Wed­ded to coal

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

THE Whit­sun­day is­lands and the Great Bar­rier Reef have been a mecca for sailors, divers, and ex­plor­ers for cen­turies.

The reef is part of our na­tional iden­tity; it sus­tains our cul­ture and way of life. It nour­ishes us with seafood, pro­vides an idyl­lic cruis­ing ground for sailors and jobs for our chil­dren. The labyrinth of co­ral reefs is a play­ground for divers, sci­en­tists, pho­tog­ra­phers and 700,000 tourists ev­ery year. This par­adise is the back­bone of our econ­omy.

But all this is at risk if we con­tinue to ig­nore science and in­vest in fos­sil fu­els.

The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s own re­port states that cli­mate change and global warm­ing is the great­est threat to the reef. Burn­ing coal con­trib­utes to global warm­ing. When sea tem­per­a­tures re­main too hot for too long, corals loose their colour and can die. Global warm­ing will also mean more in­tense storms, cy­clones, and floods that will in­ter­rupt our way of life. So, why are we still wed­ded to coal? Why are we not re­al­is­ing the job op­por­tu­ni­ties in re­new­able en­ergy? . Even Adani said re­cently “The time is now for a par­a­digm shift to re­new­able en­ergy”.

In Aus­tralia we breathe clean air, drink clean wa­ter and are blessed with bound­less sun­shine and wind. We are for­tu­nate to live in par­adise. We are also the cus­to­di­ans of the reef. But we need to step up and pro­tect it.

We can en­sure the next gen­er­a­tion in­her­its a planet with clean air, clean wa­ter and co­ral reefs. But we can no longer sit back and be com­pla­cent.

Cherry Mud­dle Aus­tralian Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety

Air­lie Beach

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