Special operations veterans are not done serving. Transferring skills from military dive training, retired soldiers are responding to a different kind of planetary threat: the loss of critical ocean habitat. Force Blue is a non-profit organized by veterans to rebuild coral reefs. In their new mission, the group is not just helping to heal critical marine ecosystems; the program also serves to support veterans as they deal with issues related to military service and make the often difficult transition to civilian life.
Jenny Krief notes on the team's Facebook page: “What a synergistic partnership...oceans healing our Vets and our Vets healing our oceans. The rhythm of the undersea world has the power to heal the soul, and these Vet combat divers have the knowledge and training to heal our reefs. POWERFUL!! They deserve all the support we can give them financially and by spreading knowledge about their organization.”
The group is currently responding to reefs ravaged by Hurricane’s Irma and Maria, According to a Facebook page post, “the group, working with a team from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at Cayo Diablo in northeast Puerto Rico, on a grant obtained through the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, rescued 425 large fragments of Elkhorn Coral that had been ripped from the reef by Hurricane Maria. FORCE BLUE divers brought the fragments up from the impact site, carefully loaded them on to a SeaVentures boat and transported them to a nearby location more suitable for reattachment.”
NOAA Image of a Coral Nursery:
NOAA uses coral nurseries to help corals recover after traumatic events, such as a ship grounding. Hung on a tree structure, the staghorn coral shown here will have a better chance of surviving and being transplanted back onto a reef. (NOAA) Learn more about how NOAA uses coral nurseries to restore damaged coral reefs: usresponserestoration.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/how-noaa-u...
FORCE BLUE has launched a campaign for their ongoing coral restoration missions to the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico. A Force Blue facebook post reports: “The damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria was, by any measure, great. But our resolve in restoring these reefs is, by all measures, greater still. Please, help the Special Operations veterans of FORCE BLUE make the sort of positive impact only they can make.”
So what?This is an interesting signal of the potential to pivot our focus from violent and destructive competition over life-sustaining resources towards collaboration to protect them. Might we see a backlash against countries developing armies for narrow, protectionist purposes? Is there a possibility of conscription for the planet?
EcoEngineering: @forceblueteam is repurposing veteran combat diving expertise into ocean conservation providing a transformative healing experience for both the divers & #coralreefs #SignalofChange https://t.co/16YxYWLclr via @youtube
A new mission for special ops veterans: Saving #Coral. Weapons of Reef Construction, @forceblueteam are working w @NOAACoral to restore hurricane ravaged reefs. #signalofchange https://t.co/oTwRFKLAwz