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Coal or Reef? We choose the Reef!
Our Great Barrier Reef may be losing its greatness! Bleaching is killing our great reef but it is not too late. To save our reef, we need to slow climate change – and a big part of that means no new coal mines!
Wonders don't get much more wonderful than the Great Barrier Reef and we are no strangers to fighting for the roof - we helped to protect the reef before on our Fight for the Reef Scoop Tour. At 2,300 kilometres long, it's the largest living organism in the world. Over thousands of years it has grown to form incredible, dazzling structures, home to precious marine life.
Many of us think of the Great Barrier Reef as a technicolour dreamworld but for much of the reef sadly that's no longer the case. Bleaching is sucking the colour and life out of our coral. And that's just not cool.
What is coral bleaching? Great question! We gave you the full scoop here but here is a quick recap - when the sea gets too warm or pollution kicks in, coral can't eat. It loses its colour, it starts to starve and, just like any starving animal, it becomes vulnerable to predators and disease. Bad news for the reef and all the fish and other life that live in it.
A whopping 67% of the reef north of Port Douglas is already reported as dead. And there are no prizes for guessing the major culprit. Yes, you guessed it, it's climate change.
We Have to Stop the Warming
Last week, the Australian government had to report to UNESCO, the international body that looks after the wonders of the world, on how its plan to save the reef was going. And guess what? There's no new money, no new action, and, worst of all, no attempt to halt climate change, the single biggest threat to the reef.
We've helped to protect the reef before on our Fight for the Reef Scoop Tour. Alongside our friends at WWF Australia, we campaigned to stop mining companies dumping torn-up seabed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – and it worked! Last year, the government banned dumping dredge spoil in marine parks altogether.
Today, we're working towards an even bigger goal. Greenpeace and Ocean Elder Graeme Kelleher, are campaigning to get Australia to say no to new coal mines and we are helping to spread the word.
We Can Beat Our Fossil Fuel Addiction
For a big country with loads of sun, wind and sea, Australia's record on green energy is poor. We set low targets at the Paris Climate Conference last year, and we're set to miss them by miles.
And that's without huge new mines like those planned for Queensland's Galilee Basin, right next to the Great Barrier Reef. The $22-billion Carmichael Mine, which is set to open next year, will produce around 60 million tonnes of coal a year. That's 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every single year from burning coal and over 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases just from digging it up. All this, right next to our precious reef.
Make Your Voice Heard
We all know that if it is melted it is ruined and with warming like this, our reef – like our planet – won't stand a chance. To save our reef, we have to say no to new coal mines: you can sign Greenpeace's petition here. The more of us that speak up, the stronger we become.
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