‘Moana’ Begins Inspiring Campaign for Coral Reef Restoration

auli'i cravalho coral reefs
Auli'i Cravalho has been vocal about the damage being done to her native state (Hawaii) by climate change. Credits: Disney/ Auli'i Cravalho on Instagram

The original Polynesian Disney princess is back (albeit not in the live-action remake) with some good news for marine life!

Auli’i Cravalho, the Hawaiian singer and actress who was plucked from her local talent show at the age of 14 and cast as the Disney princess named Moana, has just embarked on a heartwarming campaign to help save the oceans that she and her Disney princess call home.


Moana in Fantasmic!. Credit: Disney

Auli’i Cravalho recently revealed that she has become uncomfortable with her fame — not to mention her wealth after growing up with EBT support — and that she feels like she should be “making an impact in real life” instead of acting.

“I Do Worry About What I’m Doing With My Time”

“Sometimes I do worry about what I’m doing with my time,” the actress confessed. “Am I spending it helping my community and making an impact in real life? I’m trying to figure out how to do something of impact.”

Now it looks like Auli’i has found her strategy! The young actress (who can be heard voicing Moana again in this new ocean-themed meditation) has teamed up with the cat food brand SHEBA and Kuleana Coral Reefs to promote coral reef restoration, particularly since she has seen climate change and coral reef damage wreaking havoc in Hawaii where she grew up.

So far, Auli’i’s campaign has a two-pronged approach: encouraging people to use “mineral-based, reef-safe sunscreen” that doesn’t contain oxybenzone or oxtinoxate, and being careful when swimming or boating near reefs since “corals are fragile animals and can be greatly harmed or even die when touched.”

Maui and Moana

Credit: Disney

“I’ve Seen Firsthand the Impact Climate Change Has Had”

Auli’i has started her campaign with an educational post about her collaboration with SHEBA here, as well as a post explaining the importance of using reef-safe mineral sunscreens instead of chemical sunscreens here.

This is reminiscent of the Keep Our Oceans Amazing campaign that accompanied the newest Avatar film, Avatar: The Way of Water!

In a recent interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Auli’i explained that she has personally witnessed the damage from climate change.

“I’ve seen firsthand the impact climate change has had, with rising sea levels washing away our beaches, ocean acidification affecting fish and rising temperatures causing coral bleaching,” she said sadly.

It is predicted that 90% of our tropical reefs will disappear by the year 2043 — and this is tragic not only because coral reefs are living things, but because they help buffer “coastlines [against] erosion,” protect against “storm damage,” and “can provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities.”

moana and Auli'i Cravalho smiling

Credits: Disney/ Auli’i Cravalho on Instagram

“This Beautiful Ocean That I’ve Always Known Looks So Different Now”

“This beautiful ocean that I’ve always known looks so different now, and leagues different from how my mom would describe it from her youth,” Cravalho continued. “I’ve always known that I was inheriting a planet that was on fire.”

The Disney princess did express some hope, however! “With so many issues being tackled, it can make you feel like you’re helpless in making a difference, but you couldn’t be more wrong,” she enthused.

“In Hawaiian, we have the word laulima, which means ‘many hands working together,'” the Rise, Mean Girls, and Little Mermaid Live! star added. “I’d love to encourage everyone to ho’o laulima and make small but impactful changes to lend a hand in preserving our natural habitats so we all can enjoy the future with healthier reefs and more fish.”

Is There Any Hope?

Cravalho ended the interview with advice to anyone else looking to make a positive difference in the world: “Dig deep and find what you’re really passionate about.”

“I enjoy storytelling in its many mediums and I also want to better the community I grew up in,” the 22-year-old said. “No matter the room I’m in, I know that my voice is unique. Believe that for yourself, too.”

Did you know that the actress who played Moana feels just as strong an affinity for the ocean and marine life as her character does?

Did you already know about the damage that chemical sunscreens can do to coral reefs, and the potentially fatal damage that can be done to them if you bump into one while visiting tropical places?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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