Impossible things

Science, denial and the Great Barrier Reef

Featured in

  • Published 20170801
  • ISBN: 9781925498417
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IN THE SUMMER of 2016 everything changes. Portentous news should come by phone, or a knock on the door, maybe a letter dropping onto a mat. But in this case, it is everywhere. Inescapable. The Great Barrier Reef is dying, some say dead. A wave of bleaching has swept across the coral. The reef is large – the size of Japan – and it takes months to confirm what scientists already suspect. This coral-bleaching event, caused by unusually warm waters, is the worst in history.

When the surveys are released, I delve into the details. The northern reef is the worst. More than 80 per cent of the coral around Lizard Island has died. The shock is visceral, like news of a car crash. I glance up at the framed photos next to my desk: a clown fish nestles in an anemone, and a violet nudibranch dances in blue. I’d taken the photos with my ancient underwater camera, a Nikonos III, on one of those long-ago dives. Those glorious reefs. Gone. In an instant.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

About the author

Lisa Walker

Lisa Walker has worked as a zoological research assistant, lecturer in environmental interpretation, environmental educator and community relations officer for the NSW National Parks...

More from this edition

I am building a wall

Poetrywhen they ask me what i’m doingat the end of this long campaignwhen they ask which course i’m pursuingthese words are my refraini will...

Poking mullock

EssayQ: Did you hear the one about that politician you hate from the party you despise? A: The establishment and resolution of a hypothetical situation...

Discontents

EssayFIFTEEN YEARS AGO, the economist Joseph Stiglitz published a book called Globalization and its Discontents (WW Norton, 2002). For Stiglitz, globalisation meant ‘the closer...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.