Well, it's been a March like no other. COVID-19 has changed life as we know it and thrown many families into tough times they weren't expecting. Our thoughts go out to those in our community experiencing hardship and we encourage you to reach out if you are in need of any kind of support.
The impacts of this pandemic cannot be overstated. But, as we come together as a global community to protect those most vulnerable to this virus, we are learning valuable lessons about what it takes for governments and citizens to make big changes. These lessons will serve us well in our fight for climate justice.
While our year ahead is clouded with confusion and uncertainty, we will use this opportunity to encourage a paradigm shift to ensure that the future we build when the dust settles is the kind of future we have all been working towards - one where our environment is valued and sustainability is key. For an inspirational take on the situation, as well as some points about the importance of the EPBC Act Review, read this article published in The Guardian on the weekend.
Thank you in advance for your support during this time. Stay connected, stay healthy and stay at home if you can.
In this edition:
- Farewell from Tarquin
- Climate Conversations Project
- What you can do about single-use plastics
- EPBC Act Review
- (Virtual) Green Drinks
- Member of the Month
Farewell from Tarquin
Tarquin Moon, NQCC's Campaigns Manager April 2018 - April 2020
It is farewell from me after two years as NQCC's Campaign Manager. I now have first-hand experience of the many environmental matters that you face and what challenges there are being based in the regions. For example, I have watched so many fantastic training opportunities for activists in the major centres that have too often left behind those of us in regional areas.
Hinchinbrook Island National Park came under threat of commercial development in late 2018 and took up much of my time in lobbying, raising awareness and organising community demonstrations. On so many matters, I made numerous submissions, media comments, met with politicians and helped people connect with each other through the Green Drinks initiative. The Climate Concert kick-started some more focused work on climate change...
The event prompted Crystal and I to seek out answers about how to engage more people in Townsville on climate change. It led to our specially designed Climate Conversations Project. Through this project, I was able to achieve a personal goal to expand NQCC's capacity and team which saw Tessa Hodge employed as the Project Coordinator. This project is moving online during the pandemic so that it can be out in the open again in the near future.
I am leaving NQCC sooner than planned due to family circumstances. Now, with the Covid-19 changing everything for everyone, it is even more important to make this move with my husband Chet and Aveda, our 3-year old daughter.
As a farewell event, NQCC scheduled a get-together at the office with wood-fired pizzas to share under the mango tree. However, the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to that and we found ourselves last Thursday holding NQCC's very first virtual member event. It went really well and thanks to those who could make it!
There were many kind words shared of your appreciation for my time at NQCC. NQCC has a special place in my heart and as a life member, I look forward to staying in the conversation!
Tarquin's Fancy-Dress Virtual Farewell Party
NQCC's Climate Conversations Project
Those who attended Tarquin's Virtual Farewell Party on Thursday evening heard from Tessa Hodge - NQCC's Climate Conversations Project Coordinator. It is an exciting time for our organisation and Covid-19 won't stop us from carrying out our important behind-the-scenes work to advocate for a low-carbon economy and society.
What can you do about single-use plastics?
Have Your Say
Photo credit: FOX from Pexels
The Queensland Government recently announced their intention to introduce legislation to phase out certain plastic products. The first stage of the phase out is to include plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates from July 2021. After further analysis, this could be extended to coffee cups, heavyweight plastic bags and other plastics. You can have your say by completing the government's five minute online survey before 15th April.
Help Businesses Do Better
Many of the local businesses you know and love are rapidly having to change the way they operate. Across the country cafes, restaurants and bars are currently only able to offer takeaway services. This means a whole lot of packaging that wasn’t needed before, is being consumed.
Plastic Free Townsville is opening up their program to all retail food businesses in Townsville who need quick advice by phone or Skype on the most sustainable packaging options available and where to source it locally.
We know you all care about the environment and about supporting small businesses. Visit their website and share the link with a local business who you think might need some extra help ordering plastic-free packaging during this difficult time.
EPBC Act Review
Make A Submission!
According to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), under our Federal environmental laws:
"Australia has become a global deforestation hotspot, with one of the worst rates of mammal extinction in the world. Climate damage is bleaching our reefs and our oceans are choking with plastic. Each year, 3000 people in Australia die from air pollution from cars, factories and coal-burning power plants. As the recent bushfires so starkly remind us, Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate impacts. We urgently need strong environment laws to protect the places and people we love, and bring our wildlife and ecosystems back from the brink."
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is our key environmental law set by the Federal government to protect our most vulnerable species and ecosystems and it is currently under review.
NQCC will be be making a submission and so can you - the Government needs to hear from us all about how to protect our environment!
Submissions are due by 17th April 2020. You can fill out the Government's online submission form or find out how to write your own personalised submission. To help you with your submissions, check out the submission guides from the Australian Conservation Foundation and Places You Love Alliance.
Virtual Green Drinks
We believe isolation shouldn't be lonely. Hopefully you've been keeping up with your close friends and family members, but we know that not everyone loves the environment the way we do, and sometimes it's nice to catch up with other "greenies".
Join us from 6pm on Friday 3 April via Zoom (make a free account here) from the comfort of your own home. Wear something green or put a pot plant in view, pour yourself a wine or mix up a mocktail and settle in for a social Friday evening from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Member of the Month
Dedicated NQCC member and volunteer, Malcolm Tattersall.
Malcolm is a valuable member of our community who attends and supports NQCC events without fail (sometimes from behind his camera) and provides his services as an IT guru to our staff and Committee when required (which is relatively often!). We love having Malcolm around and would like to publicly recognise his contribution to our organisation over the years. Here, we asked him to share some thoughts so that you can get to know him better...
Why did you become a member of NQCC?
I started volunteering for NQCC almost exactly six years ago and became a member a few weeks later. (That order may seem odd, but I support groups from the outside more often than from the inside.) Why NQCC? Because I had free time after quitting my volunteering role at ReefHQ Aquarium and NQCC was active on the Abbot Point reef-dumping issue. Also because Wendy Tubman, co-coordinator at the time, welcomed me and gave me useful and congenial things to do.
What are your life passions?
The arts, especially music which was both career and hobby for nearly all of my working life. Learning and teaching, which was also both career and hobby. Thinking about the classic Big Questions (no-one ever paid me for that, sadly).
How does nature fit into your life?
I’m a country kid, having grown up on a farm in Victoria, so I always feel most at home in the bush - getting out of town restores me and centres me. At the same time, I’m continually fascinated by the endless variety and intricate interconnections of the natural world. There’s always so much to learn, and to share (that’s my teaching background taking over, I suspect). And I am deeply concerned about our over-exploitation of the natural world: inter-generational justice demands that we look after it well enough to pass it on in good health, but that’s not happening now.
Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for others who love the environment?
There’s a proverb along the lines of, “To travel fast, travel alone; to travel far, travel with friends.” We’re all in this together and we’re in it for the long haul, so we need to nurture our strength, our stamina, and our community. One way of doing that is to celebrate every little step in the right direction, no matter how many more still lie ahead of us.
Well said, Malcolm.
Please take care of yourselves and each other in these trying times. We need each other and our environment needs us.
Crystal and Tarquin