You Have Questions? Just Email Us... I Might Have Answers...

Many people are surprised to learn that Seacology has a very small Berkeley-based staff.  There are only six of us.  That, and the fact that I was Seacology's first paid employee (I beat Duane by a week), is the reason that my job description is a little odd by some standards.

coral_necklace.jpgI work with our field representatives to help identify good island projects around the world; I reign over our ever-expanding photo library; I create PowerPoint presentations for staff to show to a wide variety of audiences; I am responsible for editing and producing Seacology's annual report and newsletters; and I also maintain our computer network.

One additional duty is to monitor our general email account,  While our spam-blocker catches the vast array of messages touting deals on OEM software, events at Las Vegas nightclubs, and messages from people who have lost their loved ones in tragic accidents and need a US bank account to hold vast sums of money, we get a number of very interesting inquiries and questions.
One such question came in this morning, from someone who wondered about the ethical issues regarding purchasing coral jewelry.  I went through this dilemma myself when I inherited a beautiful antique coral necklace from my grandmother.  Such a lovely piece, and probably crafted in the early 1900s, before these times of dire predictions regarding the future of the world's reefs.  However, I did not want to wear it and send a message to anyone who bothered to look at me that to wear coral is okay.  I asked my mother to pass it along to another female relative.

I did a bit of research to find out just how widespread the word is regarding the inappropriateness of purchasing jewelry that exploits coral reefs.  I have a personal interest as well, as jewelry-making is one of my (too) many hobbies.  I found that the word is definitely out: the Ethical Metalsmiths blog addresses it, as does's jewelry-making section.  SeaWeb has an entire campaign, entitled Too Precious to Wear, devoted to the issue.

So what to do with those coral strands one might own that are beautiful, yet represent the sad decline of planet's most endangered ecosystem?  One could sell them, and donate the proceeds to an organization such as Seacology that is working with communities to protect their own reefs.  Or just keep them in a drawer as a reminder that every personal choice we make as consumers, whether it is where our food comes from, what we choose to adorn ourselves with, what personal care and cleaning products we use, etc., matters when it comes to the health of our fragile planet.

I truly appreciate the thoughtful person who submitted this morning's email!  Now I have to figure out how to respond to the guy who emailed because he wants his representative to come to our warehouse and pick up several cases of olive oil...  I wonder who he has us confused with?



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This page contains a single entry by Karen Peterson published on March 19, 2008 12:12 PM.

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