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Dolphins spotted in Broadbeach

Crystal Fox

Many people have heard of the Himalayas becoming visible and the Venice canals becoming transparent, now how has the Gold Coast been impacted by COVID 19?

The Coastal community engagement program covers all grounds when it comes to environmental sustainability on the GC.

This program is divided into three different sectors which include BeachCare, CoastEd, and CoastCare.

Their mission is to educate our community on their homes coastal processes, the abundance of seal life and vegetation, and their existence as part of a precious beach ecosystems.

Lauren Morgan, the project officer for the Coastal Community engagement program says that there has been reports on increased dolphin activity in the Broadwater due to a reduction in water traffic.

“The environment as a whole will undoubtedly benefit from a reduction of human activity ie, reduced air pollution due to dramatic reductions in air travel, general road travel and overall carbon emission”

Lauren says that there is a lack of funds in the environment industry as most of the funding is urgently needed for human health and economic respite.

“The recovery from the pandemic may have an unfavorable finanical impact on funding dependent environemntal organizations.”

Currently Beachcare has seazed their events for the foreseeable future but will definitely be up and running as soon as possible.

“I think community work and environmental citizen science will be important once we have stablized the pandemic. Getting involved in community work will bring people back together and the environment needs our help!

Maggie Muurmans, the coordinator for the Coastal community engagement program said she is interested to compare the data that is collected after the beaches open back up.

“86% of the Australian population live within an hour drive of the beach. Number of people that visit the coastal habitat, is less. Less people are trampling of the dune sites. People are walking around through dunes, a lot less of that happening”

Essentially the pressure on the environments eco-system is significantly less.

The Coastal community engagement program has prepared an online system that can still educate the community on protecting the environment whilst at home.

On the 26th of April CCEP launched a program with Toby Wild, which educates the community on BeachCare and the activities that are included.

“This shows what we do and reinforces that we have been active and make a difference in our community”.

Maggie reiterates that nature is important to tackle COVID-19.

“Looking after the environment is very important, hopefully it will create an understanding that it is a fragile place that we need to conserve at the same time”

Maggie says that the focus has changed at a local and global level and is fearful about the bat population.

“People overseas now have a fear for bats, their conservation has been effected”.

She hopes that once people can get back to their normal way of life that they will be motivated to get back out and restore things.

“Stay positive in knowing that everyone can make a difference whether it be contributing online or learning about what we can do afterwards.”

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About the Social Impact Projects

The Griffith University Social Impact Projects address five significant social justice issues faced by vulnerable communities. Expanding on the work done by Project Safe Space, and Project Open Doors, the Griffith University Social Impact Projects bring Community Partners, students and the University together to work collaboratively in the innovative solution design sprints. Initially designed to address Mental Health and Wellbeing of Griffith students, we soon realised this was a much larger issue intersecting across a number of social justice issues for students and the wider community. The Social Impact Projects aim to contribute in some small way to improving these social issues.