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Who will speak out for our koalas?

Since writing Smooch & Rose, I have discovered all sorts of mind blowing schemes that threaten our precious wildlife. Development, logging, lack of long term planning. But what can we do to stop it? Hopefully not chaining ourselves to trees (although, in some cases, people have still been pushed to do this). According to a recent Griffith University study, when it comes to creating real, sustainable change, the power of the community is second to none. The power of community? What can we, the ordinary people, do?

Standing up for what you believe in can be difficult and unrewarding, and many of us hope that someone else will do it

koala in local bushlandIn the last few months, I’ve met some of the inspiring people who are those someone else’s. For example, Debbie Pointing and the members of the well established Koala Action Group (KAG) in Redland Bay. KAG works extremely hard to advise and direct development in our area to protect koalas, including talking and negotiating with developers, running a Koala Count-a-thon to map where the koalas live, and planting thousands of trees. The task is however frustrating and difficult and development in Redland Bay continues at a rapid rate.

Kangaroos

Another group with the same mind set is the newly developed “MHANLEG” (Mango Hill & North Lakes Environment Group), led by Dave Norman. One of their main focuses is to oppose the Petrie Bypass, a massive highway that will cut right through precious koala habitat in the Moreton Bay region. Dave and his team have met with councillors, talked to politicians, filled petitions with hundreds of signatures and met with the public and researchers, all in the hope that people power can still make a difference. They are also keen to trial a tagging system. Local kangaroos are killed by cars at a rate of one per month. Dave hopes to fit the kangaroos with small radio tags linked to a special road side sign. When a tagged kangaroo approaches the traffic, drivers will be alerted that a kangaroo may be trying to cross, and have time to slow down. This system is a great initiative to help our wildlife.

Imagine if our kangaroos and koalas could be tagged and protected from being annihilated on our roads?

cassowary crosses the roadI had a great trip up to Mission Beach recently and met Peter, another inspiring person, from the C4 community group. He and his team are fighting to protect the Southern Cassowary, which like the koala, is being stranded from its rainforest habitat by continual clearing along the coast. Peter and his group have raised $260,000 towards buying a small piece of land that will make a corridor for the cassowaries to get safely from the coast to the rainforest. If they are successful, they may just save the cassowary from extinction.

C4, MHNLEG and KAG are ordinary people making a difference in our community. They are not waiting for politicians to fix things. They are out there, having their say, trying to make sustainable changes for the future of our environment.

Have you, like them, got what it takes? Yes, of course you have!

About Samantha Wheeler

Australian Children's Writer.

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