Help protect our Reef 

Tell the Australian Government to choose coral over coal!

The Great Barrier Reef is under threat from the coal-fired climate crisis.

Climate change is driving reef bleaching and threatening the livelihood of the communities and tourism workers who depend on a healthy reef. This year the reef experienced its third mass bleaching event in just five years. It was the most widespread yet, but due to COVID-19, this devastating event went largely unnoticed.


The coal industry is the biggest driver of climate change in Australia. Scientists tell us we can have either coral or coal, but not both. Yet, the Australian government has repeatedly refused to act on climate change and instead promotes the expansion of the coal industry. 

We call on the Australian Federal Government to transition Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Will you add your name to our fight for the reef?

Increase your impact by making a donation to our Great Barrier Reef campaign

The coal industry's impact on the reef

Contaminated water

Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The water used in coal mining and transport could become contaminated, thick and cloudy, and potentially end up in the reef. Coal toxins harm marine life and cloudy water blocks sunlight, preventing algae from making food through photosynthesis.

The greenhouse gases generated by burning coal warm the ocean and increase the likelihood of coral bleaching. There have been five mass coral bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef since 1998. Coal-driven carbon dioxide in the air is also absorbed by the ocean, making the water more acidic and harming sea life. 

The dredging of the reef floor to create routes for coal ships would destroy part of the reef bed. It can cause sediments to linger for kilometres, smothering the reef. More ships mean a greater chance of hitting the Reef and spilling oil. This threatens marine species that rely on the Great Barrier Reef as a breeding ground.

Why is the coral bleaching?

Tiny algae, zooxanthellae, live in coral, providing it with food and giving coral its colour. As the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, ocean temperatures and acidity levels rise. The algae become stressed and leave the coral, taking away the coral’s food source and colour.

The burning of coal, gas and oil is the largest source of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere. Our oceans absorb this excess CO2, raising water temperatures and disrupting the natural ecosystem. As the globe warms, bleaching events like this will become more frequent and could occur annually as soon as 2030.

We must reduce the severity of further bleaching by moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy that operate with almost no CO2 emissions.

Why our Reef is so special:

The largest coral reef system in the world

The World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living structure and is the only living thing visible from space. Composed of 2900 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is as large as the land mass of Tasmania and Victoria combined (or United Kingdom, Holland, and Switzerland combined for our global readers).

A natural biological bank over 20 million years old

The Great Barrier Reef is home to a spectacular array of nearly 9,000 marine species including dugongs, dolphins, whales, jellyfish and coral. More than 1500 different species of fish live in the Great Barrier Reef, which represents 10% of the world’s fish species. At over 20 million years old, the Great Barrier Reef has survived the last glacial periods. 

Crucial to Australia’s economy and culture

The reef generates over $6 billion for Australian's economy and supports 64,000 jobs, mainly through tourism. It is culturally and spiritually important to Indigenous communities and all Australians. But the reef may disappear in just 40 years, destroying jobs and communities with it.

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