My name is Billy and I am a volunteer with the AYCC in Victoria. I first heard about the AYCC through a friend during a discussion we were having about potential volunteer opportunities. She recommended them highly, and with climate change being something I already had an interest in, I was soon signing my first petitions and then expressed an interest to volunteer.
It feels a little like we have been sent to the principal's office and told to raise our grades or we will be at risk of being expelled.
Not only did countries such as the USA, Jamaica and Portugal raise concerns over the state of the reef but the gorgeous Leo DiCaprio has spoken out about the rapidly declining condition of the underwater paradise. How embarrassing!
The United Nations World Heritage Committee has assessed the condition of the Great Barrier Reef during a recent meeting in Doha and put Australia on notice to up their game. The Committee has deferred the decision to label the World Heritage Site “in danger” for a year, to allow Australia time to prove they can do more to preserve the natural wonder.
This is an opportunity to prove to ourselves we are capable of being caretakers of our national treasure. In the next year Australia needs to address all the threats to the Great Barrier Reef. If we don't act now we will join countries such as Kenya which have allowed their world heritage sites to be severely compromised.
A huge backward step which is currently in motion, is the Abbot Point coal port proposal that has somehow gotten approval. The project will result in the dumping of dredge waste in the marine park, which is only going to put the reef in further danger. It will also promote the use of finite resources and the emission of greenhouse gases. Climate change is already resulting in widespread coral bleaching and other long term impacts to the reef, which are yet to be discovered.
Some recent efforts have been made such as limiting the amount of pesticides released into the marine park, but it’s obvious more needs to be done. The World Heritage Site has to become more of a priority and we need to a part of promoting action. The Great Barrier Reef is our responsibility and we need to step up and protect it.