Climate Experience:

Citizens have noticed a reduction in kelp.


  • 90% of kelp forests have been wiped out in Port Phillip Bay[1]
  • The millennial drought saw a dramatic decline in rainfall, that combined with a 1 degree increase in average air temperature has lead to intolerably warm and nutrient-poor water[2]
  • Southern Australian sea surface temperatures have been above the average for the past 26 consecutive years[3]
  • This has lead to a 250-420% increase in destructive sea urchins which threatened the kelp even further[4]


  • Kelp plays a vital role in a balanced ecosystem, more than 350 different species can live on a single kelp plant,[5]it’s unclear how animals will adjust
  • Kelp forests in the Great Southern Reef contribute more than $10billion annually to the Australian economy[6]
  • Kelp disappearance will spend up the effects of climate change, not only does it store a lot of carbon dioxide but it also slows down waves that cause coastal erosion[7]
  • Kelp will impact many products we use and consume, as it is used as emulsifiers and bonding agents in things like toothpaste, ice-cream, chicken nuggets and even beer,[8]costs are likely to go up.
  • Abalone, lobsters among many others will be severely under threat[9]

What can be done?

  • Email your local MP and tell them that action on climate is important to you and explain the impacts being felt in your area. One email might not feel like much but most politicians consider it to be representative of 100 citizens.
  • Help support the Act on Climate collective by donatingwe are leading the charge for climate action. Your donation helps in advancing policies that prevent climate change from getting worse, we aim to empower communities and build a strong pro-climate-action constituency that governments can’t ignore, and as an added bonus it’s tax-deductable.
  • Get involved with Act on Climate. We meet every Monday at 6pm (upstairs at 312 Smith St, Collingwood) and welcome all newcomers to join in the fight for climate justice. If you are unable to attend, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest campaign.

* We aim to keep our material as accurate and as relevant as possible. Working with climate science, a field that is being constantly updated, keeps us on our toes. Information on this site was gathered on June 1 2019; if you notice information that needs updating please let us know. For the full reference list please see the following.



[2]Alastair Bland, “As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear,” Yale Environment 360, published November 20, 2017,

[3]“Climate change – trends and extremes: time series graph,” Bureau of Meteorology, access April 29, 2019,

[4]Carnell and Keough, “Reconstructing Historical Marine Populations Reveals Major Decline of a Kelp Forest Ecosystem in Australia.”765.

[5]Harry Teagle et al., “The Role of Kelp Species as Biogenic Habitat Formers in Coastal Marine Ecosystems,” Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology492 (2017).83.

[6]Scott Bennett et al., “The ‘Great Southern Reef’: Social, Ecological and Economic Value of Australia’s Neglected Kelp Forests,” Marine and Freshwater Research67, no. 1 (2016).47.

[7]Thomas Wernberg and Karen Filbee-Dexter, “Part of our ocean is dying,” The Washington Post, published October 23, 2018,


[9]Doug Struck, “Tropical fish cause trouble as climate change drives them toward the poles,” National Geographic, published July 24, 2014,