Will NT fill nature tourism void when reef dies?


p2267-Great-Barrier-ReefBy ERWIN CHLANDA
The Great Barrier Reef, because of irreversible climate change impact, “as an extensive ecosystem … must be counted among the living dead”.
This is stated by prominent environmentalist Tim Flannery in his just published book Atmosphere of Hope. Such a development will create a massive void in Australia’s nature tourism.
Setting aside the tragedy fate the reef’s fate, should the Northern Territory position itself to fill the void? We put that question to Chief Minister Adam Giles.
He says we have “some of the most pristine landscapes in the world” – assets we need to “promote, preserve and invest in” so that the tourism industry can grow.
There need to be initiatives ranging from sealing the Mereenie inner loop road in the West MacDonnell Ranges – already budgeted for – and protecting fish stocks in the Top End.
With the engagement of native title holders and traditional owners, projects should be considered such as a chair lift to the top of the range in Alice Springs, perhaps linked with the Desert Park, and a hilltop restaurant, says Mr Giles.
p2267-West-MacDonnells-OKThis is how Mr Flannery explains the fatal predicament of the reef:–
“Coral bleaching … occurs when underwater heatwaves stress the coral polyps, causing them to eject the algae living in their tissues, and so to turn white.
“Without algal partners the coral polyps cannot grow the bony skeleton that forms the reef. Indeed they cannot even properly feed themselves. Over a period of weeks the coral polyps slowly starve, then die.
“At the rate at which we are currently burning fossil fuels, the world will be around 4 degrees C warmer by 2100 than it was in 1800.
“[The Great Barrier Reef] would need to migrate southwards [into cooler waters] at the rate of 40 kilometres per year.
“Yet corals seem to be unable to migrate at rates greater than 10 kilometres per year.”
IMAGES: The Great Barrier Reef and Serpentine Gorge in the West MacDonnells.


  1. Yeh, Erwin, I love your enthusiasm for our local product. There certainly is a huge potential for further development. Amazing opportunity exists within the pristine and spectacular MacDonnell Ranges.
    Opportunity could be tapped for very little cost by opening up a few loop roads and making long term leases available for land available to entrepreneurial businesses.
    However, I don’t think we need to wait for, or for that matter even contemplate, the demise of Australia’s greatest asset, the Great Barrier Reef, to capitalize on our opportunities.
    All we really need is a bit of vision and some intestinal fortitude.
    As for Tim Flannery and his ridiculous unverifiable fear mongering overstatements, which when given that Mr Flannery more than likely knows are BS, constitute bare-faced lies about future outcomes.
    Unfortunately Mr Flannery rests comfortably in the secure knowledge that his notoriety seeking bullshit can’t be proven one way or another in his life time.
    However, if we are taking his advice we’ll have to build our tourist product around extremely high temperatures, no water and extreme storms!
    Worse, there will hardly be any tourists to attract because more than half the world’s population will have been drowned or displaced by sea level rise, leaving them in poverty, gasping for a breath and too hungry to walk.
    Dam! What a wasted opportunity!

  2. Dying from climate change? Oh pleeeze! Pollution? Yes. Too many people trampling the area? Yes. But Climate Change? Get real.

  3. If Mr Giles had any engagement with or care about the native title holders / traditional owners or any connection to traditional culture he would know that the desecration of a sacred site is completely not acceptable.
    I think many people who come to Central Australia are interested in learning about indigenous culture and most would probably not want to be party to helping destroy our unique cultural heritage, so forget about this ridiculous thought bubble, a restaurant or chairlift ride up Mt Gillen.
    It is not acceptable to TOs and I believe this has been stated often in the past.
    However, if the government and tourism industry was able to really respect Arrernte culture and values then we could begin to start creating truly unique and exciting “products” that would be highly sought after.

  4. I suppose we could try for some of the scraps that will fall off the Great Barrier Reef’s table, that is if it really dies.
    Just as likely though would be that the coral learns to migrate faster than 10 km a year.
    We will all be adapting. Why not coral?
    Those who still insist that there is no such thing as global warming simply have not been paying attention.

  5. Yeh, Hal, and those who quote its outcomes as fact are either indoctrinated by the quasi religious fear mongering by the likes of Mr Flannery or simply don’t have the ability to reason for themselves.
    Both these groups use words like the “majority of scientists” or “denier” – both being a dead giveaway of someone who actually doesn’t have the foggiest but would like to believe in something.
    Anything at all it seems, no wonder the Yanks make so much money selling religion. Facts for you, Hal, science doesn’t vote. Ever.
    On evidence something is either proven or it is not. All the science of the world cannot change a proven fact by voting upon it!
    Secondly, all real scientists are “deniers”. They always keep an open mind and are always open to new evidence.
    The evidence does seem to support some level of warming, let’s hope that this is true because climate either cools or warms and the results of cooling are too horrible to contemplate.
    Before you run off screaming “denier” analyse this.
    In today’s news it was announced we’d just experienced our warmest June since records began. The average temperature is up by a whopping 0.12 of a degree. But what does that really mean?
    An average is achieved by adding up all your information and dividing by the number of items you added, so in a 30 day month that had 15 days at 2 degrees and 15 days at 30 degrees has an average temperature of 16 degrees.
    So what does that average tell us about that place’s weather? I respectfully suggest nothing at all.
    Further, if just two of the days that were normally 2 degrees had a 3 degree and a 4 degree day respectively our monthly average would change by .1 of a degree upwards to 16.1.
    Question: Does that information really tell you anything? Unless you really want it to? What do you think, Hal?
    Personally I don’t think so. However, in spite of all that our observation tell us that climate changes constantly, presently it does appear to be warming conceivably with human assistance but who knows for how much or for how long the trend will continue.
    To answer this we ask the weather person, the same one who gets the weather wrong time and time again, just two days out!
    Yet many among us think this reason enough to behave like religious zealots reacting hysterically to idiotic predictions of doom from attention seeking opportunists like Mr Flannery cashing in on the hysteria.
    However, should we allow the lack of proven science or in reality the lack of observation over lengthy enough period from the platforms we are now using?
    Should we allow this in anyway to interfere with a global campaign to clean up pollution? Absolutely not.
    Let’s all get on with it before one way or another we poison ourselves from existence.
    Should we seek alternative energies? Your damn right we should!
    Should we stop throwing our garbage in the oceans? Your damn right we should!
    But start a new religion spruiking “the sky is falling”, “the sky is falling,” “denier,” “denier”!
    If we want our kids to have any future at all let’s try not to drown every form of intelligent life on the planet with BS!
    Question everything!

  6. @ Steve Brown. I think I would rather believe the opinion of a person who has spent their working life in scientific pursuits than a layman when it comes to global warming / climate change. Have you taken the time to read what Tim Flannery has written or any of the other climate science writers?

  7. Yeh Richard, and you probably believed all priests and social workers were there because they loved little children until the Royal Commission.
    Your comment reminds me of the old adage “there are none so blind as those that will not see”.
    Science is not a matter of belief. It’s is a matter of proven or unproven fact! Belief or blind faith belongs in the realms of religion.
    Indoctrination in a university doesn’t give you the ability to think or to question, it simply loads up your memory like a computer that spits out what its been told.
    Having spent 60 years of observation and discussion with a dad who has dedicated a lifetime to study of “A Unified Field Theory” and the Mechanics of Space Flight, I have a good enough grounding in the sciences of the universe to understand that we must “question everything”.
    I mentioned the Royal Commission because I would like you to ponder the enormous harm, the devastation, the destruction that blind unquestioning belief leaves in its wake. Give you something to think about while your out there walking the Track.

  8. The following is from the Australian Government – Australian Institute of Marine Science:
    AIMS’s modelling and experimental studies show that increased acidity impairs the ability of corals and other calcifying organisms to build their calcium carbonate skeletons, which are the backbone of tropical coral reef ecosystems.
    The resulting complex reef structures provide food and habitat for many thousands of reef-associated organisms, resulting in the incredible biodiversity of tropical coral reefs.
    Climate change is predicted to affect tropical marine systems in the following ways:
    Warmer sea surface temperatures will increase the risk of heat stress events and mass coral bleaching.
    Tropical cyclones are likely to be more intense, resulting in physical destruction and weakening of the reef structure.
    Extreme rainfall events will increase, with larger amounts of low-salinity freshwater and sediment extending further out from the coast.
    Sea levels will gradually rise, affecting coastal erosion, the magnitude of storm surges and the area available for shallow water marine organisms. Ocean circulation and upwelling patterns will change.
    Visionaries are usually persecuted in their own lifetime but revered after their death.
    Take for example Charles Darwin! Can you imagine the condemnation within the “Christian” spheres of his irreverent concepts of evolution. “Scientific” theory that is still being proven and disproven in the 21st Century!
    The lessons to be learned?
    Respect the environment, care for it, look after it, ensure a balance of commercial development, work in harmony with the Land … as it may not be in existence for your grandchildren.

  9. Re Steve Brown: How’s membership going in the Flat Earth Society?
    Please be free to to publish “your views” in any publication with more than a population of a suburb.
    Go on, let the world enjoy your commonsense.
    By the way, how’s the coffee shop attraction going up the hill?
    Next word of wisdom will be to build a set of traffic lights on a main road for five houses.
    Time to let the younger generation decide.

  10. @ Raising Alice: If you read and understood my comment you would realize that I’m not arguing against climate change or global warming or reef damage, I’m arguing about the stupid fear mongering overstatement of the facts by those who have a vested interest in scaring the pants of the population in the selfish hope that that fear will result in more coins in their own pockets.
    Hence the proliferation of parasitic organisation spruicking climate change.

  11. @ Steve Brown. Quote: “However, should we allow the lack of proven science or in reality the lack of observation over lengthy enough period from the platforms we are now using?” End of quote.
    Where does science start and where does it end? Normal science is characterized by a consensus which exists throughout the scientific community as to
    (a) the concepts used in communication among scientists,
    (b) the problems which can meaningfully be formulated as relevant research problems, and
    (c) a set of exemplary problem solutions that serve as models in solving new problems.
    “When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together. Isaac Asimov.”
    A scientific theory is the framework for observations and facts. Theories may change, or the way that they are interpreted may change, but the facts themselves don’t change.
    Facts: Yes. There is agreement among the scientific community that the earth has warmed in the last century. Here’s how the world’s most prestigious scientific bodies put it in a joint statement signed by the heads of the national science academies in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US: “Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate.
    “However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems.”
    In other words, we know that the planet is warming because temperature measurements show it and because these measurements are born out by observations such as rising sea levels, retreating snow cover and glaciers, longer growing seasons and shifting wildlife. When data gives us a result or proposed solution, we still have the option to accept, reject, or alter that outcome … don’t we?
    Quote: “Belief or blind faith belongs in the realms of religion.” Steve you forgot INTUITION.
    Data is effective, but so is the human mind, and it is the mind that decides what has meaning through its senses, emotions, and intuition. We can’t have data without its seemingly opposing counterpart – intuition. Nothing to do with religion. It is called “Gut feelings.”
    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein.
    Science and Intuition are often considered opposite ends of the spectrum, but in fact most scientists use intuition to help them define theories, discover new answers, and solve problems, they just don’t admit it.
    Why? Because the scientific method clearly tries to take the “subjective / intuitive” opinion out of the equation in favour of the “objective” data obtained.

  12. The comments above gave me the best read this week, should log in more often. I do have concerns about the environment, but I also have concerns about Tim Flannery based on his previous incorrect remarks about climate change, some things did not happen.
    However there is cause for concern about the reef. We need objective focus from all parties.

  13. Things change. I would be more worried about agricultural chemicals killing the reef. Also drains, letting fresh water into the ocean. I would think algae would grow better in warm water, there seems to be more fish in warmer waters.

  14. For centuries or almost coastal towns have dumped their storm water and sewage and in some cases put their waste dumps near the water such as on Thursday Island.
    All those years of poisoning the over there has been a real consequence and for decades we have seen the results.
    I find it ludicrous that now all that environmental vandalism is referred to as damage by global warming to our reef.
    The truth is it is man made, caused by stupidity and convenience.
    The truth is always there. Fact – poisoning the ocean will have impact. Will take time to see the damage. Please discuss the facts and stop using it to support global warming.

  15. @ Janet Brown, Posted August 26, 2015 at 4:57 am.
    While I am uncertain as to the relative levels of toxicity, I imagine the years of raw sewerage dumped off Bondi Beach had a greater polluting effect that anything dumped off Thursday Island.
    As for facts, they are tricky things, those facts.
    But here are three linked facts that even Blind Freddy is becoming aware of: The climate is changing. The globe is warming. The natural environment is being degraded.

  16. Some thoughts on the subject: The pace of Global climate change today is of a different order of magnitude from the gradual changes that previously occurred throughout the most recent era, the Cenozoic.
    The earth’s climate has gone through phases wet and dry, cold and warm, in response to many natural factors. Most of these changes have been gradual, so that the forms and communities of life have adjusted accordingly.
    There have been catastrophic climate changes that brought about mass extinctions, but over time, life adjusted even to these impacts, flowering anew in the emergence of balanced ecosystems such as those we treasure today.
    The epoch in which we live has increasingly been described in geological terms as the Anthropocene, or “Age of Humans”. Our species, (though selected to be a caretaker on the earth for the majority of us), has been the cause of such corruption and devastation on it that we are in danger ending life as we know it on our planet.
    Climate change in the past was also instrumental in laying down immense stores of fossil fuels from which we derive benefits today.
    Ironically, our unwise and short-sighted use of these resources is now resulting in the destruction of the very conditions that have made our life on earth possible.
    “The real names of global warming are Waste and Greed.”
    “We cannot value things except by selling them, and that we think it acceptable, indeed respectable, to sell anything.”
    Tourism is business, mining is business.
    Greed in business is and will remain a part of daily business and corporate affairs.
    “In keeping with our unrestrained consumptiveness, the commonly accepted basis of our economy is the supposed possibility of limitless growth, limitless wants, limitless wealth, limitless natural resources, limitless energy, and limitless debt”.
    Our current system is built to ensure the survival of greed in business.
    As long as we run our businesses based on the CEO ensuring that there is a regular uplift in profit as their most important measure of success, as long as stockholders demand their profits, as long we measure success by the amount of money someone has made, as long as our political systems are such that only money can buy an election, there is no need to talk, argue, cry for the future of our planet. We cannot serve two masters.
    We have to learn to limits our desires if we want a future for the next generations.

  17. @ Evelynne Roullet, August 27, 10am.
    Good post, Evelynne. Lately, I’ve come to see how our society values its aged citizens, those who can no longer look after themselves at home and need to be placed in care of a nursing home.
    Some of the homes I’ve seen are poorly designed and those who have to make them their home are like butterflies caught in a net.
    Aged Care in Australia is so-poorly planned for and executed that Rev. John Flynn’s initiative that became the Old Timer’s Home in Alice is remarkable for its foresight.
    Unfortunately, it appears to be unique in that it was primarily thought of as a home for bush people when they reached an age.
    The planning of many homes, city, suburban and urban are not designed with allowing the outside in, rather they seem to be a maze of corridors to keep people trapped.
    As this awaits many of us baby boomers in the not so distant future, you would think that perhaps we could get some kind of discourse going for better planning and execution of Aged Care Homes that have an Australian bush culture, rather than an olde English vibe at best.
    A doctor recently told me that land down the road from his Brisbane surgery was sold for $Xm and the Aged Care Home that occupied it for decades was forced to close.
    The last report I read on Aged Care in Australia about six months ago stated that demand for beds was approximately six months or more and that with an aging population, there simply will be no beds available within ten to twenty years.
    Anyone have any creative thoughts? Or should I get the horse ready for the ride into the sunset?

  18. @ Russel Guy: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
    “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey.

  19. it’s not global warming which is killing our reef. Humans are. Just look at the foods we eat which are all chemically tainted, e.g. fruit, chicken, vegetables etc.
    All these chemicals which are used to grow cotton in Queensland, or fruits, which require a lot of chemicals, especially cotton, where do you think the contaminated water ends Up?
    In relation to whether or not the NT is going to fill the void, I doubt.
    Alice Springs will need to clean its act. Last weekend in the Herald Sun, Alice Springs was named as the most dangerous place to live.
    It was described as the murder capital of Australia. Yes it has got some very beautiful places, but these too need a tidy up. I do believe that the Darwin and coastal area will see an increase in tourism.

  20. @ Evelynne: Nice quotes. Pity our democracy is so dysfunctional. All Aged Care Homes should have a dance floor. Live musicians could audition and disco should be Friday night.
    Murals of the Barrier Reef and other natural wonders of Australia could be painted around the walls.
    Instead of sitting down listening to people talking all the time, we could be dancing – cutting shapes.
    This should be mandatory for all existing aged care homes and future ones.
    It may ease the anti-depressant medication that many senior citizens are prescribed after admission.

  21. @ Russe Budget 2014: It is good to dream, but no chance mate.
    Budget 2014: Entitlements for older Australians cut in Hockey budget. But this is another subject all together.

  22. @ Evelyne: I happened to pick up a copy of the Aug/Sept edition of Insights, published by the Uniting Church, whose Frontier Services social welfare arm has been involved in Aged Care in the inland for 100 years.
    Insighs notes: “Achieving adequate retirement incomes while managing the fiscal cost of providing services to Australians as they live longer is one of Australia’s greatest challenges.
    “Uniting Care Australia is pleased the Government and the Greens have responded to ours and the calls of COTA and ACOSS to change the pension asset rules. These changes increase the amount of assets a person can hold before their pension is reduced.
    “They also reinstate the taper rate that was in place until 2007.
    “The changes will primarily affect people with assets worth over a million dollars (excluding their home), but will support increases to those who have less.
    “Further reforms are needed to both tax and income support systems in particular to superannuation. The status quo is wasteful, and does not target scarce public funds to those in need.”
    Obviously, aged care is one of our greatest challenges, financially and structurally. We rock ‘n’ roll, baby boomers need to wake up to it and we shouldn’t just bash or leave it to Governments to solve by magical decree.

  23. I agree with you Russel, but we are going out of the topic. May be Erwin could look into it.

  24. Starting at the controversy surrounding climate change and transiting through to aged care is not so much going off topic as exposing the monolithic focus of society on the rational mind, rather than the intuitive mind.
    We rationalise climate change and ignore the fate of the elderly.

  25. @ Russel Guy. The subject is: “Will NT fill nature tourism void when reef dies?”
    From it we went onto “climate change” even so the topic was not about it 🙂
    But have we answer the question?
    Steve Brown mentioned the spectacular MacDonnell, with just reason, but I think the Nature and Wildlife of Arnhem Land could become as popular that the Reef.

  26. Ms Brown seems to understand that polluting the oceans and waterways is not a good idea and can lead to unforeseen problems.
    It’s not a great leap to understand that polluting the atmosphere is also not a good idea and can lead to unforeseen problems.
    Like global warming for example. Whether climate change is true or not surely we must all understand that it’s time to stop polluting our planet. The more mess we make the bigger the problem.

  27. For those not afraid to see life as a circle, from the cradle to the grave, as it were, this link adds to what is said in posts to this tourism article about Aged Care, including the Dementia Wards and the Uni of the Third Age.
    This link shows how a Pre-School Centre combined with an Aged Care Home to produce some magic and it also contains the stat. which estimates that the number of persons over 65 will “double” within 25 years.
    An idea worth trying to better our world?


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