THE GREAT BARRIER REEF IS A LIVING THING - PRECIOUS AND FRAGILE. IT'S IS THE ONLY LIVING THING ON EARTH THAT IS VISIBLE FROM SPACE AND IT NEEDS PROTECTING NOW MORE THAN EVER.
As a result of unusually warm ocean temperatures, some of the coral on our precious Great Barrier Reef has suffered severe bleaching. This could mark the beginning of the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef as we know it.
Coral are literally starving to death due to rising ocean temperatures and increased levels of acid in the ocean which are killing the algae; their food source. This combined with the heat, stresses the coral until it turns white and bleaches.
In December 2016, Australia must report back to UNESCO on the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Right now the outlook is bleak, but it doesn't have to be. There is still time to save the Reef.
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF HAS TAKEN SHAPE OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS AND BECAUSE OF HUMAN INFLUENCE, IN JUST 30 YEARS, HALF OF IT IS GONE.
The Reef is under continued threat from climate change and industrialisation by the fossil fuel industry.
But all is not lost – the Reef can recover in the right conditions and with time. But an expansion of the coal industry, leading to a chain reaction of coal and climate change will cripple any chance the Reef has of repairing itself.
Hay Point coal terminal is a striking example of the industrialisation of the Queensland coast for coal export.
50% of coral has died in the last 30 years. Scientists have told us we can have coral or coal – not both.
Despite the dangers to the Reef, in late December 2015, Federal Environment Minister Greg hunt approved dredging for the expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal in North Queensland.
This project is risking the Reef at a time when the world is moving away from coal with new policies from the US and China. It's time we followed suit. If the coal industry gets their way, we'll see more and more bleaching of our beautiful Reef.
It would also involve digging up 1.1million cubic metres of the seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef - enough to fill 440 Olympic swimming pools!
The Government cannot continue down the path of approving new coal mines and risking the future of a World Heritage-Listed Area. If we want a healthy Reef in our future, we need to act now.
The Great Barrier Reef is an irreplaceable, natural wonder of the world. It is home to more than 1500 species of fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and 133 species of sharks and rays.
These unique creatures, some found only in the Reef's waters, depend on this complex marine ecosystem for survival. If the Reef dies – where can they go?
Dredging at Abbot Point for a coal port expansion would rip up the seafloor and destroy precious seagrass habitat for dugongs, turtles and dolphins. We cannot allow these ludicrous plans to go ahead. You can make a difference for these animals and ensure they have a thriving Reef in their future.
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.
The Reef is world heritage treasure in our own backyard, and right now Australia is not looking after it. Our politicians would have you believe it's a problem for science. It's not; it's a problem of policy. We simply can't keep burning coal, driving ocean temperatures higher and higher and expect our Reef to survive.
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.
Greenpeace doesn't have Big Mining's deep pockets and government backing. What we do have is supporters like you who care about the future of the Great Barrier Reef.