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The Great Barrier Thief

The Great Barrier Thief

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'The Great Barrier Thief' written and illustrated By Dr. Sue Pillans AKA Dr. Suzie Starfish.  The author of this book Sue is a marine biologist with a PHD in marine science. Her childhood was spent going to the beach, snorkelling and interacting with nature which inspired her to study science. Sue is now an artist and author/illustrator who loved drawing attention to environmental issues through her ocean stories. 


Sue's deep devotion for the ocean is also shared by her alter ego, Dr. Suzie Starfish, who uses the art of marine science, and storytelling to engage, educate and excite children about the wonders of our living oceans. By diving into her stories she hopes to empower children that they CAN be the change they want to 'sea' in the world.

This bright and colorful book takes us through through the Great Barrier Reef through the eyes of an under water friend, Anthia. Anthia tells the story of her experience with the water getting hotter, colour disappearing from the reef.

The 'thief' in this story is coral bleaching which literally takes the colour from the reef. Special algae, called zooxanthellae live inside the coral where the two are friends and help each other. The algae gives the coral its colour and food, and in return the coral gives the algae a sunny place to live. But when this friendship is under stress, the algae leave the coral, causing the coral to lose its colour. The algae and its colour can return to the coral but if the stress doesn't go away the coral will not survive.

The main stress to this friendship is warming sea temperatures caused by human-induced climate change which can also increase the number of severe weather events (cyclones, floods). But the health of coral reefs is also impacted by too many fish being caught and pollution of waterways which flow into the reef.

You can do your part to help conserve our reefs today by reducing your electricity use (turn off your lights), use renewable energy (such as the sun and wind), recycle, reuse and reduce waste whenever you can and ride your bike or walk instead of driving. This will help to cool things down as we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions right away. And we can do all of this with a big splash of ocean optimism!

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