reefBy Bianca (guest blogger)

Australia’s new prime minister has given the green light for mining companies to destroy Australia’s natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2300 km along the coast of Queensland and is home to around a quarter of all species that can be found in the world’s oceans. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981 the reef recently faces one of its hardest battles: a changing climate.

Sediment and algal overgrowth have overtaken this once-healthy reef. (Courtesy Emre Turak/Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Sediment and algal overgrowth have overtaken this once-healthy reef. (Courtesy Emre Turak/Australian Institute of Marine Science)

Rising ocean acidity due to high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and increasing water temperatures damages the corals; floods and storms flush mud, pesticides and fertilizers from farmland into the ocean and mining companies pollute the reef by dumping silt into the ocean and letting their freighters pass through.

On top of that Tony Abbott doesn’t care about the World Heritage Classification and UNESCO protection and has now put the Marine Park Suspension into play, allowing the mining companies to start construction. Furthermore, he wants to overhaul Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation law (EPBC Act), which has been introduced to block developments that threaten the national environmental assets. With the EPBC Act the Federal Government has the power to intervene in decisions made by state governments, to avoid environmental impairment.

The plan is to build the biggest coal mines in the world in the Reef’s catchment and to ship the coal out through the Reef’s narrow channels.

Loggerhead-Sea-TurtleThat means, Australia not only supports climate change by becoming the second largest source of carbon emissions in the world, but this also means major shipping channels need to be dug out of the sea floor. These tens of millions of tonnes of seabed – habitat of dolphins, turtles and dugongs, will be destroyed and dumped further out to sea and closer to the Reef. That material will be resuspended during rough weather and eventually float onto the Reef, destroying what’s still left.

Sydneysiders went snorkelling in Hyde Park fountain earlier this year in protest of the planned expansion of coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef.
Sydneysiders went snorkelling in Hyde Park fountain earlier this year in protest of the planned expansion of coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef.

If you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef in all it’s beauty and you want your kids and grandkids to be able to have the same incredible experience, act now. Step up and show your support, tell Australia that destruction has to stop and that we want to preserve the stunning wonders of the ocean and its habitat.

Take action by signing the petition and spread the word to save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

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