Target: Ms. Lale Ülker, Chairman of the World Heritage Committee
Goal: Place the Great Barrier Reef on the list of “in danger” world heritage sites.
The Great Barrier Reef is in serious danger from mass bleaching caused by global climate change. When the water is too warm, the coral releases living algae, which makes it calcify and turn white. The north and central reefs have already been devastated by this process, losing up to 35 percent of their coral. The Great Barrier Reef is a precious resource. It has been designated a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). However, UNESCO has not yet placed it on the list of “in danger” sites. Call on UNESCO to act before it is too late and grant the Great Barrier Reef “in danger” status.
Australian scientists have serious concerns about the future of the reef, asserting that the damage was even greater than they had foreseen. Only seven percent of reef remains untouched by bleaching. Terry Hughes, leader of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies said, “We’ve never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”
The Great Barrier Reef is a precious environmental resource that should be preserved for future generations. The reef is home to tremendous biodiversity including 4,000 species of mollusk, 1,500 species of fish, and 400 species of coral. It also houses animals nearing extinction such as the large green turtle and the dugong (‘sea cow’).
Despite this, the Australia has not taken the necessary steps to protect the reef. Australia’s four largest banks have invested $5.5 billion in fossil fuel projects and the Australian government persists in backing fossil fuel. This backing includes approval for the Carmichael Coal project, a $10 billion enterprise with the potential to discharge 705 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
The Australian prime minister claimed, “There is no question that we are doing a good job [managing the reef].” That 93 percent of the reef has been affected by bleaching indicates that this is not the case. Urge UNESCO to alert the international community to the dangers the reef faces and show the prime minister that he is not, in fact, doing a “good job.”
Dear Chairman Ülker,
Bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef must be reduced. Already, the north and central reefs have lost 35 percent of their coral. The Great Barrier Reef is a valuable ecosystem that should be conserved for future generations, hence its inclusion on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. However, UNESCO has not yet fully acknowledged the danger the reef is in. Bleaching poses a serious threat to the reef’s survival and because of this the reef should be placed on UNESCO’s list of “in danger” sites.
Bleaching jeopardizes the reef and the biodiversity it supports. Ninety-three percent of the reef has been compromised by bleaching, causing Australian scientists to voice grave concerns about the reef’s future. Terry Hughes, leader of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies stated, “We’ve never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”
However, the Australian government fails to take the necessary measures to save the reef. It continues to approve fossil fuel projects, which contribute to global climate change. Climate change in turn causes coral bleaching. One such enterprise favored by the Australian government, the Carmichael Coal Project, could release 705 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
Despite this, the Australian prime minister believes that he and his government are doing a “good job” managing the Great Barrier Reef. This assumption has resulted from UNESCO’s failure to put the reef on the “in danger” list. Warn the international community and the Australian government of the hazards the reef faces and give it the “in-danger” status that it clearly qualifies for.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Roger Buser