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18 Stunning Pictures Of The Great Barrier Reef That Prove It Looks As Good As It Did 50 Years Ago

All that coral bleaching is really chic.

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After all the fuss of UNESCO nearly putting the Great Barrier Reef on its World Heritage In Danger list, it's come as a huge relief to everyone that media baron Rupert Murdoch has had a squiz at the reef and declared it perfectly fine:

To the naked eye reef looks fully as good as it did 50 years ago.

1. To the naked eye, it could look like nothing much has changed...

2. But people who have been taking a closer look are worried about studies like this one from the Australian Institute of Marine Studies that found coral cover has been reduced to half of what it was in the '80s. They'll be glad to hear the good news!

Old dead plate corals on the first flank of Beaver Cay reef after damage was caused by Cyclone Hamish.
Australian Institute For Marine / PR IMAGE

Old dead plate corals on the first flank of Beaver Cay reef after damage was caused by Cyclone Hamish.

3. Other so-called scientists (because they are scientists and that is what they are called) thought that damage from cyclones has contributed to the decline of the reef.

Two areas of Bramble Reef showing differing damage after Cyclone Yasi in 2011.
Gbrmpa / PR IMAGE

Two areas of Bramble Reef showing differing damage after Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

4. Here's another pic of blue coral before and after Cyclone Ita, which we can all agree looks exactly the same!

Catlin Seaview Survey / iflscience.com

5. Scientists have even noticed an increase in cyclones that crossed the reef. There were nine category three cyclones between 2004 and 2015, compared to zero between 1970 and 2003.

And even though tropical cyclones are thought to cause 48% of all coral loss, Rupert Murdoch says he's seen no damage whatsoever! Phew.
bom.gov.au

And even though tropical cyclones are thought to cause 48% of all coral loss, Rupert Murdoch says he's seen no damage whatsoever! Phew.

6. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will be relieved, especially since their last report found "the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate in the future."

GBRMPA / PR IMAGE

7. Even more worrywarts, like Terry Hughes from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, have expressed concerns that coral is unable to recover until port activity and pollution is reduced.

Crown of thorns starfish and cyclone damage on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, 2012.
Australian Institute For Marine Science / PR IMAGE

Crown of thorns starfish and cyclone damage on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, 2012.

8. Crown-of-thorns starfish will also be grateful for the news that the reef looks fine, because they must have been feeling guilty about munching through a dinner-sized plate of coral every day.

9. And in a way, haven't we all been starfish-shaming? Who is to say that the swarms of spiny starfish reducing ancient structures to a white skeleton aren't as beautiful as the coral themselves?

10. There's only one word for this bleached-white coral: Iconic.

11. The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report says that "gradual ocean acidification will increasingly restrict coral growth and survival", but let's face it, how much coral do we really need? We looked up this picture of coral on the internet in like, 5 seconds.

Darren Jew / Greenpeace

12. If anything, all the dredging from mining projects along the coast of the reef make it look even better!

Xanthe Rivett / CAFNEC / WWF-Aus

13. Our top scientists have been wringing their hands about the reef for nothing! Just look at this stunning coral, in all the shades of brown you can imagine!

MacDonald reef after cyclone damage on the Great Barrier Reef in 2012.
Australian Institute For Marine Science / PR IMAGE

MacDonald reef after cyclone damage on the Great Barrier Reef in 2012.

14. And if that's not enough to convince you that the reef looks the same as it did, check out these pics of coral reefs at Stone Island. This one's from 1890:

15. 1915...

16. Nothing's changed in 1994...

17. And look at the same spot in 2012! Absolutely stunning.

18. Let's get out the slidey thing just so we can really see how little the reef has changed. So everybody can put away their pesky lawfare suits and finally relax!

gbr.qld.gov.au
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Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at alexandra.lee@buzzfeed.com.

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