Australia is home to over one million different species and over 50% are found nowhere else on earth. There's no doubt about it, Australia's landscape is one of a kind, and as any amazed foreign traveller who's roadtripped the entire continent will tell you, there's a lot of variation from rainforest to outback. It's a landscape that inspires many of us to do what we do to fight climate change and protect the planet.
Here are our four top ways to support biodiversity and our environment, in partnership with Bank Australia:
1. Start in your own backyard
Aside from the health benefits, a backyard garden can really help the local environment thrive. A well-loved vegetable garden is an ecosystem full of fungi, bacteria, insects and earthworms. It can attract birds and bees if you're planting the right plants which are crucial pollinators for trees, flowers and native vegetation.
Growing your own food can also reduce the burden on our food system – reducing the need for cleared rural land for farms, while also cutting back on emissions from food miles. Here are a couple of ideas on how to start growing your own food - and don't be concerned about lack of space, people have thought of ways around that too!
2. Write a letter to your local MP and let them know how passionate you are about the environment
Or more specifically, tell them how you feel about the current environmental issues. When we take the time to write to our local politicians, they don't look at our letters as coming from a single person, but instead see it as representing a portion of their electorate. You can also share on social media, sign petitions and talk to your friends about environmental issues. Whatever your communications weapon of choice, don't forget the importance of advocating for the world you want to live in.
3. Visit our great National Parks
Our network of national parks are an international treasure. From the Daintree where the rainforest meets the reef right down to the Tarkine, featuring some of the planet's oldest plant species – get outside and experience what our incredible national parks have to offer. Our friends at Bank Australia actually give their customers the chance to partly own a Conservation Reserve, in a conservation effort that we love. The reserve is located in-between the world heritage listed Grampians National Park and the less well-known Little Desert National Park. Both these parks offer unique views and good walk ways. Being in nature reminds us how beautiful it is and reinforces our need to look after it. It's also especially important to get our kids interested in nature to form that love and appreciation for the planet that supports us right from the start.
4. Divest from organisations that fund fossil fuel projects
The biggest threat to biodiversity right now is climate change. While we do everything we can at home to cut back on our emissions, many of us are unaware of how our hard earned money is supporting the fossil fuel industry. As the world's largest exporter of coal, Australia's contribution to the world's overall carbon footprint is massive. A lot of banks and superannuation funds directly invest in these projects to receive a financial return. But we have the choice to divest our money away from these organisations and take our money to organisations that invest in-line with our values. Market Forces is a great resource to find out which institutions are investing in fossil fuel projects and which have made a public commitment to divest. We're currently banking with Bank Australia because they haven't and won't be making any loans to the fossil fuel industry. Check out their responsible lending policy.
This is only the start of how we can work to protect all the incredible plants and animals we share this planet with. The reality is that we need to give our lifestyles a complete overhaul to minimise the pollution we produce both directly and indirectly. Let's do as much as we can.