Protect the Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the only living thing on earth seen from space. It is a world heritage site and a jewel in the crown of the Australian tourism industry.
All of this should be seen to be positive right? Except that the government has recently approved the construction of the largest coal port in the world to be built in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef (at Abbott Point). In order to construct this coal port, 5 million cubic meters of sediment needs to be dredged and the plan is to dump this in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. Though the government denies any negative impact to corals or sea life within it, it is hard to believe that all of that sediment floating around will have no negative impacts.
In addition to this, when the port is operational, up to 7000 ships will be passing through the great Barrier Reef transporting this coal.
This development and another proposal by Mithell Ports (another coal port) to transport coal from ship to ship in the reef are very worrying for the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
So why am I grumbling?
• For a start, I have to question the thought process that says ‘yes’ so easily to coal, but puts obstacles in the way of renewable energy;
• Then I have to really question the thought process of why anyone would think this is a good idea. I mean pristine ecosystem – hey let’s build a big coal port in the middle of it, pump it with dredged materials and increase shipping traffic through it! Aaargh!
• Even forgetting the impacts of the construction period, the ongoing operations of the port are bound to result in an accident or two, with catastrophic consequences.
Now who wants to build this port? The government has approved a company called Adani to build and run the coal port. Adani is India’s largest energy company with a poor environmental track record and giving them construction and operational rights is even more concerning.
Check out this great clip on Adani to find out more: https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/adani/dont-trust-this-company-with-our-great-barrier-reef?t=dXNlcmlkPTIzNDI1MzMsZW1haWxpZD00Nzk1
Interestingly following the success of this video, Adani tried to have the video taken off the internet. For this reason, you should definitely watch it and pass it on!
The only thing stopping Adani at the moment is that they need money to finance this Coal Port. Through activism and pressure, Deutsche Bank backed down from financing the Abbott Port Coal Terminal based on environmental grounds.
Though this has set back Adani, pressure has to be maintained in order to protect the Great Barrier Reef from this monstrosity.
What can you do?
1. Contact Greg Hunt (Environment Minister) voice your opposition to this plan:
Greg Hunt MP
Member for Flinders
Minister for the Environment
Postal Address:
PO Box 274
Hastings Vic 3915
Electorate Office:
Shop 4/184 Salmon Street
Hastings Vic 3915
Phone: 03-5979 3188
Fax: 03-5979 3034
2. Lend your support to the following organization working to protect the Great Barrier Reef:
350.org: http://www.350.org/reef
GetUp: https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/sign-the-petition/save-the-reef
Greenpeace: https://www.greenpeace.org.au/action/?cid=70&src=EM2
Australian Conservation Foundation: http://www.acfonline.org.au/
Fight for the Reef: http://fightforthereef.org.au/risks/mega-ports/
3. Spread the word!

Clouds of reef fish and corals, French frigate shoals, NWHI

The not so great news

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The hot potato that was the ‘carbon tax’ was in the spotlight again over the last few weeks resulting in the repeal of the ‘carbon tax’. While many people will applaud this, particularly polluting businesses, others like myself see this as another step backwards by the Abbott government.
Dealing with climate change has been such a big issue for Australia for many years, from the refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to this disincentive to pollute being abolished.
The government is saying that the consumer wins, as the polluting industries like the energy sector only passed on the cost to the consumer.
While this may be true, the repeal is unlikely to result in significant savings to the energy bills of the average ‘joe’. Let’s hope the much touted ‘direct action’ plan which is made up of financial incentives to polluters to become energy efficient actually results in carbon reductions.
I am skeptical and am again hanging my head in shame at the backwardness of this government.
So is it time to throw our hands in the air and resign ourselves to bad governance on climate change? For those that want to maintain the pressure on our government, there are a host of organizations ready to take your enthusiasm and channel it. Check these links out and get active:
http://www.action.org.au/what-will-you-do-safe-climate
https://www.australiansforaction.org.au/
http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/photosandvideos/videos/Carbon-Repeal-July-2014-/