Today, Saturday 5th June, is World Environment Day and an important time to reflect on the climate and extinction crises that are having a devastating impact on our natural world. Kiama Greens recognises world environment day 2021, by highlighting the importance of protecting the unique natural environment of the Kiama Local Government Area.
Kathy Rice, current Kiama Councillor, highlights that “the Kiama LGA is home to amazing biodiversity, including at least seven endangered vegetation communities spanning Jamberoo to Gerroa; the largest area of subtropical rainforest in southern NSW; rare littoral rainforest; swamp forests; heathlands and saline wetlands. Our coastal dune vegetation is an important habitat and buffer to rising sea levels.”
Councillor Rice reminds us that “these communities are home to many animals and bird species including the endangered greater glider population at Seven Mile Beach, endangered ground parrots and bristle birds at Barren Grounds and rare oystercatchers breeding in the dunes at Seven Mile Beach.”
“Sadly, the koala disappeared in our municipality in the eighties,” she reminds us, “and development pressures and climate impacts may see more losses, so we think it’s very important to highlight these values and work to look after what remains of our unique local environment."
There is little disagreement that Kiama’s rich natural heritage provides much of the character that attracts people to the area and supports both a special local quality of life and our local tourism industry, where visitors are welcome to share our amazing natural heritage.
These and other environmental features have an intrinsic right to be protected, supported and enhanced. Kiama Greens have actively contributed to these activities over several decades, both as individuals, members of local environment groups and through the work of elected Greens Councillors on Kiama Council.
Kiama Greens members have supported campaigns to protect special areas from sandmining; to preserve the remaining vegetation along the Minnamurra River; to combat unnecessary removal of individual trees of significance and the arrogant destruction of coastal dune vegetation through vandalism. The group are constantly alert to the potential negative impacts of development on the area.
Since colonisation, more than 30 mammal species have gone extinct in Australia. That’s the same number of mammal species that were lost in the rest of the world combined.
It is important to remember the impact that the climate crisis is having on ecosystems, many animal and plant species and coastal land through erosion and to recognise the effects of excessive plastic use on sea creatures. Protecting the environment from further degradation and cleaning up the existing damage, is a massive, and sadly increasing world-wide problem.
Jodi Keast, as a member of the Greens team for the upcoming September council elections, said “Like many in our community, I’ve swum at every beach and river, and walked every trail in the local area as part of my ‘50 walks in my 50th year goal’. When you spend time in nature, it is good for your mental wellbeing and gives you an opportunity to develop a deep connection with our country".
"Greens Councillors elected to Kiama Council in September 2021 will be committed to actively protecting this valuable and unique biodiversity,” Ms Keast said. “Our team has extensive practical experience in environmental campaigning; in Landcare work and administration and in championing the changes needed to tackle the climate and ecological crisis we face. When elected, we will be encouraging and promoting Council policies which support these values”.
Feature image: Planting a tree for World Environment Day. Photo credit: BlurryMe/Shutterstock