The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has just given us a gold star we’ve never wanted to receive. Because of us, the long-term outlook for the Great Barrier Reef has been downgraded from “poor” to “very poor”.
Well done to us!
In the five-year evidence-based report, released by the Federal Environment Minister, said climate change is the most significant and escalating threat to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef. Without multi-tiered action, the report states, “the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystem will remain very poor, with continuing consequences for its heritage values also”.
The downgraded outlook comes after an onslaught of coral bleaching events, cyclones, and record-breaking warm water particularly in the reef’s once pristine northern parts. And given these pressures, and the time required for recovery of ecosystems, the health continues to deteriorate at accelerating rates.
“Climate change remains the greatest risk to the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Area and its integrity”
Brb crying for Nemo.
the australian government at the great barrier reef pic.twitter.com/MuMu1IAOUc
— 𝖊𝖗𝖊𝖓 (@bowietaron) August 29, 2019
So How Bad Is It?
Extreme sea temperatures caused mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017, which caused widespread coral loss and flow on effects to the ecosystem. And the report says, since 2014, half of the reef has been exposed to destructive waves from six tropical cyclones.
So, at the moment, the reef is holding on to its UNESCO World Heritage listing, but it doesn’t look good for the future. A Condensed version of the report will be given to the United Nations in December, so it can determine if the reef’s health has improved enoush since 2014 to hold on to its Cultural Heritage status.
So that’s exciting, we’ve got that Christmas present to look forward to.
So far this year The Great Barrier Reef has lost its ability to recover from coral bleaching, Iceland had to hold a funeral for the first ever loss of an entire glacier and now the Amazon rainforest is on fire. And you’re still gonna sit there and not care. You lot are mad. pic.twitter.com/TMfSe2PeQ7
— tt (@tomtvrner) August 21, 2019
So That’s Shit News, But What Can You Do?
If you’re reading this getting a little flustered (same), know there are so many things you can do even when you feel hopeless. A hundred 1 per cents = 100%. And it won’t just help the Reef, it’ll help the entire environment and may just influence those around you to get on board too.
Get Around Meatless Mondays
Not only can vegetarian food be delicious, it does a far less damage to the environment than a juicy steak. Meat production – from the farm to the abattoir and the supermarket shelf – takes a big hit to the environment. In the grand scheme of things, taking one carnivorous dish from yoru weekly meal plan is not only great for you, it’ll take less time to prep and cook, get you to branch out of your comfort zones, and will be better for the environment in the long-run.
Buy A Bloody Keep Cup Already – And Use It.
Just do it already. And while you’re at it, if you’re a sucker for iced drinks – or anything with a straw – invest in a recyclable model like these bamboo ones from The Other Straw.
And if you’re always using plastic cutlery and plates, stop it. Bring your own from home, they literally take up no space in your bag. Throw them in. And metal cutlery is so much easier to use than plastic rubbish (literally) anyway.
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Litter Bugs Are Real, Sometimes You Have To Pick Up After Them
If you see rubbish in the streets, don’t just walk on by and let it find its way to a stormwater drain. It’s as easy as binning three pieces of rubbish whenever you go for a walk, or when you’re at the beach. Pick it up, put it in the bin. At least try to stop it from making it into the reef.
And always, always, clean up after yourself – even if it means chasing a fly-away piece of plastic half-way across the park.
Actually Go On A Holiday To The Reef, But Book Smart
Another great way to support the reef is to actually go and see it for yourself. But that doesn’t mean booking willy nilly. No, make sure you book your trip with a responsible marine tourism operator certified by Ecotourism Australia.
That means you get to completely chill out and bask in the natural wonder of the Reef’s national park while supporting local business, ethical travel, and conservation efforts. And you’ll get to fully appreciate why we need to do our best to protect the waters. You’ll be doing something great without doing anything at all. How good is that?
Keep Your Environment Clean With Clean Cleaning Products
Not only is using ‘clean’ cleaning products good for you, but its great for the environment. That means cutting out cleaners and detergents with chlorine and phosphates.
It might take a hot minute to find them, and it definitely requires some research before hitting the aisles, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Another good tactic is to find a product that does everything, like Koh, an Australian brand seeking to eliminate toxic chemicals used in cleaning products. And you can use it literally everywhere. My mum froths it.
Or, skip the supermarket and find some DIY cleaning product recipes online, there’s a heap of mummy-bloggers out there with all the hot tips and tricks.
See? There are plenty of things you can do to help. So let’s get to it!
Image Sources: Twitter (@temphi1), GIPHY, Unsplash