Is the Great Barrier Reef dying?

The dominant narrative with regard to this question seems to be that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is exquisitely delicate and fragile, severely under threat of dying. This belief holds that the Reef’s extinction could happen within just a few short years or decades. It’s reasonable to ask, ‘Is the Great Barrier Reef dying?’

This view is widely expressed by scientists, politicians, lobbyists, the media, and members of the public at large.

This book explores a different thesis. Far from being fragile, could the coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, and the other reefs of Australia’s waters, be more resilient than we think? Could they be resilient and robust, robust in the extreme?

Coral is an ancient and persistent life form which has outlasted the dinosaurs by a long shot. It preceded the emergence of human life by hundreds of millions of years.

So why should it now be regarded as so vulnerable? Are we about to lose the Reef?

Is the Reef doomed or is the Fragile Reef Hypothesis implausible?

Why I wrote this book and why is it important?

I guess the basic reason why I wrote this book all comes down to anger. I feel angry and exploited by the prevailing media message that all is doomed with the Great Barrier Reef.

I feel that certain media organisations just dish stuff up to us as unquestionable truth without having done their own due-diligence about whether or not their reporting stands up to rigorous examination. Some journalists who would pride themselves on the idea of being investigative journalists, have a complete blind spot when it comes to investigating the truth – or otherwise – of the messages they are giving us about the Great Barrier Reef and the other coral reefs of Australia.

A few years ago, after cyclone damage and back-to-back bleaching events, there was a massive public scare that the Great Barrier Reef was doomed. Like others, I was alarmed at the predictions that the Reef was so fragile that it could not recover. Statements like, ‘We are about to lose the Reef’ were common and widely accepted.

At first I took it all in. This was like the immediate reaction most people had. But after a while I started asking, ‘Can this really be true?’ I started researching and came to the conclusion that there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that the Reef is extremely resilient. I have set this all down in my new book. I hope you will consider buying it.  At this stage the book is only available on my website  … or by phoning or emailing me.

This issue is important because I consider the level of accurate public information about the Great Barrier Reef in particular, and the other coral reefs of Australia generally, is poor. Public information, and the role of the media generally, has become a classic case of communicating ONLY emotion and not much actual science. Communicating the actual science can be hard because it is not seen as being motivating. Communicating the emotion is easy because humans are motivated by emotions. But as a journalist, news editor, program producer, and so on, what is your moral position if you are ruthlessly using emotion to promote a scientific position that is not true? If you are doing this, you are not being true to the values of your profession.

As a journalist, it alarms me that accurate information about the Great Barrier Reef – and coral generally – is completely obscured by; emotional reasoning, appeal to the argument of consensus, appeal to the argument of authority, non sequitur and virtue signalling. These are not scientific forms of argument.

So there it is, my reason for writing this book. I just feel that we need to spend a bit more time and energy in looking ‘behind’ the emotional persuasion we are being subjected to.

Again, I hope you will consider buying this book. I think it is important.  At this stage the book is only available on my website  … or by phoning or emailing me.

Title: Will the Great Barrier Reef Survive?

Sub title: Doubting the Doomed Reef Scenario

ISBN: 97809924546-0 (pbk)

Published by: , David Mason-Jones, Journalist. 15 Valley Road, Denhams Beach, NSW, 2536. Mob: 0411 172 328. Email:

Price: $24.50 plus postage.

First published: In Australia in July 2019

Click Here to buy Will the Great Barrier Reef Survive?

About the author.

David is an Australian freelance journalist who has written on business, farming and environmental topics. He has also worked in the role of ghost writer and published several books.

His work as editor of the monthly rural publication, Small Farms Magazine, brought him into contact with environmentally conscious farmers who use nature’s processes to regenerate—not just exploit or sustain—their farming landscapes.

Through this he has learnt how natural cycles work in the environment to produce plant and animal growth. These two streams—how the natural environment works and how Science Communication works—are drawn together in this book.