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Hoping to preserve wildlife habitat in Australia

I have always been one for worrying about animals losing their habitats in Australia. Living in Cromer a small suburb west of Dee Why on the Northern Beaches of NSW, it is a place full of gum trees and home to many bird species. At the top of Cromer Heights you can still walk up through the bush and climb up rocks to look down on one of the few areas of land around the Northern Beaches where there are no houses or buildings in sight. This is an untouched haven for wallabies and animals of all kinds. Hanging the washing on the line I am often excited to hear the prehistoric call of the black cockatoos flying over the hills. I am almost too scared to write about this pocket of bush. Sometimes when walking up in the bush, I wait till no one is in sight to sneak up the track to the rock we call the ‘mountain hike’ in case someone sees us walking up there and word gets out. Growing up in Cromer heights, the bush used to stretch all the way down the hill to Cromer Golf course. When I was around 16 they started clearing the land at the base of the hill to make way for a housing estate. It was scary how quickly the land was cleared. Now I go up there with my kids and it seems like the bush was never there. I am still glad you can walk up the track and look over to the bush on the other side, but am always worried for it and hope it stays the same for my kids to take their kids up there one day.

Koalas used to live in Cromer and around the Northern Beaches. Habitat loss for Koala’s has happened rapidly over the past century in New South Wales. My mum remembers as a kid growing up in the 70s a Koala up a telegraph pole in Narraweena as all the trees were taken down. The thought of that poor Koala with no where to go breaks my heart. There is still a healthy population of Koalas in the south-west of Sydney. These Koalas are at risk with new developments taking place. Read about these new developments here. Even before the catastrophic bush fires this year, but now even more, we cannot keep developing and removing Koala habitat when we have already lost so many Koalas in Australia. It should be illegal to develop where Koalas live. Where else do they have to go?

The Australian Conservation foundation does so much important work to speak out about developments that impact the environment and animal habitat in Australia. A small way we would like to help is to donate $1 from every purchase to the Foundation and hopefully step up the help in other ways in the future.

Hopefully this bush stays untouched forever
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Protecting your skin and the ocean

Regular sunscreen can harm coral, it’s inhabitants and us..

A coral reef off the coast of Australia. The coral is beautiful, untouched, a haven for fish, sharks, octopus, turtles, manta-rays… the list goes on! When I last went snorkelling on Ningaloo reef in WA, I was told to use sunscreen sparingly as it can damage the reef, this was news to me!

Did you know that when you swim with regular sunscreen on, chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate can seep into the water, where they are absorbed by corals. These substances contain nono-particles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching. The ICRI (International Coral Reef Initiative) describe these chemicals as “known environmental pollutants” which can be “incredibly toxic to juvenile stages of many wildlife species, including corals, fish, macroalgae and even people”.

Coral and fish at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Even of you don’t swim in the ocean, it usually gets onto the sand when you spray it on or go down the drain after you shower and still get washed into the ocean.

The world’s coral reefs are in trouble already with warming oceans, pollution, development and now apparently 14,000 tons of sunscreen washing into the ocean each year!

The word is getting out about this harmful sunscreen and on January 1, 2021 Hawaii and Key West, Florida will be banning the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. Palau a small country surrounded by one of the largest marine reserves on the planet has already banned them. It’s only a matter of time before more countries follow suit.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains how a common chemical in sunscreen is damaging our coral reefs.

An alternative to normal sunscreen is reef friendly sunscreen which does not contain these chemicals. SunButter sunscreen is a plant based sunscreen and does not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. Not only does it not kill the coral but it also won’t seep into your bloodstream. You can buy SunButter sunscreen and zincs here.