Sea change

The other day I implored you to sign a “Save the reef” petition. Here’s the back story:

The Great Barrier reef was named a World Heritage Site in 1981. There is no denying its beauty and ecological importance.

The reef has been threatened by storm damage, invasive species and bleaching as outlined in an Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) report.

But despite the established vulnerability of the reef, a classic battle of economy versus ecology broke out…

In March 2012, Greenpeace released a report on the threat of mining to the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (interestingly, AIMS is a government agency) report from above was released that October and in the same month, the Queensland Government announced it’s Great Barrier Reef Ports Strategy. In a nutshell, it was a proposal to develop huge parts of the Great Barrier Reef adjacent coastline, enabling ships to travel through the reef.

UNESCO (the World Heritage status awarding body) warned the Queensland government no to further damage the reef and to cease activity until the full extent of the impact is known . The Queensland Government, rather embarrassingly, ignored UNESCO.

The Australian government research agency, CSIRO is the latest to join the conversation by researching public opinion of the reef. It will be interesting to see if the questioned individuals reflect the concerns of the environmental groups or the careless attitude of the government.

In the meantime, I hope that someone in our beautiful country realises the importance of the reef, the unsustainability of the mining industry and the transient nature of money. This is at best a nasty blot on the conservation record of Australia, at worst is spells catastrophe for all of the World’s  “protected” areas as other governments follow suit and the damage to the reef is reflected in its environmental connections.

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