Minecraft partners with The Nature Conservatory to restore coral reefs

Community challenge success leads to $100,000 donation, creator-designed reef regrowth

Minecraft's World Ocean Day efforts to help restore coral reefs have seen enthusiastic success. Along with a $100,000 donation to The Nature Conservatory, Mojang partnered with creators and community to help rebuild coral reefs in Mexico in its iconic, blocky style.

The efforts began with the Minecraft Update Aquatic, which brings a variety of sea life to Minecraft's previously rather barren oceans. As a part of that update, Mojang challenged players to place ten million coral blocks underwater -- a goal that was accomplished in only a few days. To celebrate, the studio made its donation to The Nature Conservatory, a non-profit working to save and rebuild coral reefs around the world. In addition, net proceeds from the new Coral Crafters Skin Pack also go to the organization.

"With the Update Aquatic, we're filling Minecraft's oceans to the brim with kelp forest, shipwrecks, deep sea trenches, fish, turtles, dolphins and colourful coral reefs," reads an official blog post of the announcement. "In the real world, however, it's the opposite: climate change, destructive fishing methods and pollution of the water are killing off our planet's amazing marine life. Coral reefs, one of the Earth's most precious natural wonders, are under threat.

"Coral reefs are home to some two million species - roughly a quarter of all marine life. We're only just unlocking the secrets of these amazing organisms, and yet the World Wildlife Fund estimates that nearly a third of coral reefs worldwide are already damaged beyond repair. If trends continue, we will soon lose 60% of the world's coral in the next few decades."

In addition, Mojang partnered with three popular Minecraft YouTubers -- Rabahrex, Logdotzip, and Stacyplays -- to design real-life structures that would help rebuild faltering reefs. The three worked with the community to design "biorock" structures in Minecraft that were then recreated in the real world and transported to the reef in Cozumel, Mexico, where they will be used by The Nature Conservatory to regrow coral and restore the reef.

Both Logdotzip and Stacyplays took design ideas from online communities. Rabahrex worked with students at the American Institute in Monterrey, Mexico and held a class competition to design the biorock installation. The winning design was an axolotl, which was placed with the other two designs and installations of Minecraft icons Alex and Steve off the coast of Cozumel.

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