LETTER | Population control to save the Great Barrier Reef


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Dear Editor,

The film and discussion put on by Barrier Reef Legacy at the Clink Theatre on 3 May was very informative and showed how greed, bad planning and/or lack of planning has been disastrous for marine life.

But, the discussion after became a little political, but neither major party can be proud of their record on ocean sustainability.

l praise the organisers for their involvement trying to make the oceans safer and more sustainable for marine life, but they are sadly misinformed on some points that need addressing.

As for the often heard statement of the farm runoff polluting the reef; yes, decades ago, this happened but changes in farming practice have all but eliminated farm runoff.

The rivers carry silt into the oceans during the wet season and high flows, but this has been happening since rivers ran into the oceans, but to a less degree these days due to damming for city water and irrigation.

Yes, we all should be vigilant and yes, most of us want to protect the Great Barrier Reef, oceans, and landmasses so we don’t lose the wonders of nature.

I’ve been diving the reef for 40 years, was on one of the committees that advised on reef zoning, which has been one of the best management plans introduced to protect the reef.

Palau in Micronesia was pointed out how well they have managed their oceans, which is great as when l was diving there in the 80s they were negotiating fishing rights if my memory serves me correctly.

As a lot of Palauans live substance lives they allow fishing for consumption but no commercial fish, which wasn’t pointed out. But, we can take their lead by creating more ocean sanctuaries.

Coral bleaching has become a hot topic in the past decade, but how do we get coral bleaching?

Coral bleaching occurs in years when there is less cloud cover during the summer i.e. reduced monsoonal effect, which in turn allows the top few centimetres of water to get warmer than normal over the coral at low tide.
If this persists for days then the coral suffers or dies, i.e. is bleached by the raised water temperature. Its been happening for 10s of thousands of years.

I’ve heard people complaining about the rain we have had this year, the wet season is getting back to what it was like. And guess what, l bet there was no coral bleaching this year.

What can we do about climate change?
Very little as it has been happening for tens of millions of years since the earth was formed.

But what we can do is encourage world leaders to tackle population growth, which is the cause of, though very minimally, climate change.

Adani; well, there’s a debate.
The mine site is approximately 350 kilometres from the ocean and there are areas that cannot be mined, to protect the waterways and wildlife out there.

Yes, at Abbott Point where the coal will be loaded into ships, there will be silt in suspension while expanding the loading facility, but all dredged material will be deposited on land.

We live in an affluent, materialistic society!

If we play god and tell people who have nothing, they can’t have electricity, and we stop exporting coal and the likes of Adani starting, then India will procure coal from other countries that don’t burn high-grade coal, hence more carbon emissions.

Those exporting countries don’t have the laws in place to prevent the loss of coalminers' lives as we do.

So what you’re doing is killing people in 3rd world mines and preventing people from having electricity, while you go to your fridge to get a cold glass of wine or beer.

If conservationists and thinking people are serious about our climate they should lobby, as all of us should, to get world leaders to tackle population growth.

It’s a worldwide problem that has to be brought about by world leaders talking off the same page. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.

As people become more affluent they become more materialistic therefore creating more emissions.
Every time you turn on the light, heat your water, cook, and drive your car, where is the power coming from?
Will you go without power while you deny 3rd world people electricity?

A thought to finish on, here in Australia a lot of the top end from Cape York to the Indian Ocean is set on fire for no reason, as the reasons of the past are no longer relevant, as our indigenous peoples hunt in supermarkets or with guns and 4x4s.

By reducing the burn we can possible save emitting 30 per cent, at a guess, of Australia’s carbon emissions.

Ian (Cliff) Mitting, Port Douglas

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