Individuals, businesses, organisations and communities will be invited to act in the best interest of the Great Barrier Reef as part of a new generation movement to conserve the World Heritage area.
Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Chief Executive Officer Andy Ridley said the movement would grow because people around the world recognised the Great Barrier Reef as a mirror for humanity and its impact on the planet.
“Right now, the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef will take your breath away, but be in no doubt that the pressures to its future are real and immediate,” he said.
“Over the past two years the Great Barrier Reef has experienced successive major bleaching events and the urgent need for action at a global and local level is critical.
“We can’t wait for someone else to take the lead, we need a massive effort at a global scale to protect and conserve the Reef.
“Ours is the first generation with the ability mobilise globally and Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef will tap into this ability to connect people around the world with the Reef, so together we can positively influence its future.”
Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef will be formally launched later this year at the inauguration of the Citizens Gateway in Cairns, an iconic 6.5-metre public sculpture designed by acclaimed Torres Strait Islander artist Brian Robinson to tell the Traditional Owners’ creation story of the Reef.
As Citizens gets ready to launch it is finalising the first projects that citizens can support through citizen science, funding or getting involved on the ground.
In addition to direct intervention projects on the Reef, the organisation is mapping out an ambitious program to engage citizens through education and by engaging with brands and communities that are adopting circular economy principles.
Mr Ridley said he was working with some of the Great Barrier Reef’s top science, community and commercial people to identify practical projects that could directly help the resilience of the Reef.
“The Citizens project is just beginning and we are under no illusion how big the task ahead is, but we know that to sit on the sidelines and not act is not good enough,” he said.
“We will need help from every quarter, but we have faith that together we can share this challenge and combat the sense of apathy that some fear will lead to the Reef disappearing on our watch.”
Mr Ridley is drawing on his expertise as the founder of Earth Hour, which harnessed the power of the crowd in more than 7000 cities and delivered conservation outcomes in multiple countries across the globe.
More recently as the CEO at Circle Economy in Amsterdam, Mr Ridley pioneered sustainability innovations across Europe using the circular economy principle where the economic prosperity of businesses and communities no longer depends on the wasteful use of resources.
Find out more about Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and register your interest at citizensgbr.org.
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