The Scuba GOAT Podcast

Andy Ridley & Becky Evers - Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

May 29, 2023 Matt Waters / Andy Ridley / Becky Evers Season 4 Episode 10
The Scuba GOAT Podcast
Andy Ridley & Becky Evers - Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

THE END OF TALKING. THE AGE OF DOING.

Attention, nature enthusiasts and aspiring conservationists! An incredible opportunity has emerged that allows you to become an integral part of saving one of the world's most precious natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef. Prepare to be amazed as Citizens of The Great Barrier Reef unveil their groundbreaking AI system, inviting individuals from all corners of the globe to contribute towards its preservation and the best part? It's absolutely free!

Have you ever yearned to contribute to conservation efforts, but felt discouraged by financial constraints? Look no further, because this innovative platform offers you the chance to make a difference without spending a penny. Gone are the days of dedicating countless hours or leaving the comfort of your home to aid a cause you hold dear. Now, with just a few moments of your spare time, you can actively contribute to safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef. Are you like me? Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone during moments of boredom or while commuting? We've all fallen victim to the allure of endless, algorithm-selected content, keeping us awake into the wee hours. But imagine channeling that time into something meaningful. Picture yourself utilizing those precious moments for a higher purpose. Introducing the Great Reef Census ( https://greatreefcensus.org/ ), an extraordinary initiative that allows you to engage with thousands of meticulously collected reef photos, offering an unparalleled opportunity to participate in vital conservation work. While the photo collection continues to grow, the power of AI can only go so far. 

That's where you come in! In under a minute, you can join forces with the AI system, working hand in hand to analyze reef photos. The AI highlights a specific section, and you simply select the category that best describes it. Rest assured, you don't need to be a scientist to partake in this endeavor. The platform provides clear explanations of each category, making the selection process effortless. And once you've completed the analysis, your dashboard will reveal the precise location of the surveyed photo within the vast expanse of the Great Barrier Reef. 

See a full explanation and video

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SPEAKERS

Matt Waters, Andy Ridley, Becky Evers

 

Matt Waters  

 Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Scuba GOAT podcast. And if this is your first listen then hang on to your fins because we have a true champion of the environment. Joining us as our next guest. I'm elated to welcome Andy Ridley, the co founder of the renowned global movement Earth Hour. But that's not all. And he has also created citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and inspiring network dedicated to driving positive action for one of the world's most precious natural wonders. And speaking of natural wonders, we also have Becky Evers, join us in the conversation who is citizens project officer. With a deep rooted passion for conservation. Andy has spent years spearheading remarkable initiatives that have captured the hearts and minds of millions and today as the CEO of citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, and he continues to inspire individuals, organisations, and industries to act and protect the reef. Now last week, I had the privilege of attending the premiere screening of reshot revealed a Stan original documentary featuring citizens and their latest major plan to include everybody in the race to save the reef from climate change. And now it's your turn. Cash is always welcomed. But right now, your eyes and cameras are just as valuable. Let's dive in and find out why. Guys, welcome to the show. How are we doing in Cairns? Welcome. Well, you know, if you've got to put facts out there, you've got to be you know, shoot from the hip. Give us your cash. 

 

Andy Ridley  

True that true that, nice to see you Matt.

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah. And you, sir. And you. Let's start with you, Becky. Where are you from? How on earth? Have you ended up where you are now? And let's have a little bit of a background on your dive in as well. 

 

Becky Evers  

Okay. Well, I'm from the UK originally, I left in 2017, to move to Thailand to become a dive master, which is probably around about where I'm at you actually. And Khao Lak which is diving off the Similan islands.Yeah, worked there for a while and then moved to Australia, did a little bit of New South Wales for a bit and then ended up in Cannes and I was volunteering basically, for citizens from the first census, taking photos on the boats of the reef, getting on as many expeditions as possible taking photos on the surveys, basically. And then yeah, just been kind of around and been brought in for various elements of the life project support. And yeah, pretty much brings us to Yeah. 

 

Andy Ridley  

Well, we get to work with Becks every couple of weeks. Yeah. 

 

Becky Evers  

Oh, yeah. And I also go house. Yeah, I also go out and do the kind of film thinking Crown of the one starfish protection scheme as well. So I go out and I am part of the Yeah, the crowd of Crown of thorns project. So I got time, various parts of the reef at the moment, we're actually visiting the swains, which is pretty remote. And I'm just out there on a boat for two weeks. Yeah. starts off with just kind of a few of those, and then they they multiply very quickly. They're kind of yet, I guess, relief pests. They're very, very disruptive. And once they've started on a reef, an area of the reef, the reef will die very quickly. They really do take over. So we're out there mitigating this by injecting the starfish with vinegar.

 

 

And yeah, me a lot of surveillance as well. So even if there's no Crown of thorne starfish that present it's good for us to kind of report back on on what we're seeing. And that's kind of one part. What is it?

 

Matt Waters  

What is it that the vinegar does when you inject them?

 

Becky Evers  

It poisens them and they die. 

 

Andy Ridley  

So pretty crazy animals. If you look them up on YouTube, they look very alien. They're actually endemic, you do they are meant to be on the reef, but they have got into very sort of swarm proportions on summaries. And they're actually responsible for just over 50% of the coral cover loss currently, so so they're really serious threat. So that's one area, I guess, with EVs look, I guess the thing about EVs is you're trying to push away from you're trying to really radically change the way that we generate electricity that we use electricity and and how we don't, you know, so we definitely move away from particularly coal fired power stations, but also essentially all fossil fuel powered technology. And I guess that's kind of what that that transition is about.

 

Becky Evers  

I think probably the big question, I would go like, are we globally still taking this seriously, the progress is so slow, there is progress, but it's slow, as you know, and we're already heading towards 1.5 degrees above pre industrial. I guess the point is, is there's lots of potential ways that you could look at changing how we are responding. And there could be negatives to those as well. But I think it's just important that we are looking at the proof, you know, of what, what it is exactly we're looking at and that's what I think citizens is really trying to do is it's just try and agree with that snapshot and inform reef managers and reef scientists so we can learn more and understand what is happening and how we can better protect and better conserve.

 

 

And that's

 

Becky Evers  

where that kind of that's what citizens is kind of doing as a project. And they when we mentioned the crown of thorns starfish, these risks that are occurring towards the reef, we can look at where they're happening and why they're happening and how frequently they're happening. And then that's where we can start creating these mitigations and plans to kind of protect it.

 

Andy Ridley  

Not to make too simple, simplistic an argument about it, though, man, I reckon, you know, when you look at everything, until you get to a point where it's, you know, where renumeration and profit are my are more likely to be made by not damaging the planet, then by damaging the planet, you can't deal with these issues? And essentially, no, I guess we're we're working out is we're going okay, well, let us hope that humanity gets its act together over the next decade, decade or so. And in the meantime, we need to be doing everything we can to prepare ourselves for, you know, what we now need to do. And essentially, you've got these two things going on. The first one is you got to dramatically cut emissions. And the second one is because we left everything so late, you got to dramatically scale up conservation. I think what we're what we're working on is really well, how do you put in place the model to scale up conservation, because scale up require is going to require every asset every individual everybody can get, whether you're a diver, or whether you're working in a company somewhere in Sydney, or in London, or wherever that we need to harness the potential within those organisations and individuals. So we're building, you know, a 21st Century Conservation operation designed to be scaled. But it really does completely, you know, rely on the idea that we would also be the globe world, you know, we will actually address emissions. I mean, yeah, yeah. I think,

 

Matt Waters  

like you say, there, it's, it's more a factor of how do we present present the present the evidence, until we get to a point where everybody is involved, and like you say, those that earn the coin can actually earn a coin from doing good, rather than just making money? And I think, sorry, I was just just to finish off is like, I think, you know, there, there is no shortage of evidence to say we need to do it. But there is the the economic system doesn't provide the,

 

Andy Ridley  

the incentives to do it.

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that's a thing. And we'll talk about, in fact, I was gonna ask you about Earth Hour, but let's, let's just jump straight in on what we're wanting to talk about here. And your goals? And

 

Andy Ridley  

what is the great reef census? Let's go from there. And then let's get into Yeah, so I guess we go back to this idea of, well, how do you do scalable conservation? What we were trying to do was a very, very kind of like, what's the what's the deliverable? We want to collect reconnaissance imagery, broad scale reconnaissance imagery from an era of the same size as Germany. And we've got almost no money to do it. But there's critical data like that data will help inform where the crown of thorns are, it'll help inform the state of the reef itself, it starts to provide infrastructure for us to do reef intervention and stewardship. So so so that's what we were trying to build. We were trying to basically build soft infrastructure to do conservation on the reef, collect data, intervene where possible. And so to do that, we basically looked at a kind of shared economy model says, think about something like Uber or Airbnb, you know, it's like what assets are already there, because we don't have a billion dollars to build a research for tiller. So what assets are already there and how can we utilise them. So census essentially sends out around 100 vessels across the whole of the Great Barrier Reef, there are all sorts of different boats from tugs, to dive boats, to super yachts, to fishing boats, recreational boats, all sorts, to go and collect this basic data from as many reefs as possible. And currently, I think in the three years we've been doing this, we surveyed about 15%, that the reef using this model, the flotilla and the all you do if you're part of census is you jump in the water on a reef, we're trying to capture what each side of the reef looks like. So you can have your wild side, your lagoon side, and the pressure points on either end on an average reef. And we take you know, a couple of people in the water will take 3040 images, swimming along with five fin kicks between each photograph. And, and that gives you your basic survey. So that gives you a kind of a data that we can then go well how much coral is on that reef. And we simplify that down to look for play coral, bolder coral and branching coral. And that's the kind of the second photo it's a bit we can ask anybody who's listening to this to go now to give us a hand with Yeah, so it's bringing back really, really valuable data that's very, very current and that can be analysed very, very quickly on the state of the GBR, the Great Barrier Reef, but what I think is kind of more interesting About as a model is actually starting to provide this soft infrastructure. So we're now using it to go and do things like seagrass surveys, we're starting to look for new sites for the high, high value reefs, you know, the ones that are rebuilding the reefs around them. So there's all these kind of future opportunities around this information. And the fact that you can get to these very, very, sometimes very, very remote reefs, or sometimes, you know, the ones that tourists boats go to all the time. But you built infrastructure. So it's kind of an interesting, interesting project in that sense.

 

Becky Evers  

And everything we've done with this, we've designed so you could do it, you could take it up, you could put it in the Coral Triangle, or you could put it in the Red Sea. And so that's, that's kind of what Census does, and how it kind of works. Did I cut that off? Did that make sense? Yeah, that's it, I think it's yeah, it's like, it's really important to understand it's an incredible community effort. So you've got tourist boats that are donating one of their spots to a, you know, Project Officer such as myself or volunteer, and that will go out on that existing trip. So also just think about the images themselves, like that boats already going out there. And somebody's just getting onto that boat and then recording that roof. You know what I mean? So it's not like, Okay, we have, there's also specific expeditions. But there's also it's utilising what's existing existing infrastructure and getting people, as many people involved and by also getting the people involved. People learn on the trips, as well. So there's, I did one recently where we went out and we had the presentation at the beginning, we were talking to everybody on the boat about what we were doing and where these images were, and where these images were going. And, you know, people were getting involved, and people were really responding really well and positively to the education of it. So there's just so many factors to it. I think it's like, it's just yeah, it's a huge, I think it's a community effort in the water for a start. But now, it's also an a community effort, globally on the platform as well.

 

Matt Waters  

So we would, it's there. Sorry, Andy, is there also,

 

Andy Ridley  

if people are going out on the on the Great Barrier Reef on on little tourist trips, or Liveaboards? Anything like that? Is there a way that they can forward footage to you? Yeah, so So we built, we built a really simple kind of upload platform. So if you went on a dive trip up to the ribbons on, on the Great Barrier Reef, during census, you can take photographs with the GoPro or whatever camera you have, and upload them really simply into our system. And in fact, you know, the vast proportion of images coming in are done by, you know, people are on a dive trip or their yacht is, you know, sailing the boat up and down the reef. Or, you know, as I said before, you know, the tow company that goes out and captures images is they're doing all their servicing of the mooring lines. So, it is a real, as Beck said, you know, it's a it's a massive community effort that's quite well organised. And going on from them, and you've got the images for analysing. How many images are you getting? Because it must be quite a few. Yeah, so we we've been doing this for three years, the first year, we had about 13,000. And then a second year, we were up in the 30,000. In the third year, we've been up in the 30,000. So I think there's about 79, nearly 80,000 images in the system at the moment. And so we had this kind of crazy moment, about a year and a bit ago, where we're going, oh, shoot, we have so much data, and we can't, we can't afford to have experts analysing everything. So we started to build this kind of amazing hybrid platform, using AI and the human eye to allow us to do really fast analysis of of images coming back from the reef. And so we've got that killed sort of as a campaign running at the moment. But that is a key part of the system that we've been building. So if you've got this motley flotilla going out, we now need, you know, citizen scientists all over the world to help us do the analysis. And it's all aided by AI and you know, trained by experts. So it's pretty cool system. And we were testing that on scale at the moment. So you can help one another. And that's Yeah, and that's the thing. I mean, it's it's something that anybody anywhere in the world can do. And you can do it from your smartphone. Yeah, you can do it. Well, we had this kind of idea that we wanted to be able to get somebody who was commuting to work in Jakarta to be able to analyse an image in two minutes. That was really fast and accurately analyse it. So that's, that's what we've been what we built and it works. It's pretty amazing actually.

 

Matt Waters  

Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to see how you can analyse the images on citizens database, Nick over to our YouTube channel for the next two minutes of this episode. There is a great video showing you the full process with citizens Nicole explaining throughout. Simply follow the link in the show notes and don't forget to hit that subscribe button so you can keep up to date with all of the new content. As we build out the Scuba goat YouTube channel, I just wanted to show that how easy it is to get involved with this project, this major project that you're doing. And without the support of people being able to do this, it's gonna take you an infinite amount of time to try and analyse that data that's coming in.

 

Becky Evers  

So everyone can do that. But we really do we need everybody's help on this like this is kind of the call to action is that we need everybody to hop on online, go on to the website, analyse a photo, analyse five photos would be amazing. And Also Share It With share it with your friends, share with your family, try and spread the word on what we're trying to do here and get involved.

 

Andy Ridley  

And just yeah, if you've got a if you've got a company or you've got a big group that you're involved with, we actually can build these kind of leaderboards. So you can start to see, you know, who in your company has done the most? How many? How many images have been done. And so you can sort of gamify within an organisation. If anyone's interested in doing that, let us know as well.

 

Matt Waters  

Dude, you've just literally touched on a point that I had a little epiphany moment when the other night, over a couple of whiskies games, the everybody plays games on their phones. And there's a lot of games out there now where you need like gems or coins or tokens or something like this to play the game. So the gaming companies have these little sidelines of you know, watch this advert and get game coins or whatever for you to continue with your game. There's quite a few phone app companies in Australia. And I'm sure we've got approach those people and say, Hey, rather than getting people to look at adverts for other games, why don't you get them to analyse a few photos for us, you've already got a hierarchy there that shows that you're an ambassador for the amount of photos that you've done. And then that person in turn gets rewarded with coins or gems for their game that they're playing in relation to the amount of photos that they do. And that way the digital company is going to say, Oh, we're doing a bit of a conservation. Yeah. But at least he's getting the job done. I think it's a fantastic idea. And I think that that's the kind of the point is that it's pretty open to people being able to approach with concepts, which is those you know, it's like, it's an amazing

 

Becky Evers  

idea, and it can go in so many directions and just so many different workforces spaces. You know, we've we've been really lucky, we've got support from obviously Dow we've got Disney and Atlassian. We've got leaderboards already created for existing companies that have donated their team's workforce, and they're on their, you know, the big, large scale teams, which is really good. We've had schools, analysing images, riprap like lots of kind of masses of people is really also what we're looking for, you know, so if there's anybody that's got a concept or an idea, like come and collaborate with us, we were really, really open to just getting this project kind of out there and as many people being involved as possible. And that's what it's all about. It's this community concept of everybody being involved in being open to anyone who has access to a device.

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah, let's be fair, I'm in a great barrier reef is known by everybody in the world. You know, I can't imagine anyone not knowing what it is. Not, not in this day and age and build it. I've been able to do a bit for it. We've not touched on it yet. And they Stan, tell me about how it went with recording this. Thank you. I'll go so thank you for the for the invite and and Becky for having the eureka moment thinking that shit match down in Sydney will probably get him along to a premiere. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fantastic. But I'd love to know how it went with the recording and the day to day stresses of trying to get it to where it is now we've been able to get it on pretty well while project to get involved with we we heard.

 

Andy Ridley  

I guess we've sort of been playing around with an idea of trying to capture senses but also the other big project we run called Reef corporative to try and capture it so we can kind of share the story because it's a bit of a different model to most conservation models. And yeah, it was while we watched it in the cinema the other night, Matt and that was the first I've seen it on the big screen it comes out on Stan on June the fifth I don't know it's pretty emotional this person to be honest with you because there's kind of two years in the making. And see lots of edits of it new See, you're obviously there in the middle of it. You know when it's been filmed and stuff, but actually I think it turned out pretty well. I think you know how to how to critique Some of your kind of own stuff, but but it was it was, it was a wild experience to do it. It's not on something I hadn't done before. And it was quite interesting watching the process come together towards the end, you see the first version, you're like, Oh my God. And then you see the last version. It's like, oh, wow, that was really amazing to see all of that all those people, but there's some really beautiful bits in them in the in the movie. This feature length DACA. And there's some really cool was particularly with our partnerships with Eric kanji, traditional owners, who do loads and loads of work with and we work very closely with on the reef, and some of those bits are really quite moving. There's another bit where we took the person who leaves the AI team at Dell. And it's an amazing woman called a Runa, who'd never been in the sea before. And one of our team here Yazz took her out onto the Great Barrier Reef. So it's the first time she'd been in the ocean. And the first time it's been on the Great Barrier Reef and it was all in one garage when we asked this amazing personality. And yeah, just the look on someone's face. You forget what people you know how people react when they see something is extraordinary as a healthy reef. And it was it was bloody amazing. To be honest, that was very cool. But the movie slightly teary, you know? You're Yeah. You remember that? Oh, hell yes. Yeah, I remember. I remember the first time ever that I saw a refund. Yeah. In my mask. And I was crying, baby. I freaking loved it. Fantastic. So yeah, that I mean, that element there was and you could see her progression, how she got relaxed in the water as well. Because, you know, straightaway as an instructor you're looking and you can see a FedEx you know, bicycle kick in and, you know, 20 minutes, half an hour later, she's all over the roof and swimming like a frog. Yeah, that was really cool. It was very cool. And she anyway, she said, you live in the ocean before. And now she does. Now she's really into a swimming and, you know, but where was her work that led to the AI breakthrough. And her team that led to the AI breakthrough. This allowed us to continue to build the project with census project. So super cool on multiple levels of engagement, you know, having somebody that's got the right skill set, you know, that kind of like collaboration just by having somebody see it and witness it, you can always call out the other thing without which reminded me when I was watching the movies that the people are working on the AI, have never worked on marine stuff before. And I think there's something really interesting about bringing in people who haven't been looking at this stuff for years and years and years, as well as the experts that are already there. But there's the idea of bringing in fresh blood and different ways of looking at stuff. I think that shortcutted that whole process of in an extraordinary way, you know, so, again, to what Becky was saying is like this whole project, everything we're building with citizens is designed to try and utilise the skill and talent was sitting out there that often doesn't have anything to do with marine conservation. And if you can do that, you know, breakthroughs could be phenomenal. And

 

Matt Waters  

I wholeheartedly agree, because that's what you tend to forget when you're focused on on doing a job. And you know, I don't do anything like you guys, but just leading expeditions, you're focused on your achievement of getting people in the water and giving them a good time, but you forget about the passion that they will have in something that they've never ever witnessed before. And that, as you say, just bringing in people that have never seen it before, that must just been a monumental driver for them. Yeah, no, I definitely think it was an eye. But it's also good for us as well, because I think you do get

 

Andy Ridley  

slight tunnel vision if you work on something all the time. And so that whole the whole model is designed around, get out of the bubble. And we set up citizens in Cannes because we wanted to be absolutely on the reef not set up some, you know be set in Sydney or Brisbane or something and, you know, kind of remotely try and organise stuff. But the exciting thing from where we are at the moment is we now know we have people like that AI team was based in Singapore and Sydney the the the people who've been running the software, Sahar, she'd been running the software, they're down in Melbourne. And so we started to build this kind of cooperative, collaborative team all over the country and suddenly all over the world to try and build this thing. But I would, I would, again, reinforce the idea that kind of talent, you really need to make this sort of stuff working is not going to be all sitting in cans or on the reef itself. But having that connectivity where we're actually in the water making stuff happen, is also probably what makes him unique as well, because it's very different from the kind of more traditional conservation model which is, you know, based in the cities and you know, sort of top down

 

Matt Waters  

make good this could this be is it your goal to get this as

 

Andy Ridley  

Is Earth Hour, can it be as big if not bigger thing is the goal. But I think a lot of the Earth, what we learned in Earth was that it is possible to mobilise hundreds of millions of people. And maybe for Earth Hour that was in a symbolic sense of, you know, lights out for an hour. But actually, we went beyond the air, after about five or six years was very hard to do, but we wouldn't be on the air and we start to have really big conservation sort of results in lots of different places. I think we citizens, what were we built it the other way around from other. So if there was a campaign, and then we tried to do conservation with it, and it was very effective campaign, very hard to switch it to conservation. But it did in the end, you know, in the last year that I was running it, I think out of because WWF, World Wildlife Fund was the parent kind of company in it. And I think in the last year that we were running, I was running Earth, I think, are the top five global results for WF, three of them came out of the earth, that community. So I think what I took from that was well, how do we how do you do that? Again, if you did, again, well, how would you do it? So we actually designed citizens the other way around. So we built the constellation machine first, and that community on grounded on the Great Barrier Reef first. And then this bit that we're in now, where we're asking people to help us with the analysis that started to build the kind of mass mobilisation because today, we'll be asking people to help us identify that coral. Tomorrow, it could be identified habitat, complex habitat for fish, or it could be we don't know what it could be, right? But it's just constantly thinking about if you want to achieve scale, you have to empower both local community and communities around the world. And you have to really embrace and encourage the use of talent skills, from all sorts of walks of life in order to build it, whether it be AI, whether it be communication, whether it be you know, driving a boat, it's it, it's get it out of the field of only experts, make sure you got some of the best experts in the world working on it, but move it into the domain of this is everybody's job.

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah, I mean, in collaboration, you've mentioned that word few times now. And I, quite frankly, I fucking love it. I think collaboration is key and everything, every success in any environment in any industry. And no more so in this this major project that you're doing. Right? If you just open up the bucket, I usually ask this right at the start, but how have how have you and they gone from doing Earth Hour to ending up in Cannes? And focusing on the Great Barrier Reef? What what what are the stepping stones that brought you to where you are now? Well, so I was pretty weird. After I left Earth, I went and worked in Amsterdam, on

 

Andy Ridley  

circular economy. So you know. And I ran an organisation there for a couple of years, but then the reef that that first of those big glitches happened in 2016. And I've always loved the reflow. Even when I was knee high to a grasshopper, I was like, in love with the reef. And when I first came to Australia in 2002, that was on the reef within sort of three days of getting into Australia. And so I just just has a soft place in my heart. But the other thing is, if you think about, even when you think about Earth, our case of the symbolic part of that was the lights off for an hour and the fact that people came together. And kind of it's been that time, if you think about the Great Barrier Reef, in some ways, is become the poster child for climate change, often in a very negative, negative sense. But it is so iconic, and is so extraordinary. And it is actually so beautiful that if you want to find a symbol on which to rally, you know, a common purpose on which to make stuff happen. It seems to, you know, that's what the Great Barrier Reef is for, for me and for us a thing. And so but whatever we do on the grid, so basically going right, how can you build something that's really functional, that's really practical, that can actually make a difference that actually is doing something that's all been building. Now we're scaling, and that's probably the most exciting time to work on it. Because a lot of the really shitty hard works been done the first three years of citizens was probably the worst job I've ever had, in trying to get it working and trying to work out what it was and how it could work. I think it's really important to just mention at this point as well there's literally there's a core team of four people you know, I've come in to support the project and we've had other amazing people come in to support the project, etc. But the core team is tiny. And it's a huge, huge task. So everybody is poured their blood sweat and tears into this it really is like a passion project. You know, it's been it's been pretty radical, but it's also really kind of rewarding though in the sense of like, yes, there's a small very small core team but there is this group of people around the reef itself and now in Sydney and in Singapore and Melbourne and you know, we're all just making rent happen Yeah, and in fairly good this courtroom but then you Got a bigger team around it that is made up of skippers and film producers. And you know, it's extraordinary. And it's super, it's very similar to Earth air on that front. But what's probably different from Earth air is because we built it the other way round, is, you know, the direct effect, it's already happening. And everything's built to scale. So if you wanted to do this, and take it to the Red Sea, very, very, very doable. If something's happening in the Red Sea, and then you wanted to bring it back here, or you want to kind of build that, that scope and scale around the world. It's super efficient, right? So you can, you know, you're you're building knowledge, building expertise, and building support for potentially a global network that could implement marine conservation on a scale never done before.

 

Matt Waters  

Exciting times. And I know, I can only imagine how quickly Egypt, the Red Sea would be covered with the amount of boats Yeah.

 

Becky Evers  

It's a cool concept.

 

Matt Waters  

And I don't want to give too much away from the from the movie, because I'm sure people will want to watch it. But there's, there's quite a, I've got to say, and I found it quite entertaining and rather funny. You've done a lot of pulling your hair out trying to get funding for a long time. And then eventually, there's a bit of funding comes in. And so

 

Andy Ridley  

congratulations on that, ya know, cotton on foundation was a big font of both senses and the roof corporative. And there's a bit in the movie where we get told, you know, we've been working a long while to try and get that across the line. And, and it happens. And yeah, it's just one of those kind of kind of kind of mad, mad little moments.

 

Matt Waters  

We touched on it a little bit earlier on. But one of the major questions I wanted to hit on here as well, was that how do you engage and involve local communities in conservation initiatives? And why is the community pasetta participation important in protecting the right, yeah, it's a really good question. And I, the first thing to say about it is that,

 

Andy Ridley  

you know, it's all these people who work up and down the reef, generally, most of them love the reef. And many of them have more knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef than any scientist or any researcher or even the marine parks, you know, so if you find yourself, the skipper that's been working the reef for 30 years, his or her knowledge will be, you know, second to none, there'll be the ones who'll be able to back a boat, right up to the reef dumps and people in there to do a survey and get out. They're the ones who have noticed any changes, what's better, what's worse, et cetera, et cetera, cetera. So, so one of the kind of primary ways of thinking about this is, is thinking about these people, not as kind of someone we were trying to get on board, because this seems like a good idea, you know, seems like a good idea, or, you know, you want to tick a box or something. It's like, if you want to find the biggest wealth of knowledge, it's the people who work and live on the roof. So it's the skippers, it's the dive instructors, it's the the people who've spent, you know, 12 years on a dive boat, you know, looking after people on different you know, that this is, these are assets, these are this is this is this is the kind of experience you want, working on this kind of stuff. And once you kind of recognise that this is basically completely pretty much untapped group of people out there that can can be game changing, if you're trying to do whatever you're trying to do in terms of conservation and stewardship. You know, that's amazing, then add on top of that, maybe even start with this, the traditional owner groups who are generally super keen to be on sea country, and whose knowledge goes back not 30 years, but historic and go back 60,000 years, you know, you've got, again, all of these, all of this wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion and, you know, desire to help. That's, that's like, all you got to do is work out how to tap into it, though, but what we have generally found is that people really want to be part of something and often they're frustrated that they've never been asked. So that's kind of cool. Now I would imagine because we found this earth I would imagine that's the same all over the world.

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah, yeah, for sure. And there's just reflecting on the movie again the the part another part I loved was the bird's eye view of Forgive me forgetting forgot his name now but the chap that is focused on putting the spiders the the metal frames into restore and regrow the was it teittleman is the one where, yeah, yeah, that bird's eye view of the boat and then that just the snorkel is coming out and they're doing this constant cycle of putting in the structures to assist with the regrowth is fantastic. Yeah, it's a crazy, really, I mean, that's so we have

 

Andy Ridley  

we're really lucky we work with some amazing people Talquin and there's another guy in the, in the movie called Eric who has sort of driven some of this very, very impactful conservation efforts on very specific reefs. But again, you know, if you took someone like Tom and I took someone like Eric, there, they've got a both have incredibly large amount of knowledge on those certain reefs. And there'll be second to none, I reconcile these people are better than some of the best conservationists I've ever met. And they work in this, in the case of Eric, who works for tourism, and runs a massive restoration and stewardship project on one of the reefs. Now to the reefs, and Talquin, traditional owner, he's our first employee, the reef, corporative, and, you know, just wants to be in the water wants to be doing doing stuff and brings with him a wealth of not just current knowledge, but historical knowledge as well.

 

Matt Waters  

Quite a few mates by the looks of it as well. Yeah, that's exactly right. He's also very fond of you, have you seen any notable positive changes or progress in the health and resilience of the GBR? Since establishing citizens, I think that it's, it's important to see that it's, it's changing? Like, it's, it's, I've definitely noticed, it's changing and we're learning more about?

 

Becky Evers  

Yeah, about the corals resilience and what's happening to the reef and the structure and how it's adapting and changing because of, you know, stresses, etc. So I would say more more so that obviously, I've definitely experienced areas of disruption, etc. Also notice just it changing constantly.

 

Matt Waters  

over my time, and there's an argument to say that that's a natural occurrence as well, is it not? Because they're the reef is always changing? And, you know, I've I've spoken to people who are convinced there, it's slowly travelling south as well. What about the naysayers that would say that that's, it's it's not down to, you know, global warming, etc, etc. It's just a natural phenomenon. I mean,

 

Andy Ridley  

yeah. I mean, you just look at the evidence. And then it says evidence based, right. So we are getting more and more frequent incidents on the reef. However, it's also really important to say that the last few years whilst we've had bleaching is every year during school, not El Nino, the other one. The water has been, you know, should have been cooler anyway. But there's been renewed coral growth and a lot of parts of the roof over the last since 2017. And we go in the water and you will still find extraordinary places. If the funny thing is as well is that we you kind of also understand, you know, less than you thought you did, or maybe not ask, but then you learning more and more like so we would go to reef study looked like they'd been heavily impacted by, you know, hot water, we certainly found that down in the swains, which is sort of southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and you'd go in the water, and then we'd find Reese the woman to have been kind of really should theoretically have been really badly damaged by heat. And they were, you know, the best roof I've ever dived on. According to our modelling should, should have been trashed. And it was, it was so beautiful, it was me and a guy called Professor Pete Mumbi, we both are surveying this reef out in the middle of the swains. And we both Kansas serve, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, it was just so beautiful. But then we've been to other reefs that should have been in good, good health, and they were not, you know, and they've been, they're in really, really bad health care what the hell happened here. So that nuance of what's going on is is something that we're discovering more and more about as we do more and more reconnaissance. But, you know, the, the direction of travel is really clear. And, you know, the amount of energy being, you know, and heat being pushed into the into the oceans is having a is clearly having an effect that of course, it is and, you know, we're sort of should be well past the Do we have a problem question. Come back to the the actual current issue now is will the economic models that all our economies run on, actually enable us to address this?

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah, I do. Like, I'm going to try and find it. If I can just ask you guys because you're with me. The there's a two sentence thing that you have on the as a subheading Was it the time is now

 

Andy Ridley  

no longer help me out here guys. Well channel talking Oh, and the talking time and doing I've gotten that quite right or wrong I was like end of talking age of doing.

 

Matt Waters  

And I think that hits the nail on the head because what pisses me off, not just on the conservation side of things is that as a, as a global community, we're just driven by people that are wealthy and don't really give a shit. And all they want to do is say, we're gonna do, we're gonna do, we're gonna do, and it's time to do.

 

Andy Ridley  

I also feel that, you know, one of the things that we got to with this is like if you think about Earth, our thought was important symbolism. It was, you know, it was showing intent, it was trying to kind of, you know, mobilise hundreds of millions of people to send a message. But we're, and there was a hopeful message. But we're sort of beyond that now, you know, and now it needs to get very, very practical, everywhere. And so, you know, I think we're beyond the age of the petitions and kind of that kind of stuff say, Well, what the hell do we do? How are we going to make stuff actually happen? And, and I don't mean that in a kind of this, you know, because we're still, as Beck said, you know, we're still relatively small, but you can see the power, that's the potential there. But as and having people analyse an image is important, not just because we want the data analysed, but also that person's gonna learn a bit. It's that knowledge, and then they become an advocate. So it's all of these things at the same time, but being very practical and getting stuff done is where we need to be right now.

 

Matt Waters  

The thing is, it makes those words louder, as well, saying that we need to do it now. For every single person that comes on and just analyses photos. It's a very, very hard argument to go against. If you've got hundreds of millions of people looking at photos and just getting involved a collaborative force is very, very difficult to say. It's not It's definitely step one as well, we're trying to go right well more people do this will they actually give out five minutes of screen time just to do this? And I think you guys can think about being conscious with that being conscious of your screen time on what you're using your screen time you can also start to be conscious of other things, you know, how can I

 

Becky Evers  

be more ecologically conscious in general you know, what decisions can I make in my day to day life that are going to have a better effect for the planet so be more conservative with electricity being more conservative with how you're travelling etc. And thinking about your use of non renewable materials etc just making those decisions as well as being more conscious

 

Matt Waters  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay, give me a timeline then what's what's coming up over the next week or two? We're gonna Yeah, so obviously, you're gonna be you're gonna be busy little

 

 

plates

 

Matt Waters  

she's running away on the ground again.

 

Andy Ridley  

This is gonna be trying to get crown of thorns to helping do analysis

 

Becky Evers  

just like a TG six tentacles Yeah, we're doing kind of this next week specifically as reef week and it's in kind of collaboration with it being World Oceans Day on the eighth of June

 

 

day world reef day so well rich days either for the first isn't, well, World Environment Day is on the fifth and then we've got World Oceans Day on the eighth of June. Ruth days on like the second of June.

 

Becky Evers  

Possibly could be it's not anyway, it's a week of a lot of stuff. And we have a hackathon as well on the second of June in collaboration with Paddy. So paddy are also sharing this on all their channels as well to kind of help the kind of party audience also get involved.

 

Andy Ridley  

You have heaps of stuff going on this week. So this week is a really really good time for you to help us get some images analysed. So So there's two things our reckon the first one is if you're an individual and you want to get out and give us a hand, definitely do is grow census.org And then the second one is if you're attached to or involved in an organisation, it could be a football club or a company or whatever, and you can rally some of your comrades your staff, your employees or your your team to help. If you've got a fair few of them. We can set up a leaderboard so you can see who's doing the best. We've done those Disney and Mars and various other companies. Yeah, Yeah, so pretty easy to get involved. If you if you can get lots of people let us know. And we'll we'll we'll make that easy for you.

 

Matt Waters  

I'll get. I'll get Marco to touch base with you again then. He's the Italian guy that came across the other night with me. And he runs Sydney vez. Rachel, I think I think there's over 10,000 people dive group. Isn't that great. Somebody else had mentioned to me as well. So now it'd be really good to have a proper chat with them. I love it. I love a quick look now to me. I mean, it's it's a very, very active group. That's what we need.

 

Andy Ridley  

Yeah, there's over 11,000 members. Okay, that's perfect. That's a great example. So anybody else who's involved in anything like that? Please, please let us know. Try it. And we can we can. We can, you know, make.

 

Matt Waters  

We've got some really easy stuff to help you get things going. Here's me. Yeah. So ladies and gents, if you want to get involved, get involved. I'll put all the details in the show notes. And if I'm not around, you can contact these guys directly. But I would strongly urge you to use a bit of your screen time and help out and analyse some of these photos. Let's say I didn't 25 And it's done less than 30 minutes. You know, every time I had a cup of tea, or jump on a bus then I swipe on and do a couple and it makes a huge, huge contribution. And it makes it nice and easy as well for these guys to do their job and save what is arguably one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. Andy, Becky, thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to Yeah, that was brilliant. That was brilliant and yeah, I got a little bit dusty few days Well next time we'll probably have to have a bit of food as well just a little bit. Ladies and Gents thanks for listening and bye for now. 

Introductions
Crown of Thorns starfish
The Great Reef Census
Photographs & AI combine forces
It's a team effort
Reefshot Revealed. A Stan original documentary
New eyes work wonders
Coral restoration
How the reef is changing
THE END OF TALKING. THE AGE OF DOING.
On the horizon for COGBR