29 November, 2014

Urgent appeal: Save our land, our water, our future!

From: "Kate Smolski, Nature Conservation Council" <donations@nature.org.au>
Date: 28 November 2014 4:51:17 pm AEDT
Subject: Urgent appeal: Save our land, our water, our future!

Dear Gerry
Across the state, magnificent natural places, precious wildlife habitat and vital water resources are under threat right now from destructive coal mining and gas developments poised for approval.
These destructive developments threaten the very essentials of life - our land, our water and our future.
I am writing to you as someone who I believe loves nature with a passion like I do, to request a major campaign donation of $35 - or whatever you can give, as soon as you can - to support the Nature Conservation Council's campaign to save our land, our water and our future. 
Your previous support has helped us achieve some impressive results in challenging times.  
Just 2 weeks ago, after a long, hard fought campaign, the Nature Conservation Council managed to help save the unique and stunningly beautiful 'Gardens of Stone' National Park from destruction from coal mining.
And last year, bowing to public pressure from the Nature Conservation Council and others, the NSW Government committed to ban coal seam gas (“CSG”) drilling within two km of residential areas, and imposed a moratorium on CSG development in important drinking water catchments.
But now the government backing away from that promise, and is also actively barracking for some massive and destructive mining developments.
Our elected government is bending over backwards for the powerful mining industry and ignoring community needs.
Over the next 4 months, we will face some of the biggest threats to nature that we have for many years, as powerful interests threaten to roll back the progress we have made over decades.  I urgently need your help.
Please help give the community back a voice – a voice for our environment, our land, our water and our future ... Our Land, Our Water, Our Future’ 
Please donate $35 today by credit card - click here (other payment methods at the bottom of this email).

Government and industry have set upon a path that will compromise our fresh water supplies and destroy forever iconic natural places such as the Pilliga and Leard Forest.
It is not just an environmental issue. It is about our health, our communities and our rights. Failure to defend our public lands and water catchments will cost us all.
In the lead up to the state election, the Nature Conservation Council has co-founded the ‘Our land, our water, our future’ campaign alliance that is working strategically with more than 50 partners to achieve a simple but vital vision:
“A state that protects land, water, environment and community health; where long-term jobs in sustainable industries are supported, not sacrificed; and where mining is only permitted where it is responsible and supported by the local community.”
Please become one of the hundreds of supporters we need of the ‘Our land, our water, our future’ campaign by making a vital tax deductible contribution of $35.
You will be helping to fund a strong coordinated campaign to hold the NSW Government to account, making sure it does its job to protect our natural places, secure our water supplies, and preserve our way of life.

Wild refuge at risk
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit the unique Pilliga Forest, in the state’s north west, to support the community’s fight against the company Santos’s plans to build a massive coal seam gas field here.
The poet Eric Rolls once wrote of the Pilliga: It is busy with trees, with animals and with men. It is lonely and beautiful. It is a million wild acres. And there is no other forest like it.’ 
The Pilliga is a national treasure – providing an essential wild refuge for threatened plant and animal species that are disappearing across the country– koalas, squirrel gliders and rare birds such as painted honeyeaters. 
I witnessed firsthand the damage already caused by Santos – native forest bulldozed to make way for pipelines and drill pads, hundreds of dead trees killed by illegal releases of water contaminated with salt and heavy metals.
In the lead up to the 2015 election, we will be calling for this unique woodland teaming with rare wildlife, to be officially declared and protected as a wilderness area.
Please give $35 to support the strongest possible media and community campaign to protect the Pilliga and our other special natural places for generations to come.
A toxic pit
The travesty unfolding in the Pilliga is not an isolated case. During my trip, I also visited Maules Creek, the centre of a hard-fought struggle to protect Leard Forest from Whitehaven Coal’s destructive open-cut mine plans.
Leard Forest is home to the most extensive intact stands of Box-Gum Woodland left anywhere in Australia. 70% of this critically endangered forest is earmarked for destruction, with not one, but three open-pit coal mines planned.
These mines would rip out thousands of hectares of native wildlife habitat, including 500 hectares of the critically endangered White Box-Gum woodland.
The mines, operating 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, will create a toxic pit lake hundreds of metres deep, permanently scarring the landscape, draining groundwater for 1,000 years and dumping thousands of tonnes of mine dust on local communities every year.
These destructive developments are stark evidence of a broken system that routinely permits the destruction of land, water and wildlife habitat across our state for the benefit of the privileged mining industry.  
Help us give nature a voice!
The Nature Conservation Council has teamed up with leading environmental groups to launch a united vision – Our Environment, Our Future: Policies for the 2015 NSW Election and Beyond’.
Gerry please give $35 or what you can, help us promote this strong and comprehensive policy platform and help us send a loud and clear message to all politicians – we demand policies that don’t give in to powerful interests, a system that respects and values our environment and protects our natural resources. 
Our land, Our water, Our future’ will work to stop the rapid expansion of mining and gas in sensitive natural areas and water catchments so that together we can protect wildlife habitat, rivers, streams and our drinking water.
I know with your support we have a good chance at winning this fight. We are already making progress. Across the state, local communities are taking a stand, opposing destructive mining and CSG developments.
I am hugely heartened by the community resolve to defend our special places like the Pilliga and Leard Forest – conservationists, small business people, farmers and traditional owners are standing shoulder to shoulder to protect the forest, its wildlife and precious groundwater resources.  And we are getting results.
A group of local residents recently took the mining company at Maules Creek to court, seeking an order to halt work on the mine. The company agreed to halt forest clearing ahead of a court challenge.
As I put it on ABC radio at the time:
“This is a clear victory for community members who have been working tirelessly to protect this forest and the region’s water resources”.
“The decision to stop winter clearing does not end the fight... but it gives hibernating native animals a fighting chance to escape the bulldozers.”
This win is a testament to the power of community action in defence of nature.
But the fight has only just begun. Right now, decisions are being made behind closed doors, with the mining and gas industry pushing for increased access to public lands and fighting stronger regulation of their activities.
People like you and me are all that stands in the way. We can and must demand all politicians act for the people and deliver real change, to protect our communities, our most valuable natural assets and our water catchments.
With your help, I know we can transform these wins into a powerful force to be reckoned with, to regain control of our environment for people like you and me, and for future generations.
Many of our most important remaining native wildlife habitats are found in our state forests and conservation areas, natural treasure troves of rare and endangered wildlife, vital natural aquifers and water resources that sustain life.
Industry claims that coal seam gas is necessary to meet our state’s energy needs are misplaced and misleading. Energy demand is falling in New South Wales and we have alternatives that don’t damage our land and water: renewable energy solutions that are ready to take off, right here, right now.
Future generations are counting on you and me to protect their land and water. We can’t let them down. The success of the grassroots movement and recent wins gives me great hope that we will win this fight.
As the peak environment group for NSW, the Nature Conservation Council has the track record, the profile and the political experience necessary to transform inspiring local successes into government policy. Your generous support will be crucial.
Our advocacy has helped to place the environmental impacts of destructive mining and gas development on the political agenda. It’s a start. But we won’t stop until we secure strong legal protection for high-value conservation lands and real protection for our public lands and drinking-water catchments. 
It’s a big battle. But with you and other likeminded supporters on the team, we can succeed!  Please give as generously as you can.
Thank you again for your inspiring commitment to our state’s unique and threatened environment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Yours sincerely
Kate Smolski
Chief Executive Officer
Nature Conservation Council of NSW

P.S. Government and industry are on a path that will compromise our fresh water supplies and destroy iconic natural places like the Pilliga and Leard Forest. It is not just an environmental issue. It is about our health, our communities and our rights.
Failure to defend our public lands and water catchments will cost us all.
Please make a donation of $35, or whatever you can, and stand up with me today to stop the destructive development of the mining and gas industry in New South Wales.

Alternatively, credit card donations can also be made securely here (click) via GiveNow.
To post in your donation, please click here to download a donation form and send to (no stamp needed):
Kate Smolski
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
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Inquiries: email donations@nature.org.au or contact
Steve Clarke, Philanthropy Manager, 02 9516 1488, Mob 0424 044 930

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