Our Environment Laws are failing birds, places, and people
Did you see today's news about nature laws? As part of a series shining a Spotlight on Neglected Environmental Issues, the Guardian ran a story about how top law experts are calling for a complete system overhaul on Australia's nature laws. For a fairly dry legal report to make front-page news, you know the issue has to be pretty important.
Right now, Australia's nature laws are getting a lot of press for all the wrong reasons. The key piece of legislation written specifically to protect Australia's biodiversity will soon be up for review. Expert consensus is that the EPBC act – the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conversation act- is failing to do what it says on the tin – protecting our environment and conserving our biodiversity.
For a lot of you, this month's Guardian series on nature might have been the first time you heard about the Places You Love alliance – Australia's biggest ever collaboration of nature-loving organisations. But it won't be the last! BirdLife Australia got a mention in a few of the articles - we're right at the core of the Places You Love alliance. You'll see both BirdLife Australia and Places You Love mentioned often over the next couple of weeks as the Guardian continues its Spotlight on Neglected Environmental Issues. We're stepping into leadership on the campaign for new nature laws because we believe that strong laws save birds.
The Places You Love Alliance was formed about 5 years ago to speak with one voice for nature, and stop rollbacks of protections we'd fought hard for. As someone who's been fighting to prevent extinction for a while, it feels like too often our battles are reactionary, last-ditch attempts to stop clear-felling or development on critical habitat. It's about time we combined our resources and planned ahead to try to achieve true system change. If we can enact the new laws that Places You Love is calling for, it will save us from fighting the same battles time and again to ensure that species protected on paper are genuinely protected in reality.
Imagine for a moment: how would truly strong, national, nature laws make a difference for the birds you love?
Keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks for the launch of our campaign to secure a new generation of nature laws. It's an ambitious campaign, but I reckon it's a legacy worth winning.
PS: I joined BirdLife Australia team a month ago to help fight for these new laws. I’m loving being part of a team that’s working so hard to put birds, science and our shared future front and centre on the national agenda.
Fiona has been teaching me about the long and diverse history of the local branches and groups that have come together to make BirdLife Australia what it is today, you are a strong network and I hope to meet lots of you in the coming months!
Conservation Community Organiser
Image: BirdLife Australia Report - Restoring the balance - The case for a new generation of Australian environment laws - available March 2018