The Great Barrier Reef - A Coral Reef Ecosystem in Danger
Australia’s oceans contain one of the richest, most diverse life on Earth. Our continent borders three big oceans - the Pacific, Indian and Southern Ocean. That includes the world’s largest heritage listed coral reef ecosystem: The Great Barrier Reef. The majority of Australians live within 50 kilometers
of the coast and far to often people - not only in Australia - take the oceans for granted. Keeping our marine environments healthy protects their magnificent biodiversity and beautiful environment.
The Great Barrier Reef covers almost 350 thousand square kilometers off the coast of Queensland. It is home to coral reefs with a variety of species of fish, whales and dolphins along with sharks and rays. It also shelters sea animals threatened with extinction such as the unique dugong and multiple species of turtles. Stretching up to 250 kilometers offshore at its widest, the reef includes shallow inshore waters supporting diverse seagrasses and mangroves.
Such global significance brings a global responsibility.
But sadly, the health and sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef has been the subject of much debate in Australia and around the world for many years now. There are great concerns over new industrial and mining developments, dredging, fishing, climate change and pollution including the plastic waste in our oceans. The world heritage site is in danger and in 2017 came very close to being put on the “in-danger” list.
“One of the notable issues with marine conservation in Australia is the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef’s environmental pressures include water quality from runoff, climate change and mass coral bleaching, cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish, overfishing and shipping accidents.”
Without the acknowledgement of the Australian Government to urgently address problems including climate change, species and habitat health and the impact of coal mining and dredging, reef quality is unlikely to improve despite the effortless work of many dedicated and passionate people. So far, the resources made available by the Australian Government have been tokenism*, at best.
Here is just a small selection of the very many marine conservation organisations in Australia and beyond that might be of interest to you:
Australian Marine Conservation Society (Australia, education, information, action)
PADI Project Aware (Asia-Pacific, International)
Sea Shepherd (International action on whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and other marine wildlife)
UNESCO World Heritage Centre (International, protection of unique cultural and natural heritage sites around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef and The Wet Tropics of Queensland)
The precious marine ecosystems on our ‘pale blue dot’ need our help. Only collectively can we bring about lasting change that will ensure the health of our environment for future generations.
For, if we can’t save the Great Barrier Reef (one of the Wonders of the Natural World) https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-seven-natural-wonders-of-the-world.html,
what can we save?
Please, dear Reader, re-share this blog to help raise awareness around the world. Help to save our beautiful Great Barrier Reef so that future generations can visit and enjoy it! Thank you.
ABC News Australia, 2014 (viewed 26.01.2018)
Australian Marine Conservation Society, 2018 (viewed 26.01.2018)
*Tokenism: "the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing ..."