Our Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. So while our Government pushes forward with the southern hemisphere's largest open cut coal mine just across the way, Tiffany & Co just coughed up $1.4 million in funding for protection and conservation efforts.
It is all through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation's newOut of the Blue Box Challenge, which launched today, and is a global call for new ideas to bolster the Great Barrier Reef's future resilience.
The Challenge calls for innovations in finance, technology and social science to ease pressures on the Reef and allow it to recover. One winning concept, chosen by an expert panel from diverse sectors, will earn a prize of up to $300,000.
I had no idea, but it turns out The Tiffany & Co Foundation has supported coral conservation worldwide for nearly two decades. This recent local commitment focuses on recovering the Reef by funding both short and long-term solutions, including the Great Barrier Reef Foundation's Out of the Blue Box Innovation Challenge and Reef Aid, a project of Greening Australia.
"There is reason for hope," said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co Foundation. "The Foundation is proud to support two of the leading organizations working to preserve the Great Barrier Reef, one of our planet’s most significant natural assets. Together, we can find novel solutions to preserve this precious coral ecosystem and ensure that it is vibrant and healthy for generations to come."
It seems like a bit of a strange pairing - diamonds and reef conservation - but Anna Marsden, managing director of Great Barrier Reef Foundation, says it's only through only through cross-sector collaboration and diverse thinking are we going to find solutions to help our reefs recover in the face of complex threats like climate change.
"Through the Challenge, we hope to identify creative approaches to restore not only the Great Barrier Reef, but coral reefs around the world."
The Tiffany & Co Foundation is also supporting tangible conservation efforts through Reef Aid, a project of Greening Australia. Reef Aid aims to improve water quality by restoring watersheds and wetlands near the Reef, halting erosion and thus significantly reducing the amount of sediment in ocean waters.
"Greening Australia and our partners are tackling one of the most critical threats to the iconic and globally significant Great Barrier Reef," said Brendan Foran, CEO of Greening Australia. "With The Tiffany & Co Foundation's support, which will be matched with the same level of government funding, we will continue to improve water quality, boosting the Reef’s resilience to fight climate change."
The Tiffany & Co Foundation reckons these two complementary approaches will contribute to various restoration efforts already underway, balancing the need for long-term solutions with immediate, tangible actions to safeguard the world's most iconic reef.
Applications for Out of the Blue Box close September 3, and the winner will be announced in late October.
The Federal Government has announced a plan to spend $500 million dollars on saving the Great Barrier Reef - the largest single investment ever committed towards the reef's future, but that environmental activists say is still too little to preserve it in the face of climate change and ocean acidification.