Stories from the Coral Triangle features brief articles educating readers on topics concerning the Coral Triangle ecoregion, such as the shark fin trade trade in Hong Kong, whale shark conservation, and the history of the Tubbataha Reef in Sulu. Snippets of the latest three stories are published below the MyCoralTriangle homepage.

About the Coral Triangle digs deeper into the campaign by enumerating facts, the threats the marine region is struggling against, and the projects being spearheaded by WWF in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Through the MyCoralTriangle website, participating in environmental activism has become more innovative, convenient and fun for the nature lover. — TJD, GMA News