From the food that we eat to the air that we breathe, every one of us relies on nature for our survival. But when nature thrives, we get so much more – benefits to our health, our well-being and our prosperity.

Humanity is rightly focused on grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic right now. But the crisis of nature loss continues to deepen, and so improving our relationship with nature is more important than ever before.

This week, we would like to share some stories, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Arctic, that show how interconnected we are with our shared home – and that how we choose to regard nature ultimately impacts us all.

We are living in difficult times. But, no matter where we are in the world, we can help overcome both the health and nature crises by taking united action with others.

Together, it’s possible for us to secure a better future for all.

TIME TO TRANSFORM OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE

To help curb future pandemics, it is crucial that we greatly reduce the opportunities for viruses to jump from animals to people. First and foremost: the loss and degradation of natural habitats must be recognised as a key driver of emerging infectious diseases from wildlife.

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REQUIEM FOR A REEF

Even in the midst of a global health crisis, we should not let the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef – a source of wonder and a precious resource – pass without reflecting on what it means for the ocean and the many millions of people who depend on it.

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ARCTIC LIFELINE COULD BE CUT BY EXPANDING OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING

The marginal ice zone – the area where Arctic sea ice meets the open ocean – has supported unique biodiversity such as phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, polar bears, birds, seals, and whales for millions of years. But now the area, already severely impacted by climate change, is threatened by oil producers tempted by the potential of untapped reserves.

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HOW A FORMER POACHER BECAME A WILDLIFE PROTECTOR

“He [my father] always told me to do good and take care of nature. When I started a family myself, I wanted to inherit nature for our future generations. I clearly could see we were losing our natural resources rapidly.” Former poacher Mister Muslim shares his story about solving conflicts between humans and elephants.

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My name’s Kai.

 

When I learned that koalas were starving to death after bushfires had burned through two thirds of Kangaroo Island, I didn’t have a choice but to try to help.

 

I’m an arborist by trade and I have koala handling experience, so I decided to drive from my home in Sydney to Adelaide before catching the ferry to Kangaroo Island. This turned into spending seven weeks on the island, trying to rescue as many burnt and injured koalas as I could. It was the most harrowing and traumatic work I’ve ever done. But also the most important.

 

The horrific things I saw and experienced will stay etched my mind and in my heart forever.
Having just returned from witnessing the absolute devastation of our wildlife, doing everything I could to help it, I cannot believe what I read today. 
The fossil fuel lobby is pressuring the government to relax our environmental laws, pushing for a free-pass to fast-track their climate-wrecking projects. And Environment Minister Sussan Ley seems poised to let it happen. [1]

After the devastating bushfire season we’ve had – this is the worst thing we could possibly do for our threatened species and their habitats. And they’re doing it under the cover COVID-19 when they think we’re not paying attention.

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I helped to rescue over a hundred koalas this summer. Some didn’t pull through, others are still recovering, and many have been released back into the wild – but I remember them all. You don’t forget animals like koalas, and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to assist such unique creatures when they needed so much help.

 

This is why I can’t begin to fathom how we could put them in further danger, with policies that would allow deforestation and the destruction of critical koala habitat.
With fossil fuel companies moving in to take advantage of COVID-19, we need to come together to demand better. To demand a new generation of environmental laws that genuinely put the environment first – not the coal lobby and their profits.

 

Thank you for your help. Together we will fight for our wildlife and keep them safe for generations to come.

 

For the koalas, and all of us.

 

An update from the National Parks Association of Queensland
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