ON SUNDAY night, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority officially upgraded their rating of coral reef bleaching to threat level three: the highest possible.
This bleaching would not have occurred without the influence of climate change.
The emissions of greenhouse gases, through the mining and burning of coal, is driving the rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidity that pose the most serious threat to the survival of the reef.
The Climate Council has issued an urgent alert that finds Australia has weathered El Niño patterns for centuries, but it was only once global warming began in earnest in the 1970s that the Great Barrier Reef began to experience repeated coral bleaching events.
Although the worst bleaching is well to the north of our region, this should be a wake up call to all of us as our town relies on a healthy reef for a healthy economy.
Our beautiful part of the reef could be hit next, and our lifestyles and livelihoods will suffer.
It’s time for all Australians to stand up and demand better protection for our reef from all governments by banning new coal mines and transitioning away from coal to cleaner, more job intensive renewable energies. It’s the only way to save our reef.
Sandra Williams Airlie Beach