The Great Australian Bight (GAB) is a stunning, pristine and unique marine environment spanning 2000 kilometres of our southern coastline.
It’s home to the largest concentrations of marine mammals, seabirds, fish and sharks in Australia. A whopping 275 previously undescribed species were discovered there in 2017!
In fact, 85% of marine life found in the Great Australian Bight is found nowhere else on earth. Eighty-five percent. Our government wants to let big oil companies risk destroying all that forever.
In what world does that sound acceptable??
Although several oil companies have cancelled drilling programs, there are still six companies with leases in the Bight, including Equinor, who has active drilling plans.
The potential environmental consequences of drilling in the Bight are devastating. Seismic testing has been found to destroy zooplankton (a primary food source for marine animals) up to a kilometre away from the actual site! The image below gives you an idea of the kind of scale we’re talking about when it comes to drilling machinery.
If drilling was to proceed, the effects of an oil spill would be much greater than the Gulf of Mexico tragedy in 2010. This is because the GAB waters are much deeper, more remote and rougher than the Gulf of Mexico. Oil spill modelling has shown that a large spill between April and May is guaranteed to impact South Australia’s coastline – 97% chance of hitting Adelaide, and a 100% chance of hitting Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island. Even a low flow spill could impact the entire Southern Australian coastline depending on conditions.
On top of environmental disaster, the effects to Australia’s coastal tourism, worth $1 billion, and SA’s fishing industry, worth $442 million, should convince you that this is an issue worth worrying about.
A pretty dire outlook isn’t it? Below I’ve listed 4 things you can do to help make a stand and let our government know that this is absolutely unacceptable.
1. Join the Great Australian Bight Alliance
Visit the GAB Alliance website and enter your details to sign their statement of concern. If you tick ‘send me email updates’ you’ll be kept updated about how everything is going.
2. Spread the Word
Share this blog post, the GAB alliance website, and links to sign petitions across all your social media. Be sure to use the official hashtag #fightforthebight. Tell your family and friends. Randoms in the street. Get the word out to as many people as possible and encourage them to add their signature to the statement of concern.
3. Follow the Story
Here’s some social media sites you can follow to show support and stay informed.
4. Donate or Volunteer
Pretty self explanatory. Donate to the effort here, or offer to volunteer here. There’s a range of different roles, including recruiting new supporters, hosting events, taking part in meetings and fundraising.
The devastation drilling in the GAB could cause is on a scale so huge it’s hard to even comprehend. I really hope you’ll consider doing some (or all!) of the things on this list and help #fightforthebight.
All images from the GAB Alliance unless otherwise indicated.