National Threatened Species Day rally: Australia’s shameful record
By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 9 September 2022
86 years after the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity, Australia has the highest species extinction rate in the world.
Extinction Rebellion VIC and over 30 other community groups came together on Weds 7th September for a rally, headed by the Extinction Rebellion puppet ‘Blinky’ and the XR Red Rebels. There were many beautiful hand-painted banners of native creatures, marchers in a variety of animal costumes and the much loved Climate Choir. The photo above is by Matt Hrkac.
The rally set off from the Melbourne Museum and paused at the office of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) before arriving at Parliament House. After speeches, embroidered fabric 'logs' were unrolled in Treasury Gardens. The panels are part of the Great Tree Project, and were placed in a line to form a massive, 80m long fallen tree trunk.
Edith Fry from XR Ballarat driving Blinky - photo by Matt Hrkac
Speakers at the rally included Jonathan from School Strike for Climate, who addressed the connection between the climate crisis and environmental degradation. Michelle from the Strzelecki Koala Action Team (SKAT) talked about the rich history of conservation efforts. Tuffy from the Goongerah Environment Centre reminded rally attendees of the significance of protesting and the shameful anti-protest laws recently enacted by the Victoria Government.
Before the rally set off, Alana Mountain, Friends of the Earth Melbourne Forest Collective Coordinator and a member of Wildlife of the Central Highlands spoke.
“The State of the Environment Report revealed that every single ecosystem across the country is in a dire state. Australia has the highest rate of extinction in the world. This is nothing to celebrate, and only speaks to the colonial project which has prevailed for over 200 years.“ she said.
“It speaks to the lack of action from governments. It is reflective of the lack of recognition of efforts by citizen scientists, that have taken up the slack of government departments; departments that are meant to regulate companies such as Vic Forests.
Sybils at the rally, in front of hand-painted animal banners, with 'logs' from the Great Tree Project
“The logging industry has enjoyed a free reign over state forests, plundering and destroying habitats, water catchments and carbon stores. Australia has a massive issue with a lack of robust environment laws that act to protect endangered species.”
“There is no climate security without biodiversity security. When we decide to protect the habitat for one rare species, it has ultimate benefit for other creatures in the ecosystem – as well as human beings. We are all connected to the source of life.”
Alana spoke of her volunteering work in the Central Highlands of Victoria, witnessing the decline of forest systems over the years and of recent bushfires.
Alana Mountain speaking at the rally
“You would have thought that losing millions of animals in the worst bushfire in living memory would have been significant enough to do something; would have warmed the cold hearts of those in power, who care about nothing more than being re-elected.
“Well their time is also running out. Because we all live on the same planet. The last election showed that Australians care about the environment.
“Now is not the time to despair. It’s time to connect with others who care and take action. We all have an opportunity at this election to make the environment and the climate a key election issue. “
Australia’s climate inaction and environmental destruction is fuelling ecological collapse.
It’s time to step up and take direct action.
It’s time to make heedless politicians, grasping profiteers and environmental vandals extinct.