Fish of every imaginable colour race between the corals as the sun’s rays dance through the ocean’s surface. A stingray slowly drifts by, taking its leisurely time. I encountered this breathtaking scene last month and it reminded me of how extraordinary the natural world truly is.
Friday morning nearly 100 of us gathered near the Sydney Opera House to raise awareness about the current coral bleaching event and to call on the government to get serious about fighting climate change.
You may have caught Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s video launching the #CoalFree movement to protect the things we love from coal pollution. The video features four half-naked volunteers having their bodies painted - half of them as black smoke protruding from coal stacks and the other half as all the colours of Australia’s most precious natural environments. That’s me on the right, in the spectacular colours of the Great Barrier Reef.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has tweeted the most despicable words of the election campaign so far. Across a picture of sparkling blue Great Barrier Reef waters, he has in recent days proclaimed: “Under Labor, the U.N. put the Great Barrier Reef on the in danger ‘watch-list’. Under the Coalition, it came off.”
On Sunday night, a group of Greenpeace volunteers, including myself, took to the streets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to take a stand against the coal industry and its place in causing mass coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef.
As you read this, I’m suspended from a streetlight, 15m off the ground, right outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Sydney office. With fellow volunteer, Christina, who is on another streetlight next to me, we just safely hung a banner with a strong message that Turnbull can’t miss. Here’s what it looks like:
This year the Great Barrier Reef experienced its worst bleaching event ever. Almost a quarter of the Reef died. According to Reef scientists only an immediate and drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels will save the Great Barrier Reef.
This year the Great Barrier Reef experienced its worst bleaching event ever and the Australian public didn’t let the Reef down. The public said loud and clear they support coral rather than coal. The Australian public know the fossil fuel era is over.