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With the expectation that 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs will not survive past 2050, The Ocean Agency has a plan to protect the reefs most likely to survive.

Using scientific study, The Ocean Agency’s 50 Reefs project aims to identify which of the reefs are least vulnerable to climate change; using communication, they plan to motivate and inspire governments, organisations and communities to protect them. Its nifty new Google Street View machine for underwater use will help.

Rather than a camera on the top of a car, 50 Reef’s images are taken using a military grade underwater scooter that pulls the camerawoman along, two kilometres per dive along underwater corridors, and taking a 360-degree picture every three seconds. The imagery is a way to engage people in issues that they would not otherwise be aware of.

“Most people don’t actually dive and never will,” says Ocean Agency co-founder Richard Ververs in a CBC interview. “I think it’s like 99.9 percent of people don’t dive. What I wanted to do with the camera that we invented was to allow people to have that experience of jumping in the water and to be able to explore an environment like, say, a coral reef, which to me is the most magical place on the planet.”

Support for 50 Reefs comes from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and from former New York City Mayor and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael Bloomberg, and his charity Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Without coral reefs,” says Bloomberg, “we could lose up to a quarter of the world’s marine biodiversity, and hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people would lose their primary source of food and livelihoods. We must not allow this to happen.”

Check out some of 50 Reefs’s images here.

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