The Good Barrier Reef

Greentings Everyone! Good Guy Greg was a meme long before memes even knew they were a thing. Just as Good Guy Greg, the “Good” Barrier Reef has been a model citizen for as long as we have been around on this planet. Being the largest coral reef system, composed of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, spanning over an area of 344,400 square kilometers, this natural wonder of the world does more than just looking pretty for tourists, no wonder it is Great! Fostering diverse ecosystems, by providing habitats and shelter for marine animals, protecting coastlines against damaging effects of waves and tropical storms, sources of nitrogen and other essential minerals for the marine food chain and assisting in carbon and nitrogen fixing, these are just some of the benefits of this big friendly giant. Being a scuba diver, this topic is dear to heart and brings me great joy every time I picture how majestic the Barrier Reef is and how vital the role it plays in keeping our natural balance.

Berlengas Natural Reserve, Portugal

Natural Balance

This natural balance between mankind and nature has been hard to strike, but it has never been more important than now. As we fight through consecutive global upheaval, we must look to nature as the beacon of hope of better things to come. Biodiversity is the building block of our society, with its ability to overcome environmental conditions and climate change, it equips natural communities with survival options that a less diverse system would simply falter to. This biodiversity is vital as we do not know every species that exist and the role they play in maintaining the balance. Coral reefs which live in the Great Barrier Reef consist of 400 different varieties of soft and hard coral, sustaining 134 different species of sharks and rays along with an extensive variety of fish and sea creatures. The Great Barrier Reef alone represents 69,000 jobs in Australia directly/indirectly and is valued at USD 6 Billion per year. This economic value is important to the communities that depend on it, the Barrier Reef however is priceless, and no imaginable economic value can be placed on it. We only have one Great Barrier Reef, a living entity that breaths, eats and excretes just like the rest of us, that enlightens our senses with the complete color spectrum, that provides us a glimpse of coexistence among species of the earth. For those lucky few who have seen and been up close and personal, I am truly jealous!

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Malaysia

Challenges

As climate change, marine pollution and overfishing take its toll on this majestic being, corals are becoming bleached, indigenous species of fish are becoming extinct and this once thriving community under the water is facing its most dire test to date. Countries must step up policies to regulate industrialization, fishing and farm pollution as to be able to turn the tide. The WWF has stated that the institutions created decades ago no longer have the capacity to face the multitude of problems popping up daily, they need our help! Volunteer, donate and lobby your local politician for meaningful change in the way we approach and interact with our Ocean’s. This call to action is not only for the Great Barrier Reef, start with the Coral Gardens closer to home, join your local scuba diving centers in coral reef clean-up activities or social outings to spread the word to the communities that depend on the Oceans. All help is welcome, let’s step up to the plate! Generation Clean!

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