On October 16, Australia and New Zealand will welcome the world’s first simultaneous running event, bringing more than 100,000 runners together with a single mission of running as one in the name of helping protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The inaugural run4reef international event will span 21 cities across the two countries, with run4reef registrations raising much-needed funds to help protect the Reef, including developing restoration programs like the innovative “plant a coral” initiative.
A portion of the funds raised directly from event registrations and peer-to-peer fundraising will go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and WWF-Australia’s work to Regenerate Australia and protect our oceans, marine wildlife and natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef.
The events are supported by internationally acclaimed marine scientist and leading authority on coral reef science and conservation, Great Barrier Reef Foundation Chief Scientist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.
“The science has been clear for a long time – climate change is the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.
“Acting to reduce global emissions to zero over the coming decade is an absolute imperative.
“Developing technologies for strategically reseeding damaged reef systems is a must as we also rapidly stabilise the climate. Not acting is not an option, we must act now to save the Great Barrier Reef as a bastion of Australia’s biodiversity and economic opportunity.”
The need to protect the reef was driven home in the State of the Environment Report released by the federal government on July 19.
The Great Barrier Reef has experienced extensive damage from mass coral bleaching events due to high sea temperatures in 2016, 2017, 2020 and this year. Ocean acidification, caused by the ocean taking up more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is now reaching a tipping point, threatening the existence of juvenile coral.
“Corals are one of the most vulnerable species on the planet due to rising water temperatures,” it says.
“We need to buy our Reef time while we rapidly reduce emissions. We need to give it every chance of survival, to help it fight back.”
Donations will help the foundation plant corals on priority areas of the Reef that have suffered damage, enabling:
- Coral IVF to help accelerate the natural coral reproductive process.
- Broken coral fragments to be collected and grown in underwater nurseries, then planted onto damaged areas of the Reef to restore and repopulate them.
- Further research into how to breed and outplant heat-tolerant corals to ensure reefs can withstand rising water temperatures due to climate change.