Here’s what we know to be true about the condition of the Great Barrier Reef: The site, listed on the World Heritage List, has long been under threat due to the eroding effects of climate change, combined with agricultural runoff and rampant attack from the coral eating Crown of Thorns Starfish. Today, the governing body that manages the World Heritage List, UNESCO, is meeting in Doha, Qatar to analyse the status on the Reef through the eyes of a report compiled by the Queensland and Federal Government.
The slight problem with that, is that the report seemingly fails to fully take into account – or just flat out ignores – the environmental toll that the creation of Coal Ports and the subsequent dumping of dredge spoil into the reef – which was okayed by the aforementioned Governments. In response the World Wildlife Fund has started a social media campaign aimed at creating a storm of voices and raising awareness about the precarious situation the reef is in, what needs to be done to preserve one of the world’s great natural wonders, and what the extent of the damage will be caused if coal wins out over conservation.
YouNesco is the name of the campaign, and it is serious business. The result of the UNESCO meeting could place the Reef on the “World Heritage in Danger” list, which would be a first for our country, and a rarity for world heritage sites in the first world.
YouNesco’s aims are to present a united front to UNESCO and the WHC, and argue that the reports being presented by the Governments are misleading, and that the creation of Coal Ports and subsequent dredge dumping would provide disastrous results for the reef, hastening its demise.
Though voting is closed, you can still make your voices heard through social media by sharing this post and the YouNesco website along with the hashtag #FightForTheReef. Every little bit absolutely counts; the louder the collective voice, the more likely it is to be heard and listened to.
The Reef is a vital natural resource, not just because of its inherent beauty, but as an economic provider for the coastal communities it borders.
To lose it for the sake of keeping the mining industry plump and sated would be a tragedy of unfathomable global proportions.
Photo: Mark Kolbe via Getty Images.