by Amelia Strazdins
Climate change is currently one of the most significant challenges facing Australia and the world. It has played a contentious part in our recent election and there have been calls on Local, State, and Federal levels for proactive changes. This issue has amassed support around the globe, from non-profits to businesses, pledging themselves to a greener future. However, despite such support, the problem continues to grow. The threats we face no longer consist of losing acres of land to development. Future generations face an unrecognisable planet without species, such as bees and with waterways polluted with plastics. Global Environment Day is a United Nations initiative dedicated to raising awareness about environmental protection. On the 5th of June each year events and campaigns are run globally to help increase knowledge about what we can do locally to help support our environment.
Australia is known for its beautiful beaches, much like Bribie Island. Around the country we have some of the world’s oldest, largest rainforests, beautiful waterways and native flora and fauna. Living on Bribie we are lucky enough to experience many of these environmental wonders simply by stepping out of our front doors. Thus lies the question, how do we protect our local environment? Bribie already has an organisation aimed at ensuring environmentally friendly tourism practices and safeguarding our Island’s environment. This group titled the Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association, or more commonly BIEPA, has a number of active projects occurring around the island. From turtle monitoring to helping reduce marine debris. These plans focus on regeneration, reconstruction, and resilience to ensure long-lasting ecosystems and habitats. Usually, BIEPA organises local events to promote environmentalism and protection, however this year a slightly different approach has been taken. In 2022, BIEPA is supporting an initiative taken by the Sunshine Coast Environmental Council (SCEC).
This year, within our region, the Council is hosting a month-long program with numerous activities and events titled ‘World Environmental Day Festival’. These eighteen events will be held across the coast from Noosa to Coolum, all aimed at encouraging community activism and involvement. As community members these activities are local, accessible, and directly assist in rejuvenating areas utilised by us. Attending these events not only shows support for the environment but also the organisations that fight so hard to protect it. These organisations are often non-for-profit, consisting of volunteers with minimal, if any, governmental support. By showing up, we help fund these organisations and their plans for an environmental based future. Even if you are unable to attend any of these events, support can still be shown. The BIEPA website provides options to both donate to their cause and also the ability to volunteer to assist with their projects. More details regarding BIEPA, and the events hosted by the SCEC can be located on each of the organisations’ websites.
Although this issue may be overwhelming, approaching it at a local level provides a foundation for sustainable communities and proactive organisations, such as BIEPA. It is through this work that change can be achieved at a greater level. Raising awareness about these environmental threats is the key to development. Community support displays the importance of the matter to politicians, to organisations and most importantly to other people on our Island. We are fighting to protect the environment, for us and our future generations. We are also fighting to preserve the diversity, life, and beauty that nature brings to our planet. This is our fight for the future.