Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Protest U.S. funding of corporation that are actively destroying the Great Barrier Reef
Industrialization of Australia’s fragile Great Barrier Reef ecosystem is progressing at an alarming pace. The reef is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the world’s largest structure made by living things. It is home to innumerable species of living organisms, including the sea cow and loggerhead sea turtle – species threatened with extinction. Moreover, the Reef carries immense historical and contemporary importance within the cultures of the Aboriginal and Torres Islander groups.
The Reef has been a multi-use site, a hub for recreation, scientific, and commercial activity alike. Politicians, environmentalists, and citizens the world over are concerned over Australia’s management of the reef system. Australia allegedly downplays threats to the Reef, inadequately assesses of them, and even ignores some. “Australia continues to give the go-ahead for the development of several new coal and natural gas ports within the Great Barrier Reef.” According to the presage of Blue Ocean Institute Founder, PBS’ Saving Oceans host, and award-winning author Carl Safina in National Geographic: “The continued destruction of the reef seems inevitable.”
With the current damage unknown, we must stop current and further development in order for scientific experts to conduct research on the Reef and assess industrialization’s true impact on the ecosystem.
Part of stopping such development means cutting off the funds that support it. The United States must take responsibility to protect this most fragile of ecosystems. Let’s not give the World Heritage Committee reason to declare the Great Barrier Reef a “World Heritage Site in Danger.” Please sign the petition below, and ensure this tragedy does not come to pass.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to you in order to bring your attention to the conscious degradation of the Great Barrier Reef. Development of this UNESCO World Heritage Site by the resource industry endangers this already fragile ecosystem, the planet’s largest structure made by living things and home to innumerable living organisms, including species threatened with extinction. The Reef also carries immense historical and contemporary importance within the cultures of the Aboriginal and Torres Islander groups. Australia’s alleged mismanagement of development on the Reef, including but not limited to downplaying industrialization’s threats to the Reef, inadequate assessment of those threats, and even outright ignoring of some, serves only to rob this precious natural gift from coming and future generations.
The impact of development on the Reef is all too tangible – dredging of the sea floor to develop new ports muddies the waters and restricts light available for photosynthesis. Thus, corals may actually starve in these turbid waters. Disturbing bottom sediments can release toxic chemicals into the water, contributing to the disease outbreaks we have witnessed in recent years. Critically endangered species dugong, or sea cows, as well as the green and the loggerhead species of sea turtle are on the decline. We face, consequently, the possibility of losing the most emblematic animals of this ecosystem.
How we as the United States must take responsibility is by affecting an immediate moratorium on further development on the Reef, allowing internationally recognized, scientific experts to assess the full damage as per the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations. We can achieve this moratorium by restricting funds the U.S. Export/Import Bank supplies to those corporations that are actively destroying the Reef.
I urge you to consider this grave and time-sensitive issue. Our World Heritage depends upon your leadership.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bloom via redgreenandblue.org