Local issues prevail

At the World Environment Day stalls were (from left) Philippa Hambleton, Geraldine Hollingsworth, Liz Bourne and Barbara Benham.

By Jenel Hunt

Local issues were at the fore during World Environment Day on Wednesday 5 June in Stanthorpe.

Members of the Granite Belt Sustainable Action Network and the Stanthorpe Rare Wildflower Consortium manned stalls at the piazza during the day, offering brochures about a host of environmental issues facing the world.

The global celebrations were centred in Saudi Arabia this year and the overall themes of the day were land restoration, drought resilience and tackling desertification.

But in Stanthorpe, convenor of GBSAN’s community engagement team Geraldine Hollingsworth said the major topics of interest were particularly local ones.

“We’re all about building awareness of what can be done in our local community,” she said.

“We are trying to re-invigorate Land for Wildlife and would like people to let us know if their property is part of that. We’re looking at landscape linkages so that national parks, state forests and other land can create wildlife corridors.

“The big vision is to connect from Girraween to Sundown. It’s a long-term project but it’s an important one.

“We want to do it strategically – maybe get an ecologist involved to give advice.”

Cat management was another important item on GBSAN’s list, with figures like 1144 million mammals, 649 million reptiles and 377 million birds killed by cats each year in Australia highlighting the importance of the containment of domestic cats and the management of ferals.

Barbara Benham talked about the importance of resource recovery, with three main projects under the magnifying glass – safe disposal of hazardous household chemical waste instead of going into landfill, advocating for the disposal of organic waste through an anaerobic digestor on the Southern Downs and increased present-day recycling, including the local Amcal chemist’s collection of blister packs and recycle stations at the Whistlestop community gardens from Thursday to Saturday mornings for used coffee pods, toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles.

“The Granite Belt is a small community. It’s good to create more awareness of something like refining the waste stream. We could be a very green area – that would be good for ourselves and good for our visitors as well,” she said.

Philippa Hambleton said she would like to see more education on how to avoid the waste in the first place.

“It’s always at the top of the list when people talk about what they’d like to do, but they need to know how to accomplish it,” she said.

As part of the local push for ecosystem restoration, a photo competition is being held for a $100 prize.

People can send a photo they have taken of a native plant, animal or insect (within a 30km radius of their home) to GBSAN by emailing their image to community@gbsan.org.au by 27 June. The winner will be drawn on 28 June at the Stanthorpe Regional Farmers’ Market.