Reef Matters Seminar Series

Yolanda Waters

Saving the Great Barrier Reef: It’s all about people


From climate change to pollution to overfishing, coral reefs are now under more pressure than ever. While science and technology play a key role in helping us understand these threats and develop appropriate solutions, ultimately, saving coral reefs comes down to people; the decisions we make and the actions we take. From policymakers and government officials, farmers and tourism operators, and the broader community – we are all responsible for what happens next. But how can we make sure that everyone makes the right decisions for the reef? How can we be certain that solutions will be effectively implemented, monitored, and maintained? How can we encourage people to take actions that will help protect coral reefs into the future? In this presentation I will dive into the reef social sciences, within the context of the Great Barrier Reef, and discuss how understanding people and their behaviour plays a key role in deciding the future of the reef. To illustrate, I will give examples from my own research which explores the ways in which the Great Barrier Reef can motivate action on climate change and reflect on learnings from the recent Social Science Symposium for the Great Barrier Reef.


About Yolanda:

Yolanda is a dive instructor turned environmental social scientist, community organiser and ocean advocate. She is currently completing her PhD at the Queensland University of Technology. Her research explores pathways to engagement with climate related behaviours, within the context of the Great Barrier Reef. She is particularly interested in the effect of social and educational experiences, both above and below the water, and exploring the diverse connections between people and the reef. Yolanda is also an active member of the Social Science Community for the Great Barrier Reef and is the current coordinator for the community-led initiative Divers for Climate.