Last month Daisy (one of our Honeywrap crew) went to the Great barrier reef off the coast of Cairns to volunteer as part of a marine conservation dive program. We asked a few questions about how her trip went and what she learnt about the reef:
Are common perceptions about damage to the reef accurate?
I went in to this trip thinking that the reef was absolutely destroyed and dying- which in many ways it is, the reef is in danger. However, luckily the media has overplayed the damage. According to the Marine Biologists at education centre, Reef Teach Cairns, 90% of 1/3 of the reef has had severe bleaching from a warming event in 2016. On a positive note they have seen major improvements in the last year. In saying this, water temperatures are continually rising and it will continue to have some pretty considerable effects on reefs all around the world.
How does rising temperatures affect coral?
The Great Barrier Reef is made up of several species of coral. This coral feeds on algae which the warming water is killing off, directly impacting the survival of the coral. Once the algae die off the coral bleaches to an exceptionally white colour. This has a flow on effect to all species living on the reef!
What can we do to prevent damage on the reef?
The main danger to reefs around the world is climate change/temperature warming.
- Plant trees.
- Reduce your carbon footprint in any way possible
- Use less water.
- Use organic fertiliser to avoid chemicals running into the ecosystem.
- Lobby your local councils and government to consider alternative energy sources.
What did the volunteering involve?
We were mainly surveying the reef, our dive instructor and eco-manger timed us on a 10 minute dive. This involved counting how many different species we could see within that time period. We would also be given a 5x5 meter radius of coral to survey, we would then record what percentages were living, dying and rubble.
How does that fit in with your work at Honeywrap?
At Honeywrap the ocean is our main inspiration, we are always interested in learning what we can do to protect our oceans. I spent a day volunteering at a turtle sanctuary on Fitzroy island. This is a voluntary non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles. Many of the turtles in the sanctuary have been affected by plastic pollution. One turtle had been found biting his own flipper off because he was caught in a piece of plastic, others had ingested plastic and were dying of starvation. It was an amazing experience being able to visit and learn about these beautiful creatures but also very sobering seeing first hand, the effects of plastic pollution. Luckily, there is a way that each and every one of us can do to help- by saying no to single-use plastics!