Highlights from April to June 2024

Highlights from April to June 2024

The important work for nature your incredible support has delivered. Image: Justin Cally

In the past few months: focus on corporate deforestation, fossil fuel wins, MPs targeted for strong new nature laws, a brighter future for Victoria's forests, 30 years of Nature Book Week and more. With your help we've been holding corporations to account for deforestation and delivered some wins to halt the fossil fuel industry.

An update on deforestation

Wilderness Society Corporate Campaigner, Adele Chasson, rounds up the exciting progress made during the past few months.

Our sights have been firmly focused on corporate deforestation: attending Alumina's AGM to query its continued land clearing in the Northern Jarrah Forests of WA; putting pressure on the beef industry to finally address its deforestation problems and offering real solutions; and drawing international attention to Australia's deforestation crisis by meeting with key decision-makers in Europe to talk about how they can help protect Australia's forests. We couldn't have done this without you!

Our work in numbers

MPs targeted for new nature laws

In May, Labor MP Patrick Gorman refused to meet with members of the community demanding strong new nature laws. So we joined with other local groups to stage a community demonstration outside his office in Perth, backed by billboards. This led to a local newspaper report on the protest, further amplifying our voice and concerns.

Around the country, more than 500 people chipped in to get billboards up in target electorates that are held by ALP parliamentarians who could be strong voices for nature inside government.

In Sydney, our mobile billboard for MP Matt Thistlethwaite stopped by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s office as well.

At our Macnamara community forum in Melbourne, which MP Josh Burns attended, we put a photo of the billboard on the projector. Biodiversity Policy and Campaign Manager, Sam Szoke-Burke, urged him to represent the community’s concerns. Mr Burns couldn’t turn away from the community’s pressure—he even noted that the billboard is on a corner that he regularly spends time on, showing that with your help we got the ad just right.

Because of you, MPs in six target electorates can’t ignore that Australians want laws that protect the places we love.

    A brighter future for Victoria’s forests

    Leadbeater's possums. Image: Ian Moodie

    So far this year, hundreds of you have taken action to help ensure Victoria’s towering forests and precious wildlife are finally given the protections they deserve.

    From emailing the Premier and Environment Minister to ask them to fully fund and implement the Leadbeater’s possum recovery plan, to completing a recent Victorian government public consultation about the future of the state’s special forests, you’re maintaining pressure on the government to deliver its promises.

    “Actions speak louder than words,” says Victoria Campaigns Manager, Matt Landolfo. “These are important steps the government has made, but now proper funding, monitoring, and forest restoration and protection must follow.”

    We’ve also lodged a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to view all submissions to the recent survey about Victoria’s forests. This will give us a better idea if what the panel recommends to the government is actually based on what the public wants for the future of these magnificent forests.

    It’s been a convoluted process, but the Victoria government has promised the largest-ever addition to the reserve system—and together, we’ll hold them to it.

    You’re taking on the fossil fuel giants—and winning

    A Hands Across the Sand event at Nobbys Beach, Newcastle, NSW. Image: Linda Gill.

    The tide is turning for the fossil fuel industry, and your support is powering the change.

    A hidden attempt to make Oil & Gas exempt from Australia’s nature law has been scrapped! The decision came after a rapid response involving many voices calling for this section of the proposed bill to be removed.

    Our Fossil Fuel Industry Campaigner, Fern Cadman, says: “Carve-outs for specific industries are inevitably bad for nature, people and industry. Australia’s economy needs a healthy environment, so laws that apply to all sectors—without loopholes and carve-outs—are good for both nature and business.

    “The move to scrap this section of the bill shows the diminishing power of the gas industry to dictate policy in Australia. The Albanese Government must now rethink its Future Gas Strategy.”

    30 years!

    Our 2024 Shortlist.

    We’ve got something to celebrate—this year marks 30 years of sharing and celebrating stories that promote a love of nature in children!

    It was in 1994 that a group of environmental educators in Lutruwita / Tasmania came to the Wilderness Society with the idea of the Environment Award for Children’s Literature. In 2022, the Karajia Award for Children’s Literature was added to celebrate this continent's First Nations authors and illustrators. These books honour stories about connection to Country, language and culture.

    This year, 18 books have been shortlisted across the Karajia and Environment Awards for Children’s Literature. There is a book for every reader or listener in your life, from adventure stories to stories of hope for nature. Click here to check out the full shortlist (and learn more about our partners, Harry Hartog Bookseller, which is donating 10% of shortlist sales back to the Wilderness Society to protect nature).

    The judging panel this year includes Australian conservation biologist Dr Kylie Soanes, actor and Play School presenter Zindzi Okenyo, last year’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature winner Jess McGeachin, previously shortlisted author Jasmine Seymour, educator Danae Coots, and academic and author Dr Amy Thunig.

    Children’s books can give language to problems that are hard to understand. They are the door to learning about culture, places and species that are out of reach for many of us. We are so proud of our long history of celebrating children’s books that inspired generations of children. If you missed it, here’s a short video of Nature Book Week ambassador, Dr Jen Martin, on the radio speaking about how important nature books are for kids.

    In the media

    Check out some of the Wilderness Society's most impactful media from April to June 2024. Including:

    • The Guardian - Top environmental groups say some of Labor’s new laws could take conservation backwards
    • Carbon Pulse - Australia asks EU to delay compliance on deforestation law
    • The Examiner - Wilderness Society file Supreme Court appeal into native forest logging
    • Australian Financial Review - Plibersek’s new environment laws friendless
    • ABC News - Chevron plans to leave oil platforms in WA waters, angering unions, environmental campaigners
    • Arts Hub - Nature as muse in children’s literature: 2024 award shortlists

    Your say

    Recently we asked you to share how you feel when you’re in a forest, to build a case for protection of Australia’s special places. We were overwhelmed with the volume of responses! Here are just a handful.