Monday, 30 September 2013

Gargantuan grief at The Barrier Reef‏

by Katy Marriott.

Greed and destruction could scrape life from the shores of Australia if the newly-elected Prime Minister trades the protection of The Great Barrier Reef for the exploitation of coal.
The Great Barrier Reef sits just off the coast of Queensland and is the largest single structure composed of living organisms on the planet. It is a World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and can be seen from space. 
Newly-elected PM, Tony Abbott, is planning to dredge the seafloor along Queensland’s coast to create a super-highway for coal ships. His plans include expanding ports to become coal-loading terminals.
Queensland is in Australia’s northern territory and sits atop the planet’s second largest source of untapped fossil fuels - so large that its discovery has recalibrated Australia’s entire understanding of coal mining. It is called the Galilee Basin and the nine ‘mega-mines’ planned for the area are currently at different stages of approval, with some currently being stalled by only a handful of environmentalists.
Australia is already the world’s largest exporter of coal and if the mega-mines open for business the global implications could be monumental.
The port expansion projects mean that many coastal zones could be deepened by dredging which would inevitably damage ecosystems and affect both the local tourism and fishing industries, as is already occurring in Gladstone, Queensland.
The impact of the approved dredging of 3 million tonnes of seabed, and its planned dumping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, could be catastrophic for marine life globally.

Coral reefs are extremely complex eco-systems and are so delicate that the smallest of changes can have gargantuan repercussions.
Marine life has been stripped from coastal areas all over the world by a process called 'coral bleaching', which happens due to slight increases in global sea water temperature and acidity. The algae in the coral dies and, as it is the key to the entire food chain, no life can then be supported. There means no more fish and, naturally, this means devastating consequences for terrestrial and marine life in general.
Scenes like these are stark indicators of human industrial changes to the planet.

The devastation caused by large scale dredging of the Great Barrier Reef could have disastrous impacts on our oceans that are not yet fathomable. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide emissions generated from the resulting boom in Australian coal production will be unprecedented.

Sign the petition to lodge your outrage here.

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