Will the Great Barrier Reef Survive?

There was once a beautiful ocean city. It was so large you could see it from space. Up close you could dive deep into its crystal waters - escaping earthly life into an underwater world of magic, swimming through layers of bright coloured coral and thousands of vibrant species. Funny fish, leaping dolphins, large sharks and so much more. They called it ‘The Great Barrier Reef. It was one of our seven wonders of the world and people came from all over to marvel at its glory. How lucky we were.


And we still are, for now.

But money-hungry-men with old fashioned minds continue pushing for coal mines right near this great wonder. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has moved onto renewable energy (1); can’t they see? Coal is old news.


Mining for coal is a massive climate-change trigger (2). Coal releases CO2 and makes us hot. With the increase of temperature in the atmosphere, our ocean follows. A few degrees may seem shrug-able, but it’s a big deal to the ocean causing coral bleaching - aka dead zones. In 2016 almost a quarter of the reef died due to the rise in temperature.


How does that work? Tiny algae feed the living coral and produce their vibrant colours. When it’s too warm, the algae become stressed, fleeing the scene (just as we would, left out for too many hot days). Coral dies, turns white, and is no longer a host for a home (3). Goodbye beautiful underwater castle.

The great barrier reef has taken shape over millions of years and because of human influence, in just 30 years, half of it is gone.

The latest pressure point on the reef is the Adani Coal mine, to be (hopefully not) built in Queensland, Australia (4). As the largest coal mine in the world, it would blow carbon budgets, accelerating climate change and then reef devastation. Plus, the ship’s route is said to be through the middle of the reef – hello potential oil spills, which has happened in the past with the Adani corporation (5). Not to mention an endless array of issues from other perspectives.


Thankfully, this fight has seen many knights on the battlefield. Giant human sign protests, an array of petitions, community groups, rallies outside offices and major banks – which lead to all major AU banks boycotting the mine! And more. A long but strong campaign which, thanks to these ladies and gents, has halted the project drastically – they were supposed to be building some time ago.


So, how do we ensure a happy ending for our Great Barrier Reef? There are a multitude of ways, but a really easy place to start is to join the army of current fighters! They’ve proven themselves effective.


I could also say drive less, use renewable lightbulbs, sign petitions and go vegan (all super worthwhile actions to take) but we know much of this is swept up in the chaos of daily life.


So alternatively, if the reef is something you’re passionate about saving, invest your time and energy and get researching. Stoke that fire in your belly and let it push you towards finding paths of action that suit you.


The Great Barrier Reef is a kingdom we must protect, and to protect it, we must take action. How lucky we are to have it and how lucky it is to have us, right?


Check out these armies who can help you fight for climate justice and save our reefs, and we’ll see you on the front lines:


AYCC, Australian Youth Climate Coalition – http://www.aycc.org.au/  

Getup – https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns

Stop Adani – http://www.stopadani.com/

1 million Woman – https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/carbon-challenge/

Sea Shepherds - https://www.seashepherd.org.au/australia/