The Great Barrier Reef is the size of 70 million football fields and can even be seen from space! It’s the largest reef structure & marine park in the world. More than 2 million people visit the natural wonder every year. But sadly, the reef is under threat. Read on for ways you can help protect this jewel & ensure it’s around for generations to come.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to 3000 coral reefs, 1500 species of fish, 215 species of birds, 133 varieties of sharks & rays and 30 species of whales and dolphins. The Reef’s worst natural predators are climate change and human impact. After these two, the biggest predator is the crown-of-thorns starfish. The starfish are notorious for stripping reefs of all living coral. Fortunately, (unlike climate change effects), new corals can generally re-grow after an outbreak.
When you visit the Reef, you’ll pay a Reef tax of $6 a day. This is imperative for the Reef’s health as it goes to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to fund their ongoing efforts to protect the delicate ecosystem.
Below are some ways you can help protect the Reef!
CHOOSE THE RIGHT OPERATOR
If you’re planning on doing a tour of the Reef, ensure you choose an eco-operator to tour with. Look for the Ecotourism Australia Advanced Accreditation, EarthCheck or Green Leader logos or Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority branding. These are commercial operators who have adopted high standards for protection of the Reef. Read more on Queensland Tourism’s blog.
MAKE ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICES AT HOME
You can make good environmental choices in your own life that will benefit the Reef. Small shards of plastic, drink can rings, plastic bags & water bottles are a huge threat to the Reef.
Some ways to reduce your impact are:
– Take a natural fibre, reusable bag to do your groceries
– Choose drink cans with eco-friendly rings (yes, it’s a thing now!) so there’s less risk of a turtle mistaking them for food
– Opt for a glass or aluminium water bottle (our friends at Nourished Life can help you make green choices around the home)
– Reduce your carbon footprint. Climate change is the biggest threat to the Reef
– Reduce fertilizer use. Too many nutrients from fertiliser use cause algae to grow, blocking sunlight
BECOME A CITIZEN OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is a new initiative founded by Andy Ridley, the man behind Earth Hour. The aim is to create a worldwide community of Citizens dedicated to taking real & tangible actions to secure the future of the Reef. While the threats to the Reef are real, if we respond now with action, there is hope.
Become a Citizen of the Great Barrier Reef today. By claiming your citizenship, you’re not only helping the Reef – you’re securing the future of the planet. Visit citizensgbr.org to find out more and join the movement.
“The actions of people across the planet will define the future of the Great Barrier Reef.”
Andy Ridley – Founder Earth Hour & CEO Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef
If you’re lucky enough to experience the beauty of The Great Barrier Reef one day, follow these practices:
– Dispose of rubbish properly & pick up debris from beaches
– Anchor away from corals
– Follow fishing zoning rules to protect the Reef’s rich biodiversity
– Look but don’t touch! When snorkelling, enjoy the corals and other marine life – but keep your distance
Together, we can ensure our magnificent Reef is around for generations to come!