26 June 2015


Prominent marine conservationists Philippe Cousteau and Sylvia Earle, Aussie icon Olivia Newton-John, musician John Butler and model Laura Wells are some of the ocean champions and celebrities calling for better protection of the Great Barrier Reef in a new online video released today by WWF-Australia.

The video has been released as part of WWF’s global Draw the Line campaign, which calls on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to make a strong decision on the Reef’s future when it meets at a landmark World Heritage meeting in Bonn, Germany in two days time.

More than half a million people from hundreds of countries around the world including China, Finland, Denmark and the UK have signed up to the campaign to tell UNESCO to keep the Australian Government on probation until the health of Great Barrier Reef improves.

The Committee’s decision is critical to the future protection of the Reef - the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem - and its 6,000 marine species.

In the powerful one-minute video, Cousteau, Earle, Newton-John, Butler and Wells join children and families around the world in pledging their support to the Reef’s turtles, dolphins and dugongs. They then accept the role of Reef Ambassador and pledge to ‘draw the line’ on dredging, shipping, port development and pollution of the Reef.  

Philippe Cousteau, Co-Founder and President of EarthEcho International and grandson of the legendary undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau, said that strong public support was needed to send a clear message to UNESCO that people from all walks of life want the Great Barrier Reef protected into the future, but that time is something we don’t have.

“Simply put, either we make changes now or the Reef continues to decline. Scientists say that the Reef is in serious danger and it’s estimated that it will be decimated by the end of this century."

“When the World Heritage Committee meets to make its landmark decision on the Reef next week, it must know that the world is watching. We can no longer be passive participants in this great journey that we’re on to build a sustainable future that we all deserve,” he said.

WWF-Australia’s CEO, Dermot O’Gorman and National Manager of Marine Conservation, Rick Leck will attend the meeting in Bonn to officially present the global petition to the World Heritage Committee.

“Across the world, people young and old from different cultures understand the intrinsic beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef and the need to protect it for future generations. So it’s no surprise that this campaign has some high profile celebrities going the extra mile and pledging to become Reef Ambassadors,” Mr O’Gorman said.

A raft of celebrities have taken to social media to pledge their support for action on the Reef including Stephen Fry, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo Di Caprio, Jack Johnson and Queen Noor of Jordan - a member of the Ocean Elders group of global leaders who work to conserve and protect the world’s oceans and marine wildlife.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Rachael Bruzzese, WWF-Australia

Watch the video on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkuftBfQ5EU

Celebrity ambassadors in the video include Olivia Newton-John, Philippe Cousteau, John Butler, Sylvia Earle, Ash Grunwald, Lenka, Marc Nelson and Laura Wells.