Tuesday 11 October 2022


Mankind’s immeasurable impact on planet Earth through the reckless exploitation of natural resources has reached a point where many are running out.

The demand for these resources grew enormously with the industrial revolution in the 1760s to 1849s, when nothing was off-limits. However, concerns grew over the wasteful destruction of landscapes, and the rapid disappearance of natural ecosystems, with animals like bison, whales, and elephants hunted to virtual extinction for meat, tallow and ivory.

By the mid-1860s, visionaries like naturalist Ferdinand Hayden, began to lobby for the first ever national park, Yellowstone, in the USA. Hayden had visited the area with a survey team, and later led an expedition of discovery, a report on which helped convince the U.S. Congress to withdraw the region from public auction

Finally, in March, 1872, President Grant signed The Act of Dedication, the law that created Yellowstone National Park.

John Muir, American naturalist and conservationist described Yellowstone as follows: "However orderly your excursions or aimless, again and again amid the calmest, stillest scenery you will be brought to a standstill hushed and awe-stricken before phenomena wholly new to you”.

Australia followed, creating the world’s second national park in 1879, now the “Royal”, south of Sydney. Of course, like many early national parks, it was about providing spaces for public recreation, rather than for conservation. 

I recently experienced my own John Muir moment while visiting the Lamington National Park, just north of the Queensland Border, seated beneath a ‘monolithic’ Brush Box, carbon dated to over 1,500 years.

Lamington’s visionary was Robert Collins, MLC, who was inspired by the Yellowstone Park concept when visiting the USA in 1878, and began a vigorous campaign for the area’s preservation.

In 1900, as a direct result of Collins’ “constant representation”, the Queensland Surveyor General noted: “these lands be ultimately reserved as national park and sanatorium”. This finally led to the park’s dedication in 1915.

With so many of Australia’s unique fauna and flora facing extinction, we desperately need other visionaries. We can all be part of that by supporting conservation efforts.

-        John Edwards

Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent ,September 14, 2022.   




Sunday 2 October 2022


The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has called on the NSW Government to stop approving koala habitat for clearing and logging. 

NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh pointed out the illogical situation where koala habitat continues to be cleared while the NSW Government spends tens of millions of dollars on koala hospitals, open range zoos and planting seedlings.  All of this will not prevent koalas becoming extinct in the wild unless existing koala habitat is protected.

“Every day the NSW Government is allowing the Forestry Corporation to cut down mature Koala feed trees in public forests, and farmers to bulldoze them, while their propaganda arm goes into over-drive pretending that Koalas don’t need their feed trees.

“We know that Koalas only utilise certain individuals of certain species, and that the larger those trees are the more they use them. Protecting these key trees and allowing others to mature is essential for Koala’s survival.

“If the NSW Government is sincere about saving Koalas they need to ensure thorough surveys of potential habitat before clearing or logging is allowed, and to protect any core Koala habitat found.

“For a start they can ditch their current policy that if a logger sees a Koala in a tree they just wait for it to leave before they cut its home down, Mr. Pugh said.