Every year on 16th of June, its the World Sea Turtle Day. There are 7 recognized species of sea turtles. The Leatherback, Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, Olive Ridley and Flatback. Currently, all recorded species are facing extinction, or at least an endangered status tagged on them. On this special day, social media forums were having a thunderclap, a conservation act in the form of micro blogging.
Here's why. Some species such as the loggerhead and green turtle are frequently seen in the Great Barrier Reef, located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. While others such as the Olive Ridley and Leatherback are known to occur but are seldom seen. This story is not only about turtles, but the turtles natural habitat, and thousands of other exclusive marine life. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest World Heritage Area. It contains the most extensive coral reef system on the planet, with 400 species of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It can be seen from space and covers 10% of the total coral mass on Earth. Making it the largest biological structure made by living organisms. An ecosystem so vast and rich, it is considered as Mother Nature's Mona Lisa of the ocean.
So here's the issue. The coal industry. 4 new mega ports, including one of the worlds biggest coal ports in the world is in plans to begin operation. The result would be over 100,000,000 tonnes of dredge spoil to be dumped in the world heritage waters. To top it up, an estimation of 7000 industrial ships will be crossing the reefs each year. The millions of tons of dredging and thousands of coal ships per year could turn the Reef into an industrial zone and shipping superhighway, collectively creating an environmental hazard and potential mass killings of marine life. And you thought it was protected all along? I once thought that too. We're both wrong now.
The info-graphic below that I manage to source from the Internet, shows the impulsive actions by Australia's coal export industry. For a light-box view, click on it.
To tackle this issue, following the success of Virunga National Park's conservation effort, UNESCO and The World Heritage Committee are in talks to consider the preservation of our reefs. Thus YouNesco was born. YouNesco is a new initiative created by WWF in collaboration with UNESCO to make sure that you, the people of the world, are heard when UNESCO makes big decisions. It works like this. By voting you become a YouNesco ambassador. Then when UNESCO vote on big decisions, you do too. They package up your votes and present them to the UNESCO ambassadors before they cast theirs. They get to hear from people all over the world before they vote. You get a say in what happens to your world, and play a part in the decisions that are normally made behind closed doors.
Coming back to the thunderclap, millions around the world are encouraged to tweet, post and share their concern using hashtags in every social media forums available. #FightfortheReef was the format given by UNESCO and WWF. This will create a global Social Media Storm that the World Heritage Committee and Australian Government can’t ignore. A moment where your opinion matters the most.
I did my part in Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I have to say that life begins in the ocean, and a possibility of life ending in the ocean is not something I would give up, or not fight for. The response and support I witness was overwhelming, I know I was not alone. This event took place on a special day, a day that reminds us on how gentle and beautiful turtles are. If 10% of those gentleness was replicated by mankind, I dare to say we will be living in a better and humane world.
So, the votes have flown. The meeting and case should be over by now. All we can do at this moment, is to keep our fingers crossed and hope. Hope has no boundaries and limits. This vote is not only for the turtles, but the stability and biological community they share with. Its quite a strategy to make World Sea Turtle Day as a monumental execution timeline.
Before I end this session, just ask this yourself. How would you visualise to the current generation about a Dodo? You cant, they were long gone before we even existed. Now ask yourself again, would you be able to explain a turtle instead? Of course, they are still here, living among us, sharing the world together. But do not let them to fade away and suffer the same fate as Dodo's. They deserve a chance like any other animals, most of all, compassion from us homo sapiens.
Life on Earth is beautiful by co-existing together. Like the scene of this baby turtle making its way to the ocean. They have survived over 100 million years, keeping the planet lively and full of wonder, but keep in mind if we don't act today, this baby turtle might be the last of its kind.