Friends and Colleagues,
Reef Check Australia is non-partisan, rightly and proudly so. Our volunteers, staff and board members come from all walks of life and political persuasions. What binds us together is our fascination and deep love for the environment, coupled with respect for the scientific method as a pathway to greater knowledge and rational action. Many of us are feeling a sense of loss and grief as we see our political leaders and the wider polity step away from decisive action to manage the single largest threat to reef ecosystems – climate change. We face choices, as individuals and as an organisation.
One choice is to retreat. The safety of the lounge chair, Netflix and a very large drink is attractive. We can hide. We can take a moment and recharge.
One choice is to step hard into a fight. We can march, rally and shout. We can disobey, disrupt and deny those who continue to systematically destroy this planet.
One choice is to stay the course. We can, despite the confusion in our heads, the sickness in our guts and the sadness in our hearts, breathe deeply and reflect on our place and our role. We can just keep going.
These choices are not fixed forever. If you’re feeling beaten down, it’s OK. A choice to withdraw today doesn’t preclude a fight tomorrow. To choose to fight can manifest in different ways. Each of us can make our own choice.
I’m not sure whether it is accurate or not that Buckminster Fuller, the legendary architect, was once depressed and suicidal, but the story goes that one of the things that helped lift him out of his depression was a question he asked himself. That question was ‘What work is it that wouldn’t get done if I wasn’t around to do it?’ This is a powerful question that asks us to consider our purpose. It’s from our purpose that our actions flow. It’s from our purpose that I can say what choice we’re going to make as an organisation. Reef Check Australia is not going to retreat and we aren’t going to rest.
Reef Check Australia exists so that we can feel hope and feel connected and be active. We exist so that our community can be active and contribute positively to the knowledge about reefs.
This purpose has not changed.
The rationality of science, data and action is still real.
There is a need for us, our community, our expeditions, our outreach and our data. That need hasn’t diminished, it has amplified – become more urgent. In my mind we stay the course but fight even harder to do so. We don’t change our purpose or our tactics, but we work harder and do more.
There is only one way for us to do that. We need you to volunteer, to dive, to support outreach and to help us raise funds. We exist as a community because we care and because we have hope. And we need you with us. We need to be stronger. Our strength comes from you.