On Saturday, April 3, a Chinese freighter carrying 70,000 tons of coal and 1,000 tons of engine fuel ran aground on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The ship, which was nine miles off course, is feared to be at risk of breaking apart. This would leak massive amounts of coal and fuel into one of the world’s most beautiful aquatic habitats.
While there is certain to be an investigation into the accident, deciding how the accident happened won’t mitigate the harm that it will have on the reef, the animals who make it their home, or the global impact a damaged reef will have.
With just a few weeks until Earth Day many people around the world are suddenly facing the repercussions of climate change.
Climate change is becoming apparent even to the unscientific eye, from the missing island in the Bay of Bengal to an increase in the severity of the earthquakes that have hit Haiti and Chile.
Even in my backyard on the East Coast the weather seems to have grown in intensity and the doubters’ attempts to ignore it have become less convincing.
As global citizens, parents, or just people who feel that it is our obligation to leave the world better than we found it, the story of the Chinese freighter and the Great Barrier Reef is – and should be – a call to action for all of us to finally make the changes we can to help the environment.
It also becomes more apparent than ever that we must advocate for universal standards to prevent further damage to our environment and attempt to reverse what we have already done, if we can.
It’s a shared responsibility because what happens in China, Australia, Haiti, and Chile happens to all of us.