Today is National Threatened Species Day, a date that commemorates the death of the last known Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), back in 1936.
Over the last 200 years, Australia has lost more than 130 of our endemic species. We are one of the world’s leaders in mammal extinctions.
Human impact on native flora and fauna is vast. We’ve managed to deplete so much of our natural world in such a short time – from clearing land and destroying native habitat to pave way for new infrastructure, to overconsuming products and causing disruption to ecosystems.
It may seem like a lot of the damage comes from large scale sources, but there are things every single person can do to protect our planet and save our current threatened species from facing the same fate as those before them.
Care about climate change – don’t dismiss it as something that’s above your level of expertise, or a job for the people in power. Follow the news stories about it. Read what the scientists are saying. Take a leaf out of Greta Thunberg’s book.
Think global, act local – find out what impacts can be seen in your local area; whether that’s dune erosion if you live coastal, native bush clearing or the disappearance of koalas or wombats if you’re rural, or fewer birds coming to rest in your city’s closest park. Join a community action group near you (there’s bound to be a small group of eco-warriors in every community).
Make changes in your own life – the western world is over-consuming at a catastrophic rate. If every country lived the way Australians do, we’d need more than 1.5 world’s worth of resources to be able to regenerate successfully (World Overshoot Day). Think about what you buy and where/who you buy it from – if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
Donate to accredited foundations – there are so many proactive NGOs working to protect nature and those who live amongst it. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, spare a few dollars each month to those who do.
Watch 2040 and Our Planet – David Attenborough’s newest doco series, Our Planet, walks you through the current state of our natural world and the dire status of the precious species we share it with. It’s confronting and alarming but needs to be seen. On the other hand, Damon Gameau’s 2040 is uplifting and positively hopeful, showing present day examples of how we can turn our future around.
Interested to know which Australian species are currently under threat and what you can do to help? Visit this Australian Geographic webpage.