It’s been a heartbreaking 12 months. Unprecedented bushfires burnt through much of the state — including the overwhelming majority of our beloved Blue Mountains — then just when things were returning to normal the COVID-19 virus turned the world on its head.
Lots of people have been doing it tough. In the Blue Mountains, dozens lost their homes to the fires, including friends of ours. The double-whammy of fires and a global pandemic has caused serious financial hardship, particularly for those working in industries such as tourism and hospitality.
But it’s also been a tough year for nature. The impacts of climate change have become disturbingly clear. Bushfires burnt so fast and hard that an estimated 800 million animals were killed in NSW alone. At the same time, clearing of native vegetation continued, as did the logging of native forests. Natural areas are under threat from new coal and gas projects, such as the Newnes Plateau and Pilliga. World Heritage-listed wilderness in the Blue Mountains faces being flooded by a raised Warragamba Dam. And exploding numbers of feral horses continue to threaten the iconic Snowy Mountains.
The organisations that fight to protect our wonderful wild places have been working extremely hard, responding to these challenges and many more, but the economic downturn has greatly impacted their finances. Many supporters have understandably been unable to donate as they deal with their own hardships.
That’s why I’m writing a post like none we’ve ever published before: one that asks you for money.
If, like us, you’ve managed to make it through this horrible year relatively unscathed, please consider sharing that good fortune by giving money to organisations that support nature. Every little bit helps and any donation over $2 is tax deductable.
There are plenty of other good organisations you can support, but this is a list of one’s we have made donations to, with a short summary of what each does and why you might consider supporting them.
Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade:
This one isn’t a conservation organisation, but the Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade look after some of the best canyoning areas in the Blue Mountains. Not only do they fight fires, volunteers from the brigade are regularly involved in rescues for injured or lost canyoners.
Colong Foundation for Wilderness:
The Colong Foundation was formed to stop limestone mining in the heart of the southern Blue Mountains. Over the decades they’ve been responsible for protecting large areas of wilderness across NSW. They are currently running the Give a Dam campaign against the raising of Warragamba Dam.
Blue Mountains Conservation Society:
Fresh from their successful campaign to have Ngula Bulgarabang (Radiata Plateau) added to the NSW National Parks estate, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society is working to have the remainder of the Gardens of Stone protected.
Invasive Species Council:
The Invasive Species Council works to protect Australia’s unique flora and fauna from the threats posed by feral animals and other pests. They are currently running the Reclaim Kosci campaign to have wild horses humanely removed from alpine areas.
National Parks Association of NSW:
The National Parks Association of NSW has spent 60 years campaigning to expand the national parks estate. They are currently leading the fight for a Great Koala National Park to protect this iconic animal from extinction.
The Climate Council brings together some of the country’s leading climate scientists, renewable energy and policy experts to provide expert advice to the Australian public on climate change.
The Wilderness Society is campaigning for an end to native forest logging, stronger laws to protect the environment, and against damaging coal seam gas developments.
Bush Heritage Australia:
Bush Heritage buys and manages land, in partnership with Indigenous people, to protect Australia’s irreplaceable landscapes and magnificent native species.