We’re facing the biggest environmental challenge our generation has ever seen. No matter what we’re passionate about, something we care about will be affected by climate change.
Over the past 150 years, we’ve changed the balance of our planet by living beyond our means. We’ve burnt huge amounts of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas), bred huge amounts of methane- producing livestock and cut down vast swathes of forests, which would naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
Oceans are vital ‘carbon sinks’, meaning that they absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide, preventing it from reaching the upper atmosphere. Increased water temperatures and higher carbon dioxide concentrations than normal, which make oceans more acidic, are already having an impact on oceans.
Coral reefs are particularly at risk. Sensitive coral and algae that live on it are starved of oxygen, causing dramatic bleaching and possibly the eventual death of the coral.
If global warming remains on its upward path, by 2050 just 5% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef – will remain. It’s not only a tragedy for wildlife: around half a billion people rely on fish from coral reefs as their main source of protein.