Save the Koala Month is coming up and I do hope that many of you will find the time to spread the word about the AKF, and our mission to get a Koala Protection Act for the Koala.
Our fundraising idea this year is gorgeous. Finger Puppets that make your heart sing. Every time I look at them it makes me smile.
I also find a great deal of pleasure in looking at our Facebook page and I get to read people’s comments. When the AKF started, our Founder, Mr. Barry Scott said that he wanted people all over the world to care and share for the Koala and those words could not be more true than the comments when we post a beautiful photo.
Thousands of people contact us and it is wonderful to read. I did note a few people say that we are not taking the plight of the Koala seriously enough, but I think my Diary is the place for discussions that can make us sad and feel that the Koala might never be saved. As many wise people have said, you cannot save something if you do not love it and I can certainly see that nearly 60,000 people love what we are doing to show the world how beautiful the Koala is and I know they care and support what we are doing.
I also noted that I may have confused people with my last Diary when I said that we would not be talking or writing to Government. That could not be further from the truth – in fact in recent days, Douglas (Dr. Kerlin) and I work closely together and write emails into the Federal Government, reminding them, that now the Koala is a federally listed species, they are the custodian of the Koala and we expect them to play a significant role in protecting Koala habitat.
Douglas has been amazing in finding what we regard as either breaches of the EPBC Act, or worse still, major loopholes that allow unabated land clearing. This is not new to me because I have always found it absolutely ridiculous that land clearing, whilst a “threatening process” to the Koala, does not actually “trigger” the Act. When I first heard this back in 1999, when the EPBC Act was created, I knew it had been written with development in mind. This is why it is so essential that a Koala Protection Act is enacted and it will be in 2016. To find out more, join the Koala Army here.
Let me remind everyone again, it is written and when it is tabled, then there will be public comments called. In some respects I fear this stage, because I am concerned that those who seek to exploit the Koala will want to water it down, what our legal team is calling an “impenetrable” piece of legislation The Bald Eagle Act was one piece of paper. It just said, you cannot disturb it, you cannot harm it, and you must treat it with reverence.
I think the last word is going to be the hardest part. How do you treat an animal with reverence when it is left on the side of the road, dead from motor vehicles, ripped apart by both wild and domestic dogs (not Mr. Darcy) and worse still have them starve to death from tree loss – which continues unabated. In fact Doug and I have just unearthed so many loopholes and blatant disregard for our environmental laws that it is even shocking me after all these years.
So let me be clear, the AKF is writing no more submissions, no more petitions (they are a complete waste of time), no more cajoling. It is time for action and that is a clear strategy as we head towards a Federal election in 2016. Every single politician that lives in Koala habitat (128 of them), must support a Koala Protection Act. Soon, we will be calling on you, to help encourage those people to understand why they need to do that if they wish to be re-elected in their seats.
Our Governments have forgotten that the environment and wildlife are their constituents.
So, I continue to write to Government; what I do not do is write submissions that no one reads. Those that call for them, know it wastes our energy, that it keeps us childlike, because deep down we want and need to trust our Governments, and even better it allows them to divide and conquer public opinion.
Dividing and conquering is an old trick and in western New South Wales that behavior came to a tragic end recently when a landholder killed an environmental officer who was trying to stop land clearing some Koala habitat. I had been to that area in October 2012 so some of the key figures in this tragedy are known to me personally and I have found it difficult to find the words to describe how I feel. The AKF has sent flowers to Glen’s family but as the days go on, I have found enormous compassion for the man who shot and fired that gun.
What is happening out there is like a pressure cooker. The land in question is surrounded by mines and gas wells. Land clearing on those sites have been approved and will continue for decades. So, perhaps farmers feel that it is all unfair and it is very hard to change. I am not excusing murderous rage, but I think I am starting to understand the complex issues that face our new and changing world.
I am realising more and more that our country is changing; from a rural landscape that produces food to a quarry that produces coal and gas, none of which is going to help our planet. But of course it means jobs and they are important. There are no simple solutions but I think we are going to have to find them.
My sincere condolences go to everyone in the bush who has suffered from this senseless death and it makes me more and more determined to put more pressure on our Governments. Their lack of leadership on land clearing has, in part, allowed this pressure to build and encouraging a “them and us” mentality is not healthy for anyone.