Rescue the Reef

Xander Sharpe, Columnist

Australia is best known for its beautiful coral reefs. The most famous of them, however, is the Great Barrier Reef. According to Live Science, over two million tourists from all over the world visit this reef every year. There’s one problem though; the reef is dying from warm water temperatures caused by climate change, according to CNN. Eventually, this natural wonder will cease to exist if people don’t rescue it.

Luckily, the Australian government is taking steps to protect and preserve the reef. The Australian Government is planning to use 500 million Australian dollars ($379 million U.S. dollars) in an effort to return the reef to its thriving state once more. The reef is essential to Australia’s economy, and supports over 64,000 jobs, states The New York Times. It also houses many unique Australian sea creatures. Australia’s environmental minister, Josh Frydenberg, said that they are planning ways to monitor the reef’s health and the measurements of climate change’s impact. He also said that the more they learn about the reef, the better they can help protect it.

Australia will also be attempting to improve water quality through various means: getting nearby farmers to reduce fertilizer use, investing in coral restoration, enhancing underwater monitoring, and attempting to control a destructive pest: the crown-of-thorns starfish, a species of starfish which feeds on the coral. The ravenous appetites of these starfish eventually cause the coral to be unstable and unsafe for many creatures who house themselves in it.

Unfortunately, some scientists believe new efforts may not be enough to save the reef. They say that the damage caused by climate change already is irreversible, according to the Washington Post. The solution, in the scientists’ opinions, is that Australia should concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and more importantly, reduce the use of fossil fuels to at least limit the damage. Hopefully, science and technology can be developed to better protect, preserve, and restore the reef.