Musicians Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, both avid conservationists, are letting their voices be heard when it comes to dredging the Great Barrier Reef.
Both artists are working with Sierra Club in their online #SaveTheReef campaign. The world famous reef is home to more than 30 marine species like Bottlenose dolphins, Humpback whales, and Green and Loggerhead turtles. The reef is at risk as a result of a massive proposed coal mining project.
“I’m lucky enough to have explored the Great Barrier Reef firsthand, and feel we must do all we can to prevent irreversible damage to this incredibly diverse environment,” says Jack Johnson, a musician, avid surfer, and environmentalist.
The proposed Carmichael coal mine construction would involve dredging 3 million tons of seabed from the bottom of the reef. The dredging not only puts Australia’s $6 billion tourist industry at risk, it could also threaten the crystal clear waters around the reef. Dredging is done so that large coal, gas, and bulk carriers can access ports, but it threatens to destroy water quality and surrounding seagrass beds.
The area is a sensitive breeding ground for turtles and dugongs. Plus, the practice, which would dig up sediment from the bottom of the reef, is known to increase the risk of coral diseases like white syndrome, which causes coral tissues to fall off.
“As a surfer, I enjoy the ocean and want to protect it. As a badass, I know there are better ways to generate energy and burning coal is not one of them,” says Jason Mraz, also a musician, surfer, and environmentalist. “Wake up and tell polluters we don’t want the barrier reef destroyed for profit. Wtf!”
Some U.S. taxpayers would also unknowingly be supporting the project because Adani, the Indian company financing the plan, has requested additional funding from the U.S. Export – Import Bank, ExIm. According to Sierra Club, other banks including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Credit Agricole, and JPMorgan Chase have rejected the plan because of the potential damage it can do to a World Heritage Site.
“At a time when the Reef’s fragile and priceless ecosystem is already under siege from existing carbon pollution and increasing ocean temperatures, the last thing the world needs is yet another expensive, destructive coal project,” said John Coequyt, director of the Sierra Club’s International and Federal Climate Program in a statement. “We’ve already seen other leading financial institutions back away from this reckless project, and it’s time Ex-Im use U.S. tax dollars responsibly and follow suit.”
If you want to protect the Great Barrier Reef from destruction, go to the #SaveTheReef campaign and sign the petition. You can also help spread the word but tweeting out the petition and recruiting others to sign it as well.
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Aerial image of the Great Barrier Reef from Shuttershock