Great Barrier Reef Threatened By Climate Chang, Chemicals and Sediment Michelle Innis

Article Summary: Climate change and the flow of chemicals used on farms into the waters, pose the biggest threat to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef. UNESCO released a study stating that the reef should not be placed on the "in danger list", however the report does not account for the coal mine being built near the reef and the effects the mine will have on it. After seeing this report, scientists from the ARC Center reported that the reef had experienced the worst bleaching and die off ever recorded. Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, and the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, were quoted in the report saying: “good progress has been made in the first 18 months of this 35-year plan.” This plan they are referring to is the Reef 2050 Plan. Many of the measures under the plan have been taken and are still underway. After seeing the report, Ian Chubb, formerly Australia’s chief scientist and now the chairman of an independent panel on the reef, warned that climate change posed the most significant threat to the reef. He believes the most harm will come to the reefs because of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Queensland and the federal government have said that halting nitrogen runoff from farms and fine sediment that leeches into the ocean would improve the water quality and allow the reef to better withstand the impacts of climate change and shocks from severe weather like cyclones. A new report was written to Unesco stating that the reef’s size and strength meant it could recover from the bleaching this year and that although managing the reefs risks was hard they were determined to do it. But will their efforts be enough?

Bleached Reef!

Article Analysis: The article points out that the Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger, and if we do not do something soon, could be damaged forever. Damaging the reef is dangerous because it is home to many creatures in the sea, and could ultimately lead to their extinction too! The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most, if not the most diverse ecosystem in the world. The reef protects the coastline and provides habitats for a multitude of different species. Ultimately, humans are the root of the problem. In order to help prevent the death of the reef we need to limit pollution and fertilizer runoff. We are contributing to many green houses gases and uses pesticides that contain harmful chemicals. If stronger limitations are placed on pollution emission and pesticide use, there is hope for the reefs survival. However, if we continue to use more and more pesticides and burn more greenhouse gases, the reef will suffer more and continue to die.

Takeaways: I chose this article because although I had heard that the reef was in danger, I wanted to learn more about it. I was shocked to know that the damage caused to the reef is mostly a result of human actions like burning fossil fuels, releasing too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and using harmful pesticides. Reading this article made it clear to me that the survival of the reef is in our hands. More people need to understand that our actions are having this effect. If we do not change our habits now, we risk losing one of the greatest wonders of the world and something that allows life to grow and thrive. Without the coral reef out world would not be as diverse and beautiful as it is today.

For more information on the importance of coral reefs, watch the video below!

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