This is a letter I have just emailed to Environment Minister Greg Hunt, regarding the news that he has approved a massive dredging project at Abbot Point – putting the Great Barrier Reef in danger. I contacted him via GetUp! – see here for more information.
Dear Minister Hunt,
I grew up in Cairns, QLD, and played on the Great Barrier Reef as a child. We were always so careful not to touch the coral, to respect the wildlife, because we knew how important it was to protect our Reef.
My father has always working in the mining industry, and it was he who instilled in me a deep love and respect for the environment. This is not a “mining vs. the environment” issue – this is a short-term thinking vs. long-term thinking issue.
Humankind has been fervently mining fossil fuels for only around three hundred years, and we’ve burned through those fuels at an alarming rate. The world’s population has grown by a billion just while I’ve been alive. How long do you think the profits from this dredging project will last? A couple decades? One lifetime? The Great Barrier Reef has been around for 6,000 years and will continue for thousands more if we just let it.
I know you’re probably under immense pressure from the mining industry to let them “develop” this World Heritage Area. (To be frank, I find that word “develop” suspect – it smacks of “terra nullius”, of the assumption that this space is a static void just waiting for us to intervene. If you’ve swum on the Reef, you know that it is anything but static and void.)
Please remember who the government is meant to serve. No doubt there’s an argument that the profits from this dredging project would trickle down through the mining industry and benefit many Australians. But surely this argument is outweighed when the Australians in question are specifically asking you not to do this. Please listen to us. We know what we want. We want you to protect our Reef.
I look forward to hearing that the decision to dredge at Abbott Point has been revoked.
If you, too, feel strongly about this, you can find Minister Hunt’s contact details on the GetUp! website.