Capricorn coast goes green for the Reef

Revisiting ways for Capricorn Coast schools and organisations to “go green” was not a decision inspired by leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day last week – but by the threat of greenhouse gas emissions in the International Year of the Reef.

Teachers and managers made the pledge to inspire “greener living” and educate their communities about the big five threats to the Great Barrier Reef at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s recent Reef Guardian networking meeting in Yeppoon.

The annual event brings together locals working in environmental fields and Reef Guardian schools to discuss how they can look after the environment, which is particularly timely given it’s also International Year of the Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority engagement officer Rhianna Rickard said there was a keeness to focus on the biggest threat to the Reef — climate change.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are a major factor in Reef degradation and those attending the event were especially inspired to make a difference,” she said.

“The group pledged to take achievable actions like arranging carpooling, reducing the use of electricity at school, around the home and the workplace, and also making plans to plant natives and other trees.

“International Year of the Reef is a global initiative encouraging ways every one, every where can do little things to benefit reefs around the world.

“The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef ecosystem on the planet so those who live in the adjacent catchment and those who visit the Reef from all over the world can help protect this amazing natural treasure.”

Seventeen teacher representatives and 15 partner organisations attended the event.

“It was great to see the schools and organisations working together discussing the best actions to take for their local environment that will ultimately have a global impact,” Ms Rickard said.

“Fostering partnerships and working together across all sectors in Reef management and the community is a key focus for the Marine Park Authority under the Reef Blueprint.”

The Reef Guardian program recognises the good environmental work undertaken by communities, organisations and industries to protect the Reef.

It involves working closely with those who use and rely on the Reef or its catchment, for recreation or business, to help build a healthier and more resilient Reef for the future.

Similar Reef Guardian networking meetings have been held across the catchment over the last month.

The International Year of the Reef is an International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) campaign. The Marine Park Authority will co-chair the ICRI secretariat with Monaco in the 2018–2010 term, which includes International Year of the Reef activities.

Images to accompany this story can be downloaded here.