Exposing the depressing reality of the damage inflicted by man upon the ocean, The Great Barrier Reef’s outlook has been officially downgraded from ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ by Australian authorities.
The reef has been a World Heritage site since 1981 due to the huge importance it plays to the ocean scientifically and environmentally.
The reef spans over 2,300km (1,400 miles) and can even be seen from outer space. It is built from billions of tiny organisms and supports a huge diversity of sea life, meaning losing it would have a catastrophic knock-on effect for the ocean and the planet.
But the coral is dying due to rising sea temperatures caused by climate change. A five-year report concludes that human-driven global warming is the biggest problem to the reef.
And urgency is needed if there is any chance of recovering it, as officials say the issue has ‘never been more time critical’.
The percentage of baby corals born in 2018 dropped by 89%, while much of the reef has suffered ‘bleaching’ in which coral begins to starve due to changes in its environment.
Unesco’s World Heritage Committee is now considering if the reef should be added to its list of ‘endangered’ sites.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is legally required to document the reef every five years.
Ten years ago the report described it as being at ‘a crossroads between a positive, well-managed future and a less certain one’.
There are no prizes for guessing which direction the reef has taken, after in 2014 scientists described it as ‘an icon under pressure’ and the most recent report concedes that ‘the region has further deteriorated and, in 2019, Australia is caring for a changed and less resilient reef’.
Some of the reef is still in a good state, but overall it is deteriorating drastically. The number of new corals plummeted by 89% thanks to bleaching events of recent years which affected a 1,500km stretch.
Is hope lost?
Though the report is extremely concerning, environmentalist groups argue all is not lost if governments and people around the world take action to reduce carbon emissions.
Imogen Zethoven, director of strategy for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said: “We can turn this around, but only if the prime minister cares enough to lead a government that wants to save it. And saving it means being a leader here and internationally to bring greenhouse gas emissions down.
“This is now the third Outlook Report. We’ve had 10 years of warnings, 10 years of rising greenhouse emissions and 10 years watching the Reef heading for a catastrophe.”
Last year, the most comprehensive analysis of the impact of food on our planet concluded that going vegan is the single biggest way we can reduce our impact on the planet.
If everyone went vegan, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% while still feeding the world.
Meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, but it uses 83% of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.
While other factors hugely influence global greenhouse gas emissions, such as air travel and a growing global population, changes in diet are the simplest and most direct everyday way to reduce our effect on the planet and in turn help to save the Great Barrier Reef.
How can the Great Barrier Reef be saved? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Vegan culture, food, beauty & more
Vegan Nottingham student creates budget-friendly oat milk machine to reduce carbon footprint and combat rising prices
- Mohsina Dodhiya
- 30th May 2023
The invention is sustainable and cost-effective. A vegan undergraduate studying product design at Nottingham Trent University has developed a container that can help people create their own oat milk at home for just 20 pence per litre. “Oatilicious,” provides significant cost savings compared to store-bought oat milk for up to £2.20 per carton. The innovative …
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Bear Grylls ’embarrassed’ by past vegan diet promotes meat, blood, and bone marrow for better health
- Mohsina Dodhiya
- 15th May 2023
“I’ve tried to listen to my body more, tried to listen to nature, and I don’t miss vegetables at all. I don’t go near them, and I’ve never felt stronger, my skin’s never been better, and my gut’s never been better.” Adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls has become a die-hard carnivore fan after admitting …
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All the quizzes you love to binge!
QUIZ: If you score 11/12 on this quiz, you’re a verified vegan food expert
- Marlon Farrugia
- 10th January 2020
How much vegan knowledge do you have stored away? Do you have to Google your way through a shopping trip, or do you have all the bad E-numbers memorised? Find out now with this quiz. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and …
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QUIZ: What is your perfect Vegan Halloween Costume?
- Marlon Farrugia
- 13th October 2019
Spook Season approaches. There will be ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and glucose. You need a costume, and you want to it to show off your personality, which means VEGAN. But what to choose? Take our quiz to find out your perfect outfit. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a …
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QUIZ: What kind of vegetable are you?
- Marlon Farrugia
- 26th September 2019
“If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be?” A question that has tormented humanity throughout the ages – until now. Read: QUIZ: If you score 19/20 on THIS quiz, you’re a Vegan God Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and …