Scientists paying for advertisements to get message across

Australian scientists have paid for a full page advertisement in a Queensland newspaper – The Courier Mail – because they felt the newspaper was not covering the coral bleaching of The Great Barrier Reef adequately. Coral biologist, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, is quoted in the Guardian today saying,

One of the reasons we placed the ad in the Courier Mail was that we’ve seen very little coverage of the coral bleaching event in that paper and in fact there was a front-page story that said the coral bleaching event had been wildly exaggerated.

In solidarity with their plight I thought I’d share their advertisement too:


The Courier Mail is owned by News Corp which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a well-known climate change denier. It’s pretty depressing when a few rich people have this much power. It’s a bit like returning to the days of rule by monarch but instead of kings and queens Australians have Rupert and Gina.

So what are the scientists saying? This was in my Twitter feed today:

Terry Hughes is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesHe says, “Our estimate at the moment is that close to 50 per cent of the coral is already dead or dying.”

Australia has one of the highest carbon footprints per capita in the world. If this wasn’t shameful enough, they’ve also spent the last decade plundering their natural resources for short-term financial gain. The problem with selling all your natural resources is once they’re gone the income generated from their sale disappears too. Now, somewhat ironically, the digging up and shipping of all that coal to China and India is destroying one resource which could have provided an income stream for future generations of Australians: The Great Barrier Reef.

But it’s not all about money. Knowingly destroying The Great Barrier Reef will be one of Australia’s most disgraceful periods in history. I have been snorkelling on The Great Barrier Reef and it is still, to this day, the best experience I’ve ever had. The enchantment, the wonder, and the beauty of it is something I will treasure forever; we are stealing this from future generations. People will look back on this time and on all of us with contempt and rightly so. We have known about climate change and its effects for half a century and done nothing.

What can we do? Write to your local MP and demand they do something. Get rid of your car. Walk and cycle more. Stop eating meat. Avoid plane travel. Switch to a carbon-neutral energy provider. Plant trees. There’s probably lots more too but I have to put my kids to bed now 🙂

Don’t let Rupert Murdoch win. He’s old and will be long gone when the worst effects of climate change reach us.

14 responses to “Scientists paying for advertisements to get message across”

  1. I’m afraid I have a long way to go to redeem myself but I’m making slow progress – little meat, walk miles and carry the shopping and contribute to as many good causes as I can. And I’ve planted at least ten trees in the last 2 years alone but… I’m a sucker for bacon, we have a car and (don’t hit me) I really do like the Times. Honestly it’s only for the sport but even so it fuels the wizened weasel’s coffers…

    • Britain is much better than Australia for independent news. Although it probably has more rubbish newspapers than anywhere else too 🙂 It’s also very easy here to sign up with a carbon-neutral energy supplier. There’s so much choice! We’re with Good Energy and 6% of their gas comes from biomethane; the rest is offset through carbon reduction schemes.

      My favourite source of news is The Independent. It’s sad that there’s no longer a print version but I read it online practically everyday. The Conversation is also good.

  2. “That thing we told you was true last week? Maybe it isn’t true!” sells papers.

    Boffin-bashing sells papers.

    Scandals involving scientists sell papers.


    Accurate science reporting does not sell papers nearly as well.

    Even the Graun indulges in this stuff, as we saw with “Climategate” (the propagation of which they were almost wholly responsible for). Monbiot, who led the charge, eventually climbed down somewhat, but neither the other reporters and editors involved nor the paper as a whole ever did.

    • It really is sad and what’s worse is I wouldn’t be surprised if climate scientists get a lot of flak in future when things start getting really bad and people say, “Why didn’t you say something?”.

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