Beyond teaching kids (and many adults) basic building and programming skills, sandbox video game Minecraft is now helping to save our planet.

As climate change, dodgy fishing methods and water pollution ravage the world’s marine life, coral reefs – home to some quarter of the Earth’s marine life – are under threat. But how does a blocky game help?

Well, in celebration of the Minecraft Update Aquatic Phase One release, which is out for Xbox One, PC, mobile and VR so far, with other formats to come, Minecraft people Mojang have been working with several partners to help real-world oceans through a project they’ve named Coral Crafters. This started by them teaming up with community members Rabahrex, Logdotzip and Stacyplays, who worked with their fans to design unique structures to help restore coral reefs in our oceans.

They also laid down a challenge, whereby if 10 million coral blocks were placed underwater in-game, Mojang would donate US$100,000 to The Nature Conservancy, along with net proceeds from the Coral Crafters Skin Pack.

The challenge was a roaring success, reaching the goal in just a couple of days. The plan now is to bring the structures to life and place them to help rebuild coral reefs in Mexico. Check out more info on the project in this video…

As for what’s in this update, imagine adding the likes of dolphins, fish, coral, icebergs, shipwrecks, and sea pickles to your Minecraft creations. MMMmmm, sea pickles!

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi