Steph Gardner

Marine Scientist, Manly, NSW

Published 5th October 2021

I’ve been looking at coral reef ecosystems and how they deal with warming waters and stress.

I've had many field trips to the Great Barrier Reef, and often I return to the same reef. You get to know these underwater neighbourhoods like the back of your hand — you know every coral colony so well.

But when you go back to these neighbourhoods, and there's coral bleaching everywhere, it's devastating. It's like coming back to a graveyard.

The biggest thing for our ocean is to stop climate change. We need to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions — stop burning coal and gas — or our ocean is going to keep warming and become more acidic. And coral and other marine organisms just can’t cope.

"We all need to use our collective voices for this amazing earth. She’s been screaming out to us with droughts, floods, fires… We’re listening now."

Steph Gardner

Marine Scientist, Manly, NSW

The big thing our leaders need to do is recognise climate change is not just affecting the environment.

It's impacting people, nature [and] the economy. They need to understand the urgency in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

There is only one ocean, completely connected across the globe — everything is inextricably linked. What we do now at a local, regional and national level has global implications.

It's important we stand up and be part of the solution.

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