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The Great Barrier Reef is facing a range of pressures and all actions — big or small — matter to the future of this amazing natural wonder.

Regardless of where you live, you can take actions at home, work and school that contribute to a healthy marine environment. You can also help care for the Marine Park when visiting.

Together, we can all make a difference by looking after the Reef, helping to protect the animals and plants that call it home and the heritage and lifestyle that is important to us.

  • Reduce electricity use:
  • Turn off power at the wall when not in use
  • Use energy efficient appliances and LED light fittings
  • Catch the breeze with open windows instead of air conditioners


  • Reduce your carbon emissions when getting around:
  • Ride, walk, carpool or use public transport
  • Consider vehicles with improved fuel efficiency
  • Look at ways to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions


  • Consider using renewable energy:
  • Install solar power and solar hot water systems
  • Purchase green power if available


  • Reduce, reuse or recycle:
  • Donate items to charity or swap with friends and family, don’t send to landfill
  • Recycle whatever and whenever you can
  • Look for food and products with minimal or no packaging, or packaging that can be recycled
  • Audit how much plastic you’re using and find ways to minimise it, for example take reusable containers for your lunch, reusable shopping bags, or purchase bulk foods


  • Stop using single-use:
  • Bring your own reusable coffee cups and say no to single-use straws
  • When eating out, take reusable containers and cutlery instead of using plastic


  • Be a conscious consumer:
  • Make informed choices about the products you buy and, where possible, consider choosing sustainable and ethical products
  • Swap and share products, buy second hand, and buy locally-produced items


  • Literally make changes in your house and backyard:
  • Set up a worm farm and use the castings to fertilise your garden
  • Compost food scraps, shredded paper, grass clippings, leaves and cuttings (except noxious weeds and diseased cuttings), vacuum cleaner dust, used vegetable oil, tea leaves and bags, coffee grounds and egg shells
  • Wash your car on the lawn to minimise detergent runoff into drains
  • Operate your dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load
  • Minimise water runoff by planting trees, garden beds and ground cover around your home
  • Use environmentally-friendly cleaners and fertilisers
  • Keep gutters, sinks and drains free of chemicals and rubbish — what washes down sinks and drains could end up on the Reef
  • Clean filters in your air conditioner and dishwasher regularly so they run efficiently


  • Get involved:
  • Join community clean-ups
  • Share your messages and knowledge about the Reef with others

  • Reduce and recycle:
  • Encourage recycling at your workplace
  • Only order the stationery you need
  • Think before you print and utilise electronic publishing
  • Re-use office paper — use recycled paper and promote double sided printing and copying
  • Take your own coffee mug instead of using polystyrene cups
  • When organising events, avoid single-use plastics and look for food and products with minimal or no packaging, or packaging that can be recycled


  • Reduce energy consumption:
  • Switch off lights when not in your workplace
  • Turn your computer monitor off when not in use
  • Have your air conditioner maintained regularly

  • At home action to take to school:
  • Pack a ‘nude food’ zero waste lunchbox
  • Use bento box style lunchboxes to pack food without plastic wraps or packets
  • Use reusable water bottles, not single-use plastic


  • Get involved in school activities and education initiatives:
  • Encourage recycling and revegetation program
  • Reduce plastic use in your school and conduct a waste audit to target the most common items
  • Conserve and manage water and energy use in school buildings
  • Hold a clean-up day at your school, park, creek, beach or oval
  • Form an environmental committee in your school to make your school more sustainable
  • Join the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Reef Guardian Schools program (if your school is in the catchment region)
  • Use the 'at home' messages at your school — get everyone involved

  • Protect your patch — follow zoning rules out on the water, report illegal activity, and follow these responsible reef practices:
  • Take your rubbish home with you
  • If you see rubbish, pick it up and recycle or dispose of it thoughtfully
  • Choose high standard tourism operators with eco certification
  • Take part in Eye on the Reef, a monitoring program that enables anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef to contribute to its long-term protection. Simply download the app and share what you see or complete a monitoring survey.
  • Check out Responsible Reef Practices tips before heading out on the water. 

  • Join our online community: join us on our social media channels to hear about what’s being undertaken to protect the Reef and share your stories, photos and videos of the Reef. Sign up to our enewsletters to get regular updates.
  • Community consultation: have your say, it’s an important process that allows you to provide formal feedback on matters relating to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
  • Become a Reef Guardian: our Reef Guardian Program includes schools and councils. While Reef Guardians are located throughout the Great Barrier Reef catchment, no matter where you live you can undertake Reef Guardian-inspired activities.
  • Join environmental activities and groups: throughout the Great Barrier Reef catchment area there are organisations, activities and events helping protect the Reef. Get involved in a community group near you and start working towards a sustainable Reef.
Updated 15 May 2024
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