Despite the odds, individuals and groups continue to focus on what needs to be done, stemming the catastrophes that surround us. However, when we start in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, battered as we are by lockdowns and stories of death, despair, doom and disaster, it’s pretty hard to find the positive and hopeful.

forest fire
Photo by Vladyslav Dukhin on

And the same is true when we turn our gaze to what normally sustains us, nature. The pattern repeats. Death, destruction, devastation and doom. Positive, hopeful? How so?

Nearly three billion animals were severely impacted by Australia’s unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfires according to the World Wildlife Fund report. However, when you lift the stone and look more deeply, even WWF can find the ‘silver lining’.

‘There is hope. After the bushfire devastation, Australians want to see their nation rebuilt in a way that treasures and protects our unique wildlife.’


And that’s where communities like those in ‘Map of Heroes’ Link need to be celebrated. People like ‘Majella’ up Charleville way, who started caring for an orphaned possum 20 years ago. And now living some 200kms from Cunnamulla, on the road to Longreach, Majella is caring for two big red kangaroos, a joey, six grey bucks and five does of various sizes, as well as woolly buck wallabies. Oh, and her pensioner husband!

And there are a few echidnas and possums on their three acres to care for too, where, Majella says: “There’s not a skerrick of grass.” So, she’s eking out her pension to buy pony pellets and some lucerne hay (a $32 bale lasts 2-3 weeks). 

Majella is matter of fact. As far as she is concerned, that’s just what country people do.

“There’s a lady in town who cares for the birds that are hit on the roads.” And there’s Heather, with a fair-sized paddock, 90kms east of Majella who looks after the ‘roos that have escaped either the wild dogs or the shooters, or got caught at the dog and dingo fences.

photo of a kangaroo on road
Photo by Sabel Blanco on

As post-doctorate conservation biologist at the University of Queensland, Michelle Ward says: “Loss of habitat is the most important destroyer of wildlife.” (See Money Does Grow on Trees).

Dr Ward has worked in various parts of the world including Turkey, Qatar and South Africa promoting sustainable development, recycling, waste management, green energy, and conservation of the environment and our natural resources.  For her PhD, she is now focused on assessing dynamic species, ecosystems and ecosystem services under a variety of cumulative threats.

“It’s all about measurement, what we can do, what we need to do and how to implement new innovative ideas to assist that,” Michelle explains. That’s another end of the positive spectrum.

Watch this space for more on Dr Ward and her work with Professor James Watson.

WA cattle farmer David McQuie says revenues from carbon offsets far outweigh lost income from livestock.  Victoria McQuie

And to keep on our theme of connectivity and positivity, as the CEO of Land to Market, Tony Hill told when it comes to carbon: “You need to see carbon in the context of an ecosystem. In the soil it is food for micro and macro-organisms.  A single-minded focus on carbon as a commodity won’t solve the problem.

“You need to focus on healthy ecosystem processes. You have to have everything functioning properly, to reverse the damage. You can’t get the climate benefits you want from carbon drawdown, without effective biodiversity and healthy ecosystems systems.”

See more here Land to Market and our upcoming interview with Tony Morris.

As an aside, it is also worth checking out the OECD report which shows the connection between enhancing environmental health and reducing vulnerability to pandemics

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