The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) created an annual campaign to raise awareness of the threats to reefs and marine life in 2015. Now in its third year, the Year of the Reef continues to promote the benefits and value of reefs across the globe.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Acting Chairman Dr Simon Banks encouraged everyone in Australia to get involved by pledging to take environmental actions at home, work and school and by attending Reef events this year.
"The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's great natural treasures and this international campaign aims to highlight the value of these precious, awe-inspiring environments and the threats faced by reefs around the world," he said.
"Since releasing our Reef Blueprint in late 2017, there is clarity on the top 10 actions the Authority will take to maximise the Reef's resilience and we're keen to work with our partners to implement this work. Working with other organisations and key partners with the International Year of the Reef is a great way to maximise efforts to promote the wonder of reef ecologies and protect them.
"It's through collective power from marine park managers, Traditional owners, the scientific community, industry, non-government organisations and individuals, that we can minimise the effects of climate change to help the Reef. Everyone — regardless of where they live — can help look after the environment. We're also promoting five actions the broader Australian community can pledge to take in their home, office or school to contribute to the environment."
- Reduce electricity use — turn off power at the wall when not in use and use energy efficient appliances and LED light fittings
- Consider using renewable energy — install solar power and hot water and purchase green power if available
- Stop using single-use coffee cups and straws — bring your own reusable coffee cups and say no to single-use straws
- Consider leaving your car at home — ride, walk, carpool or use public transport, and consider vehicles with improved fuel efficiency
- Reduce use of plastic — do a waste audit to see how much plastic you're using and where you can minimise it, for example take reusable containers for your lunch, reusable shopping bags, or purchase bulk foods
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is leading the Australian Government delegation's co-chair responsibilities with Monaco for the International Coral Reef Initiative secretariat for the 2018–20 terms, which includes International Year of the Reef happenings.
A series of activities is planned for throughout the year. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's national education centre, Reef HQ Aquarium, will offer fun and inspiring activities to educate, celebrate and motivate the public about how everyone can help protect the Reef from climate change.