The reality is that half of the GBR’s coral has been lost in the last 30 years, which led UNESCO, which designated the GBR a World Heritage Site in 1981, to threaten to put it on an ‘in danger’ list in 2014. This was, in particular, due to a decision to start dredging the seabed for oil, although plans for this have since been halted. After negotiations with the Australian government, and the urgent drafting of a Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan Australian Government Department of the Environment, the threat to put it on the ‘in danger’ list was put on hold, on the condition that the government could show significant improvements to the reef’s condition by the end of 2016. Improvements which include reducing carbon emissions, controlling pollution and limiting the effects of dredging. And yet, the coal still keeps coming, as do more licences to exploit it and ships to export it, crossing the very waters in question.
What can you do?
Join activist organisation Greenpeace
, which played a major role in highlighting the impending mortality of the GBR not only to UNESCO but to the world. Another good one is Fight for the Reef
. Support their petitions, donate to their cause (fighting the coal industry and a centre right coalition (ironically) government takes time and money), and spread the word by using social media, using striking images freely available from Global Coral Agency
. And when you go there to dive, which you must because it is still stupendous, consider an underwater shot holding a waterproof sign with the hashtag #SavetheReef and post it everywhere you can, telling the government and the world that coral, on so many levels, wins hands down over coal.
, Galilee Basin
, Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority
**Source: Australian government’s Office of the Chief Economist
*** Source: EIA - International Energy Statistics 2014