My 3rd novel Shallow Breath celebrates ten years of publication this month! The story moves across twenty years and five continents, in a character-driven mystery surrounding one family’s passion and connections to animals and conservation. The research I undertook into animal behaviour, including elephants, orang-utans, dolphins and whale sharks – as well as bringing back to life the old Atlantis marine park in WA – remains some of the most fascinating work I’ve done. Watch out for more anniversary celebrations in my stories and posts over the next couple of weeks.
Animal conservation remains a cause close to my heart. Over the weekend I went to see Black Cockatoo Crisis by filmmaker Jane Hammond, which documents the severe threats facing our beloved black cockatoos in WA. I urge everyone to see it, because without a lot of help these birds are predicted to go extinct within the next 20 years.
The film clearly shows that there is not one problem or one solution, but rather lots of small problems all adding up to a possible catastrophe for these birds. Roosts and nesting trees are being cut down. There’s a lack of food sources and rising temperatures. Grain spillage from open trucks causes hungry birds to forage on the roadside where they are regularly hit by cars. Farmers sometimes shoot cockatoos who have turned to orchards to find food. Yet the film also clearly offers solutions for each aspect of this crisis: it’s just that, as usual, action is taking too long, and so it’s vital to pressure all the relevant authorities, make our voices heard, and do what we can. One solution we’re looking into as a family, since we now have black cockatoos coming into our suburb more often, is to plant almond, pecan and macadamia trees, as they are also great food sources for these birds. There’s more on the film and what you can do to help here: blackcockatoocrisis.com.au – Documentary Film
We are in the midst of a mass extinction event – currently losing 200 species A DAY (Source: UN Environment Programme). In seven years, when the clock counts us down to 2030 (the tipping point year where the global rise in temperature might go above 1.5 degrees C), we will either have achieved massive, worldwide, collective change and reduced global warming, or we will have failed. There is no grey area, and everything to play for. Whatever field we work in, wherever we live in the world, we cannot hide from this. It will require radical rethinking of the way we live – and it needs to happen fast.
It was therefore inspiring reading about Prince William’s Earthshot prize winners for 2022, and all their incredible, innovative projects. One of the winners was the Indigenous women rangers project on the Great Barrier Reef – a reminder to support our local environmental champions. They need all the help we can give them, and there are people doing amazing things all over the place. You can read more about the EarthShot winners here: Winners & Finalists – The Earthshot Prize