Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Message from GetUp - UNESCO visit to Cairns

On Sunday a team from UNESCO will be arriving in Cairns on Sunday March 11 as part of their investigation into threats to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This is the last opportunity to ensure they leave Australia with one clear message - Australians are standing up for the reef and want to see urgent action to protect it. UNESCO (The United Nations body charged with designating and protecting World Heritage sites) has taken this extraordinary step of coming to Australia to investigate for themselves, as the Australian Government didn't even tell them that they'd approved the development of massive coal seam gas and coal export facilities on the doorstep to the Reef.

 UNESCO now has the opportunity to declare the Great Barrier Reef 'in danger', which would be a huge blow to the mining industry's expansion around Gladstone and deeply embarrassing for the Australian government. UNESCO are meeting with scientists, environment groups, state government, fishing and tourism industry representatives, local councils and mining companies, but one group's missing: the Australian community. Let's send them a message they'll remember! If enough of us get together on Sunday we can create a massive message that will be seen from the sky which says 'Save Our Reef'. It's part of UNESCO's mission to take the community's views into account, so if we show up in force, it will push UNESCO to officially list the reef as "under threat," which, in turn, will greatly embarrass the Federal Government, draw welcome media attention to the destruction of the reef, and strengthen our case for the Government stop dredging and industrial developments around the reef until a strategic plan is put in place that protects the reef. We need to show them that Australians care deeply about the reef; that we are willing to stand up for it.

 Can you come along with your friends and family and join with your community in standing up for the Great Barrier Reef?

 RSVP for this Sunday's community action here:

 WHEN: Sunday March 11th, 11am.

 WHERE: On the lawn between the Esplanade Lagoon and the Yacht Club/Salthouse. For map see here. 

 WHAT: A fun day with friends and family where we will join together and form the message 'Save Our Reef'. RSVP: 

The fragile ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef reef is already under pressure from climate change, overfishing, pollution and shipping traffic. Now these huge coal seam gas and mining industry export developments along the coast, some within the World Heritage Area, threaten the Reef's very existence. This overdevelopment and destruction has got to stop. 

We can't all meet with UNESCO - but we can stand up for the Great Barrier Reef. This Sunday UNESCO arrives in Cairns. Can you be part of a community action, along with The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace and the Cairs and Far North Environment Centre, to send a clear message to UNESCO that Australians want to save the reef? RSVP here: So far more than 75,688 GetUp members have signed the petition to immediately halt dredging millions of cubic metres of seafloor in the Gladstone Harbour, and to stop major coastal developments in the area until a strategic assessment has been completed. Together we can save this global treasure. I hope to see you, your friends and family on Sunday! 

 Paul O, for the GetUp team.

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