‘Reef grief’ highlights need for renewed effort to protect and heal Great Barrier Reef

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Research delivered through NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub (the predecessor to NESP TWQ) has illustrated the role played by emotive media coverage of the mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017. The emotional response to mass bleaching events suggest an outpouring of sympathy for the Great Barrier Reef and a link to increased climate change awareness in general, but also risks feelings of ‘helplessness’ in individuals to be able to take effective action to protect the Reef. While reducing greenhouse emissions is vital, so is ‘maintaining hope and offering accessible actions toward attainable goals’ for a future in which coral reefs and the communities and industries that depend upon them can survive. The study, led by Dr Matt Curnock at CSIRO, has been published in Nature Climate Change and is also the subject of an article in the Conversation.