Monday, 6 June 2016

Earth Care Day: World Environment Day 5th June: A Global Day of Positive Action

It's World Environment Day today - a day to celebrate the Earth and think about how we can become more aware and make more positive change in the world. It's the United Nation's biggest day for positive environmental action - a people's day of action.

Every day, of course, is a day to celebrate the earth, acknowledge what needs changing and think of positive ways we can contribute to this, but it is good to consciously come together to focus our attention, raise awareness about particular issues and celebrate our efforts so far.

IN 1972, the United Nations designated June 5th as World Environment Day to address major issues such as climate change, deforestation, species extinction, food and farming...and two years later was the first celebration with the theme of "Only One Earth".   

The koala is the focus of our World Environment Day discussions. The koala was hunted almost to extinction in Australia by 1925. Conservation efforts have helped to protect and restore populations, but in Queensland they are officially regarded as 'Critically Endangered'. Our son, Hugh has decided to focus on how to help the Koala as part of his homeschooling from now.

The theme for 2016 is GO WILD FOR LIFE: Zero tolerance for the illegal wildlife trade

The booming illegal trade in wildlife products is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving whole species to the brink of extinction. The killing and smuggling is also undermining economies and ecoystems, fuelling organized crime, and feeding corruption and insecurity across the globe. 
This year’s theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages you to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of your own to help safeguard them for future generations. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within your local area as well as at the national or global level - many local extinctions will eventually add up to a global extinction! Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference.’
www.WED2016.com 

Taking a look into the theme of this World Environment Day brings some shocking truths out about illegal wildlife trading. For example:

100,000 elephants killed between 2010 and 2012!
a huge 170 tonnes of ivory illegally exported from Africa from 2004 - 2014
as of 2016, chimpanzees are now extinct (in several countries they used to exist)
3000 great apes lost from the wild each year
almost 1200 rhinos killed by poachers in Africa in 2015

Let's just take the last one from this list - the Rhino.  Rhinos have been killed their horns which are mostly used in medicine.  For a huge fee, you can buy it ground, mix it with water and swallow. People believe that rhino horn can treat a vast array of ailments including cancer. 

Thorough tests however show it has absolutely no medicinal qualities. Perhaps the myth all began with the belief in the power of the unicorn’s horn - and the rhino’s horn is kind-of similar to that. Rhino horn is mostly keratin, the same as all hooves, horns, hair and nails. It’s indigestible - it simply passes straight through you with no effect.

So, the upshot is, Rhinos are being killed for no good reason and the people suffering from illnesses are wasting their time and money. The only people benefitting from rhino horn are those profiting from its illegal trade.

You can read more about about the illegal trade of wildlife from the World Environment Day website: http://www.wed2016.com/content/itw-facts


What you can do on World Environment Day: Celebrate, Learn and Do

Celebrate the Earth today (and everyday)
Celebrate the positive action that is happening.
Celebrate your capacity to 'be the change'
Learn more about the impact of illegal trade on wildlife
Learn about what people are doing to help already
Learn what you can do to help locally and globally
Do make a plan of what changes and contributions you can make
Do it!
Do share this others!

Be the change. Every action counts.

Hugh's New Homeschool Focus: Our Local Endangered Species - the Koala

Hugh is planning to research all he can about the local Koalas and find out what he can do to help them out of being Critically Endangered. We're all behind him for this project!

In the 1950s , my grandmother identified that Raymond Island in Victoria had suitable protected habitat for Koalas - a colony was relocated from another part of Victoria where they could no longer survive. We visit these Koalas every year and continue to support the protection and maintenance of their habitat . They live across the island and are relatively undisturbed by dogs or development. 

The Koala used to be found up and down the east coast of Australia in large numbers. However by 1925 with European colonisation, clearing, hunting for fur, fire and disease, the Koala was almost extinct.  Apparently between 1919 and 1924 eight million koalas were killed across Australia - mostly hunted for fur.  Now, the koala is mostly threatened by domestic dogs, vehicle traffic, but by far the biggest threat to the koala is habitat loss. 

I wrote about Raymond Island and it's koala population earlier this year http://our-permaculture-life.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/koala-island.html

Maia's Homeschool Focus: 
Pop Up Cafe to Support Endangered Species and Local Revegetation
This year Maia has already run a few cafes to support endangered species and local bush regeneration projects.  She has been donating money to the efforts of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. http://www.wwf.org.au. Hugh and Maia plan to collaborate for the next big community cafe to extend their efforts further. Read more about her pop-up cafes http://our-permaculture-life.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/pop-up-carport-cafe-cultivating.html and http://our-permaculture-life.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/two-youth-enterprises-cultivating.html

Crystal Waters - a wildlife haven
I feel proud to live at Crystal Waters, a place where we consciously celebrate Earth Care every day. This is a wildlife haven - registered as 'Land for Wildlife'. We purposefully don't have dogs or cats. Lots of connected bush regeneration projects are happening all over the property. Animals, cyclists and pedestrians have right of way on our roads. 

Every day we are in direct connection with wildlife - it's one of the great joys of living here. We have watched as the diversity is restored to this once-degraded landscape, and how over the years the wildlife numbers and diversity has also increased.

Let's consciously make every day an Earth Day.


3 comments:

  1. With consumerism so deeply ingrained now into most people's consciousness this paradigm shift will be a slow and ugly one. Keep 'banging on' about it Morag - we cannot afford to fall silent.

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  2. I agree, Earth day needs to be everyday! I think things that are only at the forefront of our minds on one day each year, tend to fade into background noise! Also, I love reading about Hugh and Maia's learning and how it is embedded in the real world they live in. Hugh, not long ago, some "burning off of bushland" was being carried out here, on the outskirts of Brisbane. As I was driving to pick up my boy from school, I saw a koala trying to cross a very busy road. Thankfully, and luckily for the koala, I stopped and the other driver coming the other way stopped too. We both put our hazard lights on and held up the traffic until the koala had safely crossed the road. That's the first time I've seen a koala in our area even though I know they are in the bushland close to here. I know you'll come up with some great ideas to help koalas!

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    1. Thanks Meg - an amazing story about your Koala experience. My parents once saw one in their backyard in suburban Melbourne (Ringwood) - amazing. Up here I've only ever had one sighting and heard one another time. I know they are around though. I'll pass your message to Hugh - he'll be super chuffed.

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