This is Not a Drill: Keep Australia’s Coasts Oil-Free

The Great Australian Bight, South Australia. Aussie Oc at English Wikipedia. CC 3.0

The Great Australian Bight, South Australia. Aussie Oc at English Wikipedia. CC 3.0

The Great Australian Bight is known worldwide for its beautiful oceanic environment,home to diverse forms of marine life, and its coastline lined by the longest sea cliffs in the world.  A bight is a large open bay; this specific bay runs from Cape Carnot in South Australia, all the way to Cape Pasley in Western Australia: over 700 miles of ocean and sky that thousands of whales, seals, fish, birds, plants, and surfers call home.  

Equinor, a Norwegian oil company, has plans to carry out a drilling operation in the Great Australian Bight, ultimately turning it into a deepwater oil field.  This operation would devastate the 85% of rare marine life that exists in the Bight. Not only is it endangering the various species that live among the coasts, but the increase in pollution could disrupt the people of Australia.  A potential spill in the Bight could result in the death of several endangered species: killer whales, southern right whales, blue whales, dolphins, endemic Australian sea lions, and many more. The Bight also supports multi-billion dollar fishery, aquaculture, and tourism industries.  Drilling would, most likely, halt if not destroy this economy altogether. Not unlike BP’s drilling expedition, the proposal for drilling in the Great Australian Bight could have severe consequences, and ultimately the same catastrophic ending as BP’s drilling operation could incur. 8 years after the BP oil spill, the Gulf is still experiencing significant impacts, and scientists expect them to continue.  Scientists say that they may not know for another 30 or 40 years the extent of the effects. If the Equinor drilling operation resulted in another massive oil spill in our current environmental state, our economy and Earth would take much longer to bounce back than the BP oil spill. If this were to occur in summer, it would also not only affect Australia but also places as far away as northeastern Europe. If it were to happen in winter, the oil would most likely impact Kangaroo Island, the Eyre Peninsula and the Spencer Gulf in South Australia. It could also potentially reach the Victorian and Tasmanian coastline, heading towards New Zealand.  Known the remarkable economic and environmental values that would be put at risk from Equinor’s drilling operation in the Great Australian Bight, this project should not be considered.

Equinor’s drilling plan has led activists and surfers worldwide to strike and start a viral movement, ‘#Fightforthebight,’ to save this Australian coastline.  Surfers have paddled out in peaceful protests displaying signs with slogans like “Big oil has no future” or “Kill the Drill.” Several worldwide famous surfers that call Australia home, like Stephanie Gilmore, Nat Young, Mick Fanning, and many more, have signed an open letter concerning the Equinor’s drilling proposition and its potential impact on their coasts. To take action and help keep Australia’s coasts oil-free you can sign a Statement of Concern or donate here: .

AMELIA BAUMANN is an aspiring writer and editor from New Jersey. I love to travel and am intrigued with the diversity of culture around the world.  I am passionate about our environment and  especially keeping our oceans clean.

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