For decades surfers have explored the true meanings between ones infinite connection to the ocean, whether it be through a physical, spiritual or philosophical binding. Throughout this time the cultural values have inevitably manifested into personal growth resulting in the passion to preserve and protect what we know as a prioritised love and of course our home. Australia boasts some of the World’s best waves and swell content; The Great Barrier Reef is responsible for a wide distribution of the physical ocean environment, producing diverse breaks within the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean.
The Great Barrier Reef is estimated to be 20 million years old and is located in the Coral Sea on Australia’s east coast. It is the largest coral reef system to ever exist-composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,900 kilometres (1,400 miles) over an area of approximately 344, 4000 square kilometres. The Reef is an important part of the Aboriginal Australian and Torres-Strait Islander tribe’s spirituality and is home to 30 species of cetaceans, 450 types of coral, more than 1,500 fish species, 125 species of sharks and rays, 215 bird species, 5,000 mollusc species and 6 species of turtles-it also hosts the most important global populations of dugongs and snubfin dolphin-there are more different species of animals and plants in a cubic metre of the Great Barrier Reef than in any other environment in the world. However the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from the Australian mining industry, who are planning to develop mega ports and export shipping highways in and around the Reef.
Now, the fight to protect one of the Worlds natural wonders and oldest living organisms is more important than ever before. The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has handed over environmental decisions to the state governments, making it a “one-stop” for mining giants and politicians to gain approval for projects that without a doubt will wreak irreversible damage on our World Heritage Reef. Amongst the environmental effects of climate change, ocean acidification and rising sea temperatures The Reef and it’s population are heavily impacted by noise pollution, sediment, sewage and dredging plumes, toxic run-off, corrupt management and a back-pocketing and profitable government, unfortunately this is just the start of catastrophic destruction.
One group pursuing to ‘Protect the Reef’ are Sirens for the Sea, a grassroots movement that was founded in late 2013. They are a creative, collective collaboration of scientists, industry professionals, surfers, musicians and artists. Sirens focus embraces conservation as a lifestyle choice; primarily working with local and international communities and organisations, educating and providing the general public on worldwide oceanic issues, first-hand information and experience implementing awareness, alternatives and sustainability via a range of independent assessments, various analysis, tutorials, fundraisers and industry media releases. They are currently producing a feature-length documentary directing it from the ocean, surfing and watermen connection, which will also include a bodying legal petition, leading scientists and extensive footage of their journey, the various impacts and action points giving the whole world insight to what is actually happening aside from the politics.
You can check out more on their campaign and what you can do to ‘Protect the Reef’ at http://www.sirensforthesea.org or their instagram page @protectthereefofficial