Canberra

Threatened Coral Reefs and Dangerous Bush Fires

Language English
September 15, 2011 7 p.m. Local Time

© 2009 Flickr/Steve Evans cc by 2.0

Canberra was built in 1913 as a planned city that became the capital of Australia. A city of parks and mountains, it’s known as the “Bush Capital.” It’s also the home of the new Parliament House, completed in 1988 and designed based on the shape of two boomerangs.

Climate change is already posing a huge challenge for the government officials in Canberra. Much of Australia already has a dry climate, but droughts are now becoming more severe in the southeastern part of the country, where Canberra and other major cities are located. Along with drought comes an increase in the risk of intense fires.

Off the coast, climate change threatens to ruin the largest coral reef in the world. The Great Barrier Reef is home to one of the greatest diversities of life anywhere on the planet, with thousands of species of fish, plants, marine mammals, sea turtles and birds.

As the temperature of the seawater rises due to global warming, the animals that make up coral reefs often eject the algae that live inside their tissues, leaving the ghostly white skeleton of the reefs behind. By 2050, climate change and other local threats are expected to put nearly 95% of the Great Barrier Reef at risk.

Presented by Vanessa Morris

Vanessa Morris was the founding Executive Officer of SEE-Change (which stands for Society, Environment and Economy), a sustainability movement based in the Australian capital city of Canberra. She is a former radio broadcaster for the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) and produced morning shows for stations in Sydney and Canberra. Vanessa recently began working with the federal government’s Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, communicating to CEOs in heavy industry about energy efficiency programs and compliance.

To learn more about this presenter, click here.