The reef needs saving, not bleaching

We need to put the Great Barrier Reef higher on our priority list.

New footage of the reef has surfaced, showing what global warming is doing to the reef. The images portray the extent of the worst coral bleaching in history of the largest living organism on Earth.


The Grat Barrier Reef, photo by Anna Gardiner

One of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations, which stretches 1,400 miles off the coast of Australia, and is home to approximately 3,000 individual reefs, is dying. A massive bleaching event hit the northern parts of the reef earlier this year.

Australian Climate Council Amanda McKenzie told The Independent 60 per cent of bleached corals was “very white”.

“Another 19-20 per cent was covered in sludgy brown algae,” she said.

Recently, Ms McKenzie and her colleagues went back to examine the recovery.

“When we went back a few weeks ago to see if they had recovered or died, quite a large proportion had died,” Ms McKenzie said.

The corals are sensitive to temperature, and the Earth’s average is only increasing year after year, 2016 being the warmest since 1880. The warm water is causing the corals to become stressed. They then expel algae and turn white, hence the word “bleaching”.

I was scuba diving at the reef in January 2014 and witnessed the damage with my own eyes.It was still beautiful, but I will never know what it should have looked like and that is why we need to act.

But how?

Director of ARC Centre of excellence Terry Hughes knows what needs reducing.

You would think Australia has its priorities set since they signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. A Senate committee will look at how to retire coal power plants, however, jobs are always a concern and some people blamed the huge power-outage in South Australia earlier this spring on over-reliance on renewable energy.

So why did Queensland’s highest court reject Coast and Country’s appeal to disapprove the Alpha Coal Project in central Queensland?

The mine will pump out 60 million tonnes of carbon pollution each year.

Why did the Queensland Government announce Adani’s $21 billion Carmichael coal mine to be “critical infrastructure”?

The mine won’t even pay tax in Australia.

The reef’s tourism is valued to around $6 billion and employs close to 70,000 people.

Instead, start focusing on renewable energy and we keep the jobs since the reef will live.



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