Save Reefs From Home

People living away from the coast or in landlocked countries are often unaware of the magnitude and the rate we are losing our reefs worldwide, as well as the fact that they also can help from their homes to save reefs. CoralWatch produced a number of factsheets highlighting facts about the Reef with many links and solutions.

Coral Reef /Great Barrier Reef Facts

What are the main threats to the Great Barrier Reef?
1. Coral bleaching (climate change)
2. Crown of thorn starfish outbreaks (nutrient loads)
3. More frequent, severe and intense storms (climate change)

How much coral is lost?
• In last 30 years, 50 % of the world’s coral reefs have been lost.
• In the last 20 years four main bleaching events
– 1998 – 16% worlds reefs impacted, 60% GBR affected
– 2002 – >70% reefs GBR affected
201612% worlds reefs bleached, 95% northern GBR bleached, 29% GBR lost
2017 – 19% reefs GBR lost, mostly in central section

Back-to-back bleaching in 2016-2017 lead to a loss of >50% with zero recovery in between
• GBR starts to recover after back-to-back bleaching
Northwestern Australian reefs were also badly impacted
– 2016 – 60-90% of reefs bleached and died, first time bleaching on record in Kimberley – 2017 – risk of moving further south along Western Australian coast

Isn’t most of the reef already dead? Why should we even try?
⦁ The reef is not dead, it is stressed through increasing temperatures and bleaching. If water temperature drops quick back to normal, corals can survive.
⦁ It’s not too late to save our coral reefs.
⦁ We need to act now to give the reef time to bounce back.
⦁ You don’t need to live next to the reef and you don’t need to be a scientist to help the reef.
⦁ The reef has bought me so much joy in my lifetime; I want my children to experience it as well.
⦁ It’s world’s largest reef, Australia’s jewel and one of the most fascinating places
⦁ Explore it yourself and you will care and help to preserve it for future generations
⦁ Become a CoralWatcher and help to collect data on coral health and see the reef recover.
⦁ A lot of science is lost when communicating it to the public, especially through media outlets

Inspirational people involved in sustainable living

⦁ Kylie Ahern – Living off grid

⦁ Rogue Ginger – Zero waste

Value of the Great Barrier Reef
56 billion total economic, social and icon asset value
• $6.4 billion Australian economic contribution annually
• 64,000 jobs supported by the GBR
2 million visitors every year

What are the main causes of mass bleaching / coral reef mortality?
There is only one answer: Climate Change and Global Warming caused by humans, including in Australia, but what does this mean:
• Increased carbon emissions
– Global CO2 concentrations passed 400 ppm – the last time CO2 levels were this high, humans did not exist

• Increasing ocean temperatures
– Limiting warming to below 1.5°C is required to preserve >10% of coral reefs worldwide

• Sea-level rise
– The last half century, sea level rose about 2-3 mm and by 2100 sea-level-rise is expected to be 0.26 to 0.98 m globally and 0.68 m on the GBR
– At least $226 billion of assets and infrastructure will be exposed to inundation if sea levels rise by 1.1 m

Ocean acidification
– Ocean acidity increased by 26% since 1850, roughly 10x faster than any time in the last 55 million years – Around 1/3 to half of the CO2 released by human activities is absorbed into the oceans causing the ocean to become more acidic. This affects corals and shell-forming organisms badly, including on the GBR

What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint and help save the reef?
High impact actions
⦁ Have one fewer child
⦁ Live car free / buy more efficient car
⦁ Avoid one flight per year
Purchase renewable/ green energycoal free
⦁ Eat a plant-based diet

Moderate impact actions
⦁ Be energy efficient – do more with less
⦁ Travel smarter, live local and use public transport
⦁ Buy energy efficient products
⦁ Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Eat and buy local

Low impact actions
Conserve water
Minimise waste