1000 Flowers for the Planet - #222 Protect the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet, stretching 2,300 kilometres along the north-east coast of Australia. It is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is home to thousands of marine species. And it is under threat.
The major concern for the reef is climate change. Rising temperatures can easily affect the balance of the reef if coral is subjected to warmer water. Changes in sea levels also affect the reef when species that have adapted to certain conditions find themselves in altered conditions: if levels drop and coral is closer to the water surface it becomes bleached by the sun and if levels rise they are put under pressure by deeper water levels. Man’s constant intervention adds to the reefs concerns. Tourism is a big trade and vital to the economy but puts pressure on the reef, as does fishing, urban runoff and coastal development. Shipping accidents and oil spills pose serious threats. The Australian Government has recently agreed to the dumping of dredge spoil in the marine park, which could be considered a significant blow to the future of the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef could be looked upon as an indicator of how well we are managing the beauty that surrounds us, and if we fail to protect it and preserve it for the future, we do ourselves and this planet a great injustice.