World Reef Awareness Day | June 1
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2022)


World Reef Awareness Day on June 1st serves as a call to action for consumers, businesses and organizations to reflect on the delicate ecosystem of our ocean’s coral reefs. The day brings together the general public, influencers and opinion leaders to create active change through education and engagement.


Coral reefs are living communities of colonial organisms made of individual polyps that excrete a bone-like skeleton. This skeleton forms large rock-like structures that are homes for thousands of organisms.

The health of a reef tells us a lot about the health of an ocean. Many fish and ocean animals rely on the protection of the healthy, living reef for spawning season. The reef also provides more than protection; it supplies a rich, thriving food chain, too. From plankton and algae to the largest sea creatures, the reef ecosystem is a significant life support system.

Benefits of a Healthy Reef

The benefits of a healthy reef ecosystem go far beyond the ocean. Coral reefs are:

  • essential to the plant and fish life
  • contribute to a lively fishing industry
  • protect beaches and coastlines from erosion
  • act as the oceans filter
  • provide life-saving medicines and
  • possibly the one animal on the planet capable of consuming plastic

In recent years, our most productive reefs have been in decline due to coral bleaching. For example, the Great Barrier Reef decreased by 40 percent. It’s even worse along the Florida Keys and Caribbean. Their decline is between 85 and 99 percent! According to Dr. Craig Downs, Executive Director of Haereticus Environmental Lab, about 90 percent of the reefs in the Caribbean have disappeared since 1980.

Causes of Die-Off

What causes coral reefs to die off?

  • Rising sea temperatures
  • Industrial pollution, plastic pollution, sewage
  • Chemical sunscreens and
  • Unmanaged, high-density tourism all threaten coral reefs.

One easy step we can take to protect these precious resources is by wearing non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen

According to Dr. Craig Downs, “When ingredients are uncoated and nano-size (less than 100 nanometers in diameter), they can enter the cells of invertebrates and fish and cause tissue damage, stressing all these marine organisms. Your best bet is to go for non-nano zinc oxide larger than 150 nanometers. At that point, the acute toxicity drops off, and the impact to ecosystems is mitigated.”


On World Reef Day, educate yourself and spread awareness about how we can make simple choices today to save our reefs for tomorrow. While you explore the importance of reefs, share your discoveries, too! When you head to the beach, use reef-safe sunscreen. Another easy way to protect the reefs is by reducing or eliminating single-use plastic from your lifestyle. And finally, spread awareness about the importance of the reef eco-system. Join the campaign using these World Reef Day tools:

  • Join the viral social campaign by posting the World Reef Day tile and suggested caption. Download the World Reef Day toolkit to get started.
  • Use #WorldReefDay to share on social media
  • For more information, visit

World Reef Day 2019 from Raw Elements USA on Vimeo.


Raw Elements founded World Reef Awareness Day on June 1st to inform the world about the importance of our reefs and how we can protect them.

On May 16, 2019, the Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed World Reef Day to be observed on June 1st, annually.

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Raw Elements USA®, a certified-natural sunscreen company that has pioneered the reef-safe movement with their non-nano zinc oxide-based sunscreens, founded World Reef Awareness Day on June 1st in support of its focus on sustainability, responsibility and education.

Raw Elements created the day to inform the world about the importance of our reefs and how we can protect them. Through World Reef Day, Raw Elements launched its largest educational activity to date. The campaign is in line with its active awareness campaigns. These campaigns include partnerships Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Hawaiian Airlines, Marriott and the Shore Hotel, their sponsorship of grassroots efforts of nonprofits and environmental groups, support of the Safe Sunscreen Coalition, as well as support for research and lobbying for the Sunscreen Ban Bill in Hawaii (which was signed into law in July 2018).

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