Sustainability. Many people have heard the word, a few more have used it, and even fewer actually know what it means to employ it. Sustainability has been defined many times, but all definitions ultimately hone in on the same idea; sustainability is the key to maintaining many of earth’s resources for the continuation of most life on Earth. Allie Sibole summed up the idea pretty well in a speech she presented in 2013, “Sustainability is a moral response to an incredible gift. We cannot give back to the Earth what it gave to us…” By maintaining a sustainable level of resource use, we can ensure the future generations of life on Earth will have a place to live. The idea of sustainability is intertwined very tightly with resilience. Resilience…show more content… Some of the concepts I will be using include the I=PAT equation and several different definitions of sustainability, resilience and disturbance and how each of these are defined in the Great Barrier Reef.
In the early 2000’s, Marian Chertow wrote a paper defining the I=PAT equation and I will apply her definition to the Great Barrier Reef. The final product of the equation is I, which stands for human impact on the system and is a result of population (P), affluence (A), and technology (T).
The population that affects the Great Barrier Reef is very difficult to define accurately. There are two main groups that have direct impact on the reef and that would be the fishing industry and the tourism industry. Both of these industries have sustainable sides and unsustainable sides. For instance, endangered species living at the Great Barrier Reef, such as the dugong, many species of sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and more, can get caught in nets or hit by boats. Destructive tourism, such as touching or taking coral, and an overabundance of boats in the reef can also aid to the destruction of the reef. There is also a large indirect population that affects the coral. Anyone who eats seafood that was caught as a result of overfishing could contribute without even knowing it. Even more indirectly, anyone who contributes to atmospheric pollution potentially can be affecting the reef by compounding the effect of ocean warming and