An Australian Icon: The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a living thing – precious and fragile. It’s the only living thing on earth that is visible from space. Climate change and the fossil fuel industry have been constant threats to the Great Barrier Reef and it needs protecting now more than ever.

Great Barrier Reef Aerials. © Michael Amendolia / Greenpeace
Divers with Danger Sign Underwater on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. © Greenpeace / Grumpy Turtle / Harriet Spark
Help protect the Great Barrier Reef

We call on the Australian Federal Government to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the impacts of climate change by replacing all coal-burning power stations with clean and safe renewable energy by 2030 and committing to net-zero by 2035.

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'SOS Protect Our Reef' Message on Beach near Cairns, Australia. © Greenpeace / Great Barrier Reef Legacy / Dean Miller

The problem

Australia’s beautiful Great Barrier Reef is under threat and in a state of emergency. As much as half of the Reef may be dead following back to back coral bleaching events in recent years.

Why is the Reef’s coral bleaching?

Tiny algae live in the tissue of coral providing it with food, and also giving coral its colour. As the ocean absorbs more and more CO2 from the atmosphere, ocean temperatures and acidity levels in the water rise. The algae become stressed and leave the coral – taking with it the coral’s source of food and its colour. The coral turns white and ‘bleaches’.

Biodiversity on the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is an irreplaceable, natural wonder of the world. It is home to more than 1500 species of fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and 133 species of sharks and rays.

These unique creatures, some found only in the Reef’s waters, depend on this complex marine ecosystem for survival. If the Reef dies – where can they go?

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