North Queensland, Australia tourism operators have been refusing to take news media and political figures to the Great Barrier Reef for fear that reports on the bleaching of the reefs will cause visitor numbers to decline. As we've written about before, the Great Barrier Reef is facing the worst bleaching of all the reefs in the world's oceans. Bleaching, caused by global warming, extreme sunlight, rising ocean temperatures, and climate change in general, can literally cause the death of a coral reef. Coral reefs sustain myriad types of marine life, so if the reefs don't survive, neither do the marine life that rely upon the reef for survival.
According to an Australian dive operator named Tony Fontes, he gets asked repeatedly for contacts so that the media can interview other dive operators and take pictures of the bleached reefs, but nine out of ten of the divers contacted routinely refuse. Fontes goes on to say that even the most eco-minded divers don't want to bring media and politicians to see the bleached reefs because the assumption is that they just want negative "gloom and doom" stories about the reefs. The divers worry that because the tourism in North Queensland relies so heavily upon the health of the Great Barrier Reef, exposing the bleaching could threaten thousands of jobs. But Fontes rightly says that the more publicity the bleaching event gets, the greater the chance that people will take action to assist in bringing the reef back to health. The problem isn't going to go away, so it's time to make it widely known. We at Water Gallery couldn't agree more.
As always, reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve. Small, everyday changes can make a huge difference.