Changing Planet

Great Barrier Reef supports 64,000 jobs and generates $6.4 billion for Australian economy, Deloitte calculates

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living structure, spanning an area larger than the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the Netherlands put together, is not only a haven for countless thousands of marine species. The Great Barrier Reef also provides enormous economic services to people, with tourism, fishing, and recreational and scientific activities associated with the Reef supporting 64,000 jobs and contributing $6.4 billion (U.S. S4.9 billion) to the Australian GDP, according to an analysis published by the international financial advisory service Deloitte.

“The livelihoods and businesses the Great Barrier Reef supports across Australia far exceeds the numbers supported by many industries we would consider too big to fail,”according to a report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, At what price? The economic, social and icon value of the Great Barrier Reef.

“This timely report is a much needed, holistic view of the incredible economic value and opportunities provided by the Great Barrier Reef. Any failure to protect this indispensable natural resource would have profound impacts not only to Australia but around the worl,” former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said in reaction to the report.

The analysis follows the unprecedented massive damage done to the Great Barrier Reef for two consecutive years by bleaching, a process whereby the warming ocean has been killing off much of the coral. (Great Barrier Reef being killed by coral bleaching, Unesco warns).

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media.

Assignments in 80 countries/territories included visits to a secret rebel base in Angola, Sahrawi camps in Algeria, and Wayana villages in the remote Amazon. Braun traveled with Nelson Mandela on the liberation leader’s Freedom Tour of North America, accompanied President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to their foundation’s projects in four African countries and Mexico, covered African peace talks chaired by Fidel Castro in Havana and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in Cairo, and collaborated with Angelina Jolie at World Refugee Day events in Washington, D.C. As a member of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, and media representative to the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration, he joined researchers on field inspections in many parts of the world.

Braun has been a longtime member/executive of journalist guilds, press clubs, and professional groups, including the National Press Club (Washington) and editorial committee of the Online Publishers Association. He served as WMA Magazine of the Year Awards judge (2010-2012), advisory board member of Children’s Eyes On Earth International Youth Photography Contest (2012), and multimedia/communications affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers (2015-2017).

David Braun edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world.

He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience.

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  • Reon Brand

    I honestly think we need to stop asking accountants with a narrow materialistic worldview to calculate the value of natural assets like the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, the value from an anthropological utilitarian view is completely irrelevant. The GBR is one of the major habitats of marine diversity in the world. We are living in an age where we are watching the collapse of marine and terrestrial ecosystems like a slow car crash and we are still measuring the value of these systems in terms of human leisure? It is really insane. The true value to the sustenance of our world is incalculable and it is certainly worth tens of trillions of dollars. There will be no world economy or humans if we allow these systems to collapse.

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Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

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