Passionate custodian wants to leave the world a better place
DRIVEN by his passion to leave the world a better place, Lady Elliot Island's custodian Peter Gash says falling in love with the Great Barrier Reef is the best way to protect it.
Speaking as part of a five person panel at a Q&A session on Heron Island on Thursday, Mr Gash joined calls for tourism to act as a key driver in protecting Australia's greatest natural draw card.
He spoke alongside scientists and researchers from around the state about the state of the reef and it's challenges, but his passion shone through with positivity surrounding the reef's future.
"The reef has this ability to take us and grab us by the hand and say fall in love with me, I want to fall in love,” he said.
"I know from my personal perspective having come here to Musgrave and Elliot on the southern end and Heron back in the 90s and up to Cairns, Green Island and Port Douglas I was just gone, fell in love with it.
"I made it my life mission that I was going to do my best to protect it.”
Mr Gash's first visit to Lady Elliot Island was in 1980 and after falling in love with the area has been the managing director of the Island's resort since 1995.
His vision for the Island includes offering sustainable tourism, with everything earned from Lady Elliot being put back into protecting it.
At Thursday's panel discussion, Mr Gash spoke about the need for the Great Barrier Reef as a whole to be protected to inspire others worldwide to look after the environments in their own backyards.
"We don't inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children and I know I have two daughters who I'm very proud of and I know how much we care for the future,” he said.
"They talk about a million little actions that got us to where we are, we need a million little bandaids to fix it.
"Each action, whether it's turning off the light, walking instead of driving your car, planting another tree in the backyard in some different country to Australia, all those things contribute to the climate change challenge.
"We can do everything we want locally... but we need everyone to work together.”