Australians are the custodians of the Great Barrier Reef, the greatest living organism on this planet and the only living thing on earth that can be seen from space. Yet this mighty edifice has been under threat for the last fifty-seven years by a coral eating predator, the crown of thorns starfish which has already destroyed at least 50% of it’s live coral. ECOWARRIOR will investigate how this tragedy was allowed to happen when a study by the country’s leading marine biologist, Dr Robert Endean gave the authorities in charge, the cause of this environmental epidemic and a cure of how to fix the problem - fifty years ago. As pressure mounts on how to salvage what is left of the Reef, especially as the tourist industry alone is worth billions of dollars a year, ECOWARRIOR will revisit Endean’s original report and test his theory of how to return an ecological balance to the reef and counter destructive starfish numbers. All of which poses the question: why was this not done before?
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
The Great Barrier Reef is systematically being destroyed by millions of crown of thorns starfish. As a result, if not addressed immediately, the entire eco-system is doomed. Especially with added help from recent coral bleaching events caused by global warming. This film seeks to empower funders, philanthropic foundations and the general public so that they can reverse this unacceptable situation. First, by learning how this catastrophe came about then understanding that they can personally help save the 8th wonder of the world. The film is about enlightenment fostering sustainability.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
The purpose of making ECOWARRIOR is to educate everyone that they all have a role to play in protecting our environment. In particular, educating those that can fund projects like ECOWARRIOR which physically attempts to help save one of the world’s greatest environmental assets - by reinstating the natural balance of the Reef in relation to the crown of thorns starfish. This is the primary goal of this film and the focus of our campaign - together with global warming which exacerbates problem.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Short term outcome will be a campaign to target State and Federal MP’s by inviting each to an organised screening in his or her electorate together with school students and general public. Each screening followed by a Q & A session. The campaign will also consist of collecting signatures for a major petition to Government for them to implement a change in managing the starfish threat to the Great Barrier Reef as depicted in the film - i.e. introducing tritons onto the GBR and monitor their breeding.
Medium term outcome is for a new program to be set in place by Government and reef managers i.e. breeding new tritons in the wild, monitored by underwater surveillance.
Long term outcome is for an expansion of this triton breeding program - to set in place an environmental stability on the Great Barrier Reef in regard to the starfish.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
Potential audiences of ECOWARRIOR will be asked to join in a campaign to achieve outcomes promoted in film, starting with a major petition to government. Community screenings will be promoted from initial audiences and social media strategies. We intend for the campaign to initiate the first triton breeding program in the wild, then morph into a case study to be followed on multi-platform outlets. From the case study we will lobby for partnerships from community groups and business, all the while keeping pressure on government and reef managers to keep up funding for the program. Schools in particular will be targeted.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
Initial funding for ECOWARRIOR film will initiate partnership strategies with a range of environmental and community groups, several of which share a similar mission. From this initial funding, a leading financial advisor will be brought on to source further funding strategies. Also, an expert multi-media strategist will be sourced to map out a campaign.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
1. Cultivating action out of audiences to ECOWARRIOR can be initiated in Q & A sessions after screening. Once audience members are convinced that an injustice prevailed during the crown of thorns destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, initiated by those upheld to protect it, they will be more willing to encourage relatives, friends and work colleagues to attend other screenings or organise their own.
2. To sign petitions, become involved or follow a case study of the triton breeding in the wild program via multi-media.
3. These same audience members can also support this program through their social media accounts, implementing school studies or even offer donations.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
Raising funds to produce ECOWARRIOR is the first indicator for success because within the film is a study of placing a number of triton snails on a targeted reef and monitor their breeding cycle. This study was the expert advice given to the Queensland Government 50 years ago by the country’s leading expert on dangerous marine animals, only to be ignored. This is the primary goal of the film. The next indicator of success is when the Government forces reef managers to trial breeding tritons in the wild. This reflects that the film’s campaign of initiating a major petition had the desired outcome. The third indicator of success is when the reef managers initiate a permanent program to breed tritons in the wild and distribute them throughout the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. Thus reinstating a natural balance to the reef in controlling the crown of thorns starfish.