Can the world’s largest living organism gain Australian citizenship?
“Sure, why not?”
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is an international treasure. In May 2019, our friends at LADbible Australia contacted the Australia Department of Home Affairs to make the “living, breathing” reef an official Aussie citizen, thus launching their CITIZEN REEF campaign to protect the GBR’s right to live. Now they’re calling for your support.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the coral reef ecosystem comprising the Great Barrier Reef spans over 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) north to south and covers some 135,000 square miles (350,000 square kilometers). She is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, home to the largest collection of corals and countless marine species, with new ones discovered every year.
“The Great Barrier Reef is made up of 2900 individual reefs and hosts over 1500 fish species, making it the biggest living reef structure in the world and one of the most important,” explains Parley Australia’s Christian Miller. “It is incredibly important for the Australian economy, but I think even more important to the oceans, marine life and to all of us. The Reef is under enormous pressure, but I recently saw with my own eyes some remarkable recovery and resilience of some coral species. To protect the GBR will be a massive task, but it is a test to determine if we are as smart as we believe we are.”
The GBR buffers coastlines from damaging tropical storms and tidal waves, regulates carbon dioxide levels in the ocean, and contributes massively to the Australian economy, generating $6.4 billion every year, supporting over 64,000 jobs and holding a modest net worth of $56 billion. She’s a really big deal, and she’s under a great deal of stress.
Coal mining, fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, pollution (plastic, chemical, noise…), and mass bleaching from a lack of action against climate change are pushing the GBR to her limit. As human actions warm and contaminate ocean waters, the reef suffers. Already more than half of the shallow water corals of the GBR have been bleached to death since 2016.
According to LADbible, by making the Great Barrier Reef an Australian citizen, she’ll be protected by four key Australian rights and freedoms:
Article 12.3 — The right to the highest attainable standard of physical health
Article 7.1 — Freedom from torture or inhuman treatment and punishment
Article 1.2 — The right to maintain your own means of subsistence
Article 6.1 — The right to life
There’s strength in numbers. Australian citizens, show your support