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Let’s Protect The Great Barrier Reef

29th August, 2022

A natural wonder. An Aussie icon. The largest reef ecosystem in the world. The Great Barrier Reef needs our help. Climate change is devastating the biodiversity of coral reefs around the world. Causing enormous destruction including mass coral bleaching and increased cyclones. Home to a quarter of the world’s marine life, our planet depends on the Reef’s prosperity and survival. Through collective action, we can protect the Great Barrier Reef.


Cotton On Foundation X Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

This September, 100% of proceeds of Cotton On Foundation products and donations in Australia and New Zealand will support Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to deliver reef research and in-water conservation. With your contribution, we will support Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to deliver a conservation model that focuses on community, innovation, and knowledge sharing.

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is people-powered reef conservation. Consisting of Traditional Owners, conservationists, scientists, tourism operators, divers, sailors, corporations and everyday citizen scientists from across the globe who are committed to maintaining thriving reefs.

“Cotton On Foundation is helping Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef bring together a unique collective of Traditional Owners, scientists and tourism operators and to help deliver in-water conservation on one of the great natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef. Together with the Cotton On Foundation, we can mobilize the new-generation of citizen scientists to scale up conservation to a level never seen before.” — Andy Ridley, CEO, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef have a unique ability to mobilize people around the world in initiatives that are efficient and scalable to meet the escalating urgency of coral reef loss around the world. Some of their projects include:

  • Great Reef Census: To protect the Reef we must first understand it. Surveillance helps to inform scientists and managers of any threats, priority areas and future project sites. The Census mobilizes people both in the water and online to survey hundreds of reefs across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
  • Reef Cooperative: The Reef Cooperative is a collective of some of the brightest minds working collaboratively on innovative ways to protect and conserve the Reef. Coral experts, tourism leaders and reef restoration project teams, being led by Traditional Owners. The Reef Cooperative is the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef ethos in action.

This is just the start, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef hope to replicate their model across reefs globally. Because it’s only when we’re united as Citizens, that our individual actions can come together to make a real impact.

Why we need to take action for the Great Barrier Reef

It’s one of the largest carbon sinks in the world
The mangroves and seagrasses of the Great Barrier Reef act like sponges, cleaning our air by absorbing carbon and storing it. This is known as ‘blue carbon’. So, when this ecosystem is damaged or destroyed, the carbon is released back into our atmosphere, increasing the carbon dioxide in the air and advancing global warming. Our coastal ecosystems are absolutely critical in the fight against climate change. A healthy reef equals a healthy planet.

It’s the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem
The reef spans over 344,400 km2 in area. It’s bigger than Victoria and Tasmania combined, or approximately half the size of Texas. Coral reefs provide us with endless benefits and resources. From storm protection and blue carbon, to food and medicinal treatment.

It’s home to over 5,000 marine species
Including rays, whales, dolphins, more than 1500 species of tropical fish and many more. The survival of many species directly depends on the reef, but rising water temperatures, coral bleaching and population outbreaks are threatening their very existence.

Thousands of years of cultural and spiritual significance
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the Traditional Custodians of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Since the Reef’s formation, Traditional Owners have continued to care for their Sea Country through heritage values, rich culture and sustainable practices.

It’s one of the seven wonders of the world
World heritage listed for its rare natural beauty, below and above water. It’s larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living structure that’s visible from space.


What you can do

This September, donate or purchase any Cotton On Foundation product in Australia or New Zealand to make a difference. 100% of proceeds go to Citizens Of The Great Barrier Reef to deliver reef research and in-water conservation.

Sign up to become a Citizen of the Great Barrier Reef and take action for the Reef’s future.

Be kinder to the planet:

  • Avoid single-use plastic and choose reusable alternatives.
  • Get involved in your local beach clean-up days.
  • Stop microplastics from entering our oceans by using microfiber washing bags.
  • Walk, cycle or take public transport whenever you can.
  • Save water by taking shorter showers and turning off taps. It takes a lot of energy to pump, heat and treat your water.
  • Choose companies that support renewable energy or have a climate action plan.