Can you spare some time to help save our threatened species?
MAYORAL MESSAGE with Cr Katie Milne
WE ARE so lucky to be living in such a spectacular environment as the Tweed Shire.
With National Threatened Species Day coming up on September 7, it's an important time to reflect that a lot of our co-species are not so lucky though.
Our shire actually has the highest number of threatened species in Australia. This is largely because Tweed is one of the top three biodiversity hotspots in Australia and, being in an urbanised environment, a lot of species affected by us usually come off for the worse. Even though laws now aim to protect threatened species, in practice the odds are still weighed far more in favour of humans than the environment. The numbers of our local threatened species are increasing, not declining, according to our Regional State of the Environment reports.
Scientists have also warned of dramatic species decline across the globe and are referring to this period as the sixth mass extinction of history. Ecosystems will crash without key species and humans will suffer the consequences of ecosystem failure, too. It's now more important than ever to strengthen our ecosystems so they can be resilient to climate change. We need to take these issues much more seriously if we are to turn these trends around. It's such a rare and precious thing to be able to live among wildlife in our urban environment in this shire. I marvel that I regularly see wallabies, bandicoots, possums, frogs, snakes, skinks, birds of many species, and such weird insects.
Sadly we see so much wildlife as roadkill, new developments concreting our paradise, forestry depleting our native forests rather than creating timber plantations, and mining poisoning our atmosphere.
National Threatened Species Day is a time we can all pledge to do things better and help our fellow species in lots of different ways. Slowing down on the roads is a simple way to avoid causing accidental roadkill. Planting our backyards as much as possible, and with native species, will provide a haven for many beautiful birds and little creatures. Keeping pets under control and locked in at night is very important. Picking up rubbish will stop it ending up in our marine environment chocking our sea life. For those with a bit of spare time, joining an environment group such as the local Caldera Environment Centre or the Northern Rivers Guardians will inform you on current campaigns and how to influence governments for better laws.
Joining the local Wildlife Carers or Seabird Rescue will give you unique and amazing opportunity to get to know our wildlife up close and personal.
Or by joining a local Landcare group you will actually help to re-establish vital wildlife corridors across the landscape and along our rivers and streams. There is nothing more satisfying and therapeutic than getting your hands dirty knowing you are recreating lost landscapes. It's the best form of magic watching native forests regenerate with just a bit of help from us.
We are all responsible for our impact on other species but we can all be part of the solution, too. Spread the word to family and friends to get on board to help our threatened species out of this crisis. Stand up for our fellow creatures to give them a fair go too.
Thank you so much to everyone who cares about our environment, and especially to the many wonderful people who go to such extraordinary lengths for our fellow species.
- Tweed Mayor Katie Milne submits an exclusive monthly column to the Tweed Daily News. To contact her, email KMilne@tweed.nsw.gov.au