Save the magic!
Together we can make this a game-changing moment in Australian conservation.
Right now, more unique, irreplaceable native species
will go extinct if we as a country stick with
business as usual. Australia needs leadership
across government, business and the community
to drive change. With your help we can secure
better laws and oversight for the ecosystems that
sustain us, and meaningful protections for our
most important wild places. Together we will save the magic!
Image above: Glenn Walker
A magical landscape
Australia’s wilderness represents one of the most diverse and beautiful places on Earth. When you step into the bush there’s a feeling of peace, wonder and magic. Primordial rainforests provide windows into what Australia looked like millions of years ago, and we're one of only 17 countries that are considered to be megadiverse. Our wilderness ecosystems developed largely in isolation, which means many species can’t be found anywhere else on Earth, like our iconic koala.
"Koalas have emotions; they have personality; a kind of unspoken mystery about them. It is a form of magic ... that makes you want to protect them, their habitat, and ultimately the planet and the clean air we breathe," says Meghan Halverson, president of Queensland Koala Crusaders. She's felt a life-long affinity for Australia’s unique native species. It's a passion that has driven her to spend the last decade advocating for the protection of our precious koalas.
Australia is the envy of the world for its magical landscapes and unique biodiversity, something that drew Meghan here from the USA. Yet in many areas of our country, the magic has been destroyed by this bushfire season, which has burnt through millions of hectares of forest, including precious species habitat and rainforests untouched by fire for thousands of years.
A world under threat
Many of our iconic native species, already threatened, may have been pushed over the brink by these fires, with the catastrophe exposing our poor record for protecting threatened species and habitats.
It’s estimated that more than a billion animals have died—and this doesn’t even include fish, frogs, bats and insects. It’s very likely that populations of vulnerable species may be wiped out as a result. Many unique animals, like the Leadbeater’s possum and koala, have lost large areas set aside to ensure their protection.
"The impact has been massive. With fires reaching up into the canopy of the eucalypt forests, very few animals have survived. And those that have been lost mark significant drops of population," Meghan Halverson says.
Sadly, our koalas—cute, fuzzy and largely defenceless in the face of natural disaster—are now the global face of ravaged ecosystems that were vulnerable to start with and may never recover, unless we come together to create historic change.
Act now to save the magic
After an unprecedented bushfire season, only bold and urgent action will fix our climate, protect our threatened wildlife and save the magic of our incredible wilderness.
Right now the challenge feels daunting, but you can take a stand for the majesty of our living world. This year is pivotal to protect our magical and special places and all the wildlife that call them home. The government is reviewing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act—the national nature law that has failed to protect vulnerable and threatened species.
"We have a national icon [the koala] that is in real trouble, and yet the government is not protecting them. New nature laws are critical. We need to get better protection of the landscape, look at it in an integrated way, and figure out how we can make it work, not only for koalas but for humans as well," says Meghan Halverson.
This once-in-a-decade review of our national environment laws is a key opportunity to create meaningful protections for Australia’s most important wild places.
"There is sheer joy in knowing that we’re doing something to help native species in a situation where it’s pretty dire; it gives us a bit of hope future." - Meghan Halverson of Queensland Koala Crusaders.
The bushfires appear to have have finally made the government sit up and listen. We cannot miss this opportunity to act for the good of nature. With your help we can:
- Ensure that our national environment laws contain real safeguards against extinction, protect our World Heritage areas and most important places from destruction and set out clear rights of appeal and consultation for communities.
- Lobby for a National Environment Protection Agency so laws are enforced and followed.
- Set up a National Environment Commission to ensure all governments work together in an efficient and effective national approach to deliver well-resourced plans to save threatened species like the koala, platypus and greater glider.
- Ensure our national park and protected area system is comprehensive and well-resourced, with funding for Indigenous ranger jobs and other land management.
After an unprecedented bushfire season and now COVID-19, bold action is needed that will support communities, protect our threatened wildlife and save the magic of our incredible wilderness. The Wilderness Society is keeping watch on companies and governments looking to approve damaging projects and windback environmental protections under the cover of COVID-19. We will keep records and speak up against moves that damage our natural world.We’ll also be sharing visions for a better world, for how we can #BuildBackBetter. Nature and climate-solutions can be central to our post-COVID-19 - and bushfire - economic recovery.