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Our world is filled with more natural beauty than you can shake a scoop at. There are mountain peaks that pierce the clouds, lights that dance across the heavens, and a cave so big it has its own river, jungle and climate. While each of these wonders is amazing, our focus today is on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and what’s been happening since our Fight for the Reef Scoop Tour of 2014.
We’ll start with a little backstory to get you caught up.
Just How Great is the Great Barrier Reef?
Of all the coral reef systems in the world, only one has 'Great' in its name. Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, GBR is made up of over 2,900 individual reefs, stretches for over 1,600 miles and can even be seen from space! Also? It’s home to over 1,500 species of fish, including these little guys:
Image credit: JamesDPhotography
Why We Decided to Act
In January 2014, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved a plan to expand a coal port and dump 3 million cubic meters of dredge spoil in the GBR marine park.
What’s dredge spoil, you ask? Great question! It’s the mix of rocks, soil and shells that you get when you dig up the seabed to deepen waterways or create shipping channels.
Conservationists say dumping this waste can smother coral and expose it to high levels of toxic material. That sounds like pollution to us, and we can’t stand idly by.
What We Did
We launched the Fight for the Reef Scoop Tour. In partnership with the World Wildlife Fund Australia, our goal was simple. We wanted to give out free Ben & Jerry’s, raise awareness about the dangers facing the GBR and encourage Australians to join the fight to save their landmark.
What Happened Next
UNESCO took note of the coastal development plans and expressed concerns. There were discussions over adding the GBR to list of World Heritage Sites in Danger, but the decision was postponed until February of this year.
In January, the Australian government took a huge step in protecting the GBR by banning the dumping of dredge spoil in the GBR Marine Park. UNESCO applauded the reversal and just recently announced that the GBR will not be placed on an “in danger” list.
So We’re In the Clear Now, Right?
We wish! Pollution is only one of the problems the GBR faces. Another serious threat is climate change, a topic about which we care very deeply. We’re not only talking about ice cream when we say “If it’s melted, it’s ruined.” We’re also talking about rising sea temperatures that can lead to coral bleaching, one of the main causes of coral death around the world in the past 20 years.
It’s not too late, though! We can work together to keep coral in the GBR as bright and vibrant as nature intended it to be.
Image credit: Wibble Roisin
How You Can Help Save the Great Barrier Reef
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any new developments In the meantime, you can join millions of people around the world in calling for a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050.
We’ve partnered with AVAAZ to start a petition that will be delivered to world leaders at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015. Please sign it and share it, because the more of us who speak, the harder it will be for them to ignore us.
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