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Human activity.

The greatest long-term threat to the Great Barrier Reef is ocean acidification, says the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Crikey, what is this? As human activity adds more and more C[O.sup.2] pollution into the air, some of that carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean to become carbonic acid, and gradually builds up in the ocean. The higher the levels of carbonic in the ocean the more calcium is dissolved and the more difficult it is for animals to make shells and magnificent coral reefs.

Lately we've seen great progress on protecting the Reef. The Coral Sea is now one of the world's biggest marine parks--buffering the reef, excluding oil and gas, with hundreds of millions of dollars for farmers to help cut pollution from their lands. Australia is attempting to do our fair share of modest global action on climate change.

But despite this the Reef remains at grave risk. The World Heritage Bureau is actively considering whether it should be listed as World Heritage in danger. As Australians we need to continue to build public and political support to stop new ports and dredging, cut pollution from farms, improve fisheries, and lift our domestic and international efforts and ambition on climate change. The awareness, commitment, and vigour of millions of Australians has resulted in great things for our Reef and is needed now more than ever for the future.

In recent years, together, we have achieved great things. The world's best marine reserves system for Australia's extensive oceans, protection of Kakadu against uranium mining, protection of Tasmania's forests while supporting workers and industry transition, the start of a fair dinkum effort to restore the degraded Murray-Darling river system, and great conservation and indigenous outcomes for the Kimberley and Cape York. And Australia joined international efforts to tackle climate change and is doing our bit at home building jobs for a cleaner future.

Yet we all know we have so much more to do to achieve a sustainable Australia and to properly look after our magnificent environments. In these challenging times, our history as ACF and an environment movement tells us we can do this--if we do it together. We all need to inform, inspire, engage and support millions of Australians from all walks of life in this great endeavour of our times. You can do this. We can do this, together.

Don Henry is Chicago for The Climate Reality Project's Leadership training.

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Title Annotation:LETTER FROM THE CEO
Author:Henry, Don
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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