Graeme Kelleher, former chairman and CEO GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK AUTHORITY
So what's the issue?
The Great Barrier Reef is currently experiencing the most widespread bleaching ever recorded, with 60 percent of reefs from north to south affected.
After nine days surveying the over 1000 individual reefs, the Government’s chief marine scientist Terry Hughes confirmed the devastation. He stated that the third mass bleaching event in five years is a clear signal the marine wonder is “calling for urgent help” on climate change.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1500 species of fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and 133 species of sharks and rays.
What is bleaching?
Tiny algae live in the tissue of coral providing it with food, and also giving coral its colour. As the ocean absorbs more and more CO2 from the atmosphere, ocean temperatures and acidity levels in the water rise. The algae become stressed and leave the coral - taking with it the coral’s source of food and its colour. The coral turns white and ‘bleaches’.
It's time to act now - what we can do?
With much of civil society at a standstill - power exists in our conversations. Let’s remind the world of the beauty of the Reef, and ignite an irrepressible defence of the things we love most.
We can’t stop this bleaching event, but we can alert the world to what’s really going on, and stop mining companies profiting from the destruction of our Australian icon.
Our politicians are failing to tackle the biggest issue facing our Reef - climate change. The best way of protecting our Reef from climate change, is to do everything we can to stop burning fossil fuels, which means leaving them in the ground.
The best way of protecting our Reef from climate change, is to do everything we can to stop burning fossil fuels, which means leaving them in the ground.