Environmental organisation Greenpeace has come under fire for a campaign it launched depicting what could happen to the Great Barrier Reef if it was not protected properly.
The ad depicts two reefs next to each other, one thriving and colourful, and the other devastated, along with the tagline ‘don’t let them turn this…into this’.
The ad has been accused of being “misleading” as the devastated reef on the right is reported as being a reef in the Philippines that was destroyed by a typhoon, not governmental forces.
See the ad here.
From the SBS, the federal environment department has been asked to investigate whether the ad is “misleading” at all, and a complaint has been lodged.
The Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has reportedly said the government is committed to protecting the reef. Of the campaign, The Australian reported Hunt saying it’s “another example of how Greenpeace and a number of the green groups are using the Great Barrier Reef in a dishonest campaign domestically and internationally, that the reef is already dead and that Australians don’t care”.
“Greenpeace has been caught out by its own website in a deceptive campaign to have the Great Barrier Reef listed in danger. My job is to protect the reef at home and protect its reputation abroad.”
A Greenpeace spokesperson told The Australian there had not been any claim in the ad the two images were of the Great Barrier Reef.
B&T has contacted Greenpeace and is yet to hear back at the time of publish.
UPDATE: Greenpeace has responded with the below statement.
“Greenpeace has not and does not claim that both these images are of the Great Barrier Reef. One is an image of live coral and one is an image of destroyed coral.
“We have been campaigning for many years to preserve the health of the Great Barrier Reef, which is under threat from many factors including climate change, coal port expansion and industrial development. The advert is simply intended to show a visual representation of what we want to have and what we want to avoid.
“The image of destroyed coral was taken in the Philippines after a devastating typhoon in 2012 wiped out the coral in a Marine Protected Area. Climate change means more extreme weather events like that and is the number one threat to coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef. The coal being burnt in the Galilee Basin will contribute even further to runaway climate change. 50% of the coral in the Reef has died in the last 30 years, urgent action is needed now to turn this around including halting coal expansion plans at Abbot point.”
Image via Australian Geographic of Hardy Reef of the Great Barrier Reef.