The idea that surgeons have the strongest stomachs (apart from that guy on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not who ate that entire airplane) is a tired relic of the 80’s. No offence to surgeons, but every last one of them is a wuss and deserves a massive pay cut. Think about it. What would you rather be? Some guy opening up Donald Trump’s body and realising that, “my god. He really IS an Orangutan! I’m freaking out! I’m not a vet! I’m not qualified for this!” Donald Trump waking up mid surgery with his organs dangling out of his body declaring, “now that you know my secret, you must give me a huuugg.” Or would you rather be a marine biologist helplessly observing the world’s largest organism, The Great Barrier Reef, pale in front of your very eyes a little more each and every year? How could being a surgeon possibly be more emotionally draining than that?
The people a surgeon saves, for the most part, will use their new lease on life to immediately go home and watch Master Chef. That’s why they were saved right? To cry with a woman who’s crying that she burned a cake? The Great Barrier Reef on the other hand, is as innocent and sweet natured as E.T laying sick on the floor of Elliot’s bathroom, looking so hung over you expect a frat boy with a funnel to burst through the door demanding, “one more beer funnel dude! One more! You can totally do it man!”
The Great Barrier Reef is a sentient being spanning over 345,000 km, is half a million years old and has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Google. To put that in perspective, John Cootes Furniture scored a 2.6. Therefore according to humanity, The Great Barrier Reef is almost twice as important as discount beds. That’s how depressing a marine biologist’s job is. It’s the equivalent of watching two John Cootes Furniture stores putting up signs for a “Grand Closing Sale” at the same time.
Let’s take the Crown Of Thorns Starfish, that’s the threat you read about in D-Mag as a kid along with 3 or 4 facts about them… well we can condense it even further to just ONE fact! Earning us the slogan, “SBS Comedy: The service that’s still educational but less so than a magazine you bought at Coles when you were 10.”
Crown of Thorns eat their own body weight in coral daily. Incredible no? What if popcorn chicken ate another piece of popcorn chicken every day? It would be a Chicken McNugget in two days, and probably a boulder of chicken by the end of the month. Retreating to the Himalaya’s and avalanching on any Nepalese guide who dares seek it out as a cheap alternative to KFC’s ‘Mega Feed Combo’.
In the past these starfish had to be injected with a poison 40 times each. With outbreaks spanning thousands of kilometers and population densities as high as 1,500 per square kilometer, dives to kill them was probably statistically less effective than that time you had to pick up a chip packet for cleanup Australia day in Year Four. In the past year however researchers have developed a new protein strain that kills Crown of Thorn Starfish with one injection. Meaning that the number of Crown of Thorn starfish kills has jumped from 50 to over 600 each dive. Devastating news from the Crown of Thorn’s perspective. Their species’ religious nut on the train was right. The end IS nigh. A massive win for Marine biologists protecting the Reef though.
Until said Marine biologist remembers that the Crown of Thorn population boom is only a side effect of one of the reef’s most devastating problems. How devastating? If the Great Barrier Reef were a hobo handing out ‘The Big Issue’ magazines, the challenge we’re about to discuss, poor water quality, would have appeared on the front cover at least as many times as Delta Goodrem. Fourteen million tons of chemical run off seep into the reef yearly. Normally, the Crown of Thorne starfish populations would starve without a massive nutrient surplus but this is their Pizza Hut All You Can Eat buffet a.k.a the only saving grace they have. Government efforts have reduced the outflow of agricultural run off by around 140,000 tones, which is good. However this is an article about the environment. You don’t get to read this and leave feeling cozy! If you want that feeling go watch an ad for Samsung, where an astronaut takes a photo of his friend in space. In the words of a young teacher trying to establish authority in a class where she clearly doesn’t have any, “have fun in your own time! You’re here to learn!”
The Australian Federal government has recently approved a coal mine so large that when it’s fully operational it will be responsible for 4% of the world’s carbon dioxide output. All of this coal will be transported straight to not ONE mega port, no. That wouldn’t completely reverse any progress we’ve made over the last five years by a large enough margin. Queensland wants to ensure that even if every kid on the planet misbehaves, Santa will still have enough of the black stuff to punish them all. An astounding 5 mega ports are to be built along the reef, and just to give you an idea of what I mean by mega. You’ll be able to see these ports from space; essentially we are giving the planet 5 pimples in the next few years so there’ll be no Milky Way prom for Earth.
You know what the state and federal government’s consolation package is for all these zits? Around 180 million on Great Barrier Reef maintenance. That’s like knowing Proactive exists but deciding to go with Home Brand soap. Perhaps environmental action groups have been going about it the wrong way. They’ve been trying to appeal to Greg Hunt, our minister for the environment with environmental arguments, why not appeal to what he actually finds interesting? Business.
The Great Barrier Reef generates 6 billion dollars a year in revenue and we’re spending 3% on maintenance? Any CEO will tell you businesses that are profitable get at least a 5 -10% reinvested in them but instead we’re using that profit to build infrastructure that will contribute at every single level to our nation’s golden goose’s death? What we are doing is like John Pemberton, inventor of Coke, paying obese men to bathe in his factory’s mixing tubs. That, ladies and gentlemen is what marine biologists have to put up with every day. That no matter how many starfish they kill John Pemberton is still getting an Elvis impersonator to drink so much Coke that he’s able to milk the impersonators teats, bottle it in front of the marine biologist and say “here’s a free sample. What’s your opinion of the product?”
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