To promote the Great Barrier Reef’s ongoing health and spread awareness about their conservation project, the World Wildlife Fund has launched Reef Goggles that bring the magic of the underwater seascape to your smartphone, with a little help from new virtual reality technology.
According to Rick Leck, National Manager of Marine Conservation at WWF, Reef Goggles were designed in attempt to help inspire people to get active about marine conservation by exposing them to the sights of the reef.
“We know that if people experience the incredible natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, they’ll be inspired to help save it,” Leck said.
Three years ago, UNESCO put Australia on probation with a strict warning to work harder to clean up the reef and protect it for future generations of fish, sharks and other marine wildlife. At the UNESCO summit in Germany later this month, the committee will vote to either keep Australia on probation, or declare the reef “just fine” and let the onion-eaters carry on.
Reef Goggles are a collaboration between WWF, Underwater Earth, Google Creative Lab and Grumpy Sailor on the Draw the Line campaign. This campaign created a petition that has collected nearly 500,000 signatures from around the world to encourage the World Heritage Committee’s agenda when they meet at the end of June.
Those who choose to officially sign on and help protect the reef can claim their own section of the ecosystem using the Draw The Line app, keyed in to real views of the Great Barrier Reef from satellite view on Google Maps.
WWF hopes that this high-tech effort from supporters will pressure UNESCO to keep Australian officials in check and enforce their duty to protect the reef from port expansion, dredging and pollution.
Signing up to support the campaign and signing the WWF Draw The Line petition will enter you into the draw for a free pair of Virtual Reality Reef Goggles. You can also use your own Google cardboard VR headset, or make your own to experience the reef.
There are a few ways to view the virtual reality reef experience, which includes audio from real underwater dives overlaid with visuals from Lady Elliot Island, the Yongala Wreck, North Broken Passage and Myrmidon Reef.
If you haven’t jumped on the virtual reality bandwagon just yet, visiting the same WWF Draw the Line website from your smartphone will grant access to an underwater tour, regardless of whether or not you’re already stocked up on VR gear and a haptic suit.