Australia Pledges $500M to Protect Great Barrier Reef

Australia has been making waves in the environmental newsfeed this past year with some fantastic headlines: its energy sector powered 70% of the country’s homes using only renewable sources, a huge permaculture farm fed dozens and dozens of families with only organic produce, and even without human help, a supposedly extinct species of insectivore suddenly showed up. But this Sunday, Australia made just about its biggest wave yet.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull pledged more than 500 million Australian dollars for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef — the greatest single investment that this reef or any other coral ecosystem in the world has ever received.

[T]he Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a national non-profit . . . will use the money to counter water pollution, combat coral-eating starfish, increase public awareness, boost reef monitoring, and improve the environmental impact of surrounding businesses . . . The funds will also be used to expand reef restoration efforts, including trialling new techniques that can breed corals resistant to high temperatures and light stress.

For a while now, the Great Barrier Reef, which hosts about 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish, is known to be in great danger. Its damage — including coral bleaching and ocean acidification — can be traced to climate change as a consequence of burning fossil fuels, harmful coastal development, and continuous fishing despite the already-present negative effects. A 2016 study even said that more than 90% of the reef has already been affected by coral bleaching.

However, Australia’s environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, is confident that “the right plan and the right investment” will help secure what he describes as a “remarkably resistant” reef . . . “The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it . . . Millions of dollars will go into science and to better data management and to be able to test the impacts on the reef.”

Of course, we must inevitably mull over the damage humans have caused the beautiful coral ecosystem in the past decades, but it seems to have been resilient in maintaining itself and in forgiving us. Perhaps the millions of dollars pledged to its protection can finally help us start to make up for the damage and deserve its forgiveness. I honestly can’t help but hope it’s better late than never for us and the Great Barrier Reef.

 

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Divers Play Music For Coral Reefs

Environmental enthusiasts celebrate nature in different ways. Some host fun runs. Others put together benefit film screenings. This group of divers housed an underwater music festival.

About 400 divers and snorkelers gathered together… for the 33rd annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, held at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys. Organizers provided divers with a “submerged soundtrack” of nautical tunes by broadcasting music underwater through speakers suspended beneath boats.

The Florida Reef is the only remaining coral barrier reef in the United States. Because of constant deterioration, it could use all the help it can get.

“The Underwater Music Festival is a way to celebrate the coral reef, and we celebrate it by looking for a balance between protection of the reef and public enjoyment. The more people realize what’s down there and enjoy it, the more they’re likely to protect it,” explained Bill Becker, co-founder of the music festival.

Talk about letting loose your inner mermaid for a cause! Remember, kids: clean waters make for happy waters.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: