People power stands tall after year long battle to save forest

People power saves Ferny Forest

By Narelle McCarthy, Sunshine Coast Environment Council

IT WAS Margaret Mead who said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

And, indeed we have seen this in the fight and wonderful win to protect Ferny Forest, a 130ha section of the Beerwah State Forest slated for logging.

All too often, despite being distressed and angry, often to the point of utter disbelief as some new assault on the environment unfolds, people may feel powerless or unsure of what they can do in the face of events and activities they feel are beyond their control.

Being an environmental advocate isn’t always easy but every once and a while there is a day when your impact is undeniable.

The efforts of individuals aren’t always noticeable, immediate or duly recognised but these contributions count and really do make a difference.

It’s this collective effort where people become connected to accomplish a shared objective while supporting and learning from each other along the way.

The many celebrated and iconic natural assets which characterise the region are testament to people from all walks of life standing up and caring for nature over decades.

From the Conondale, Mount Coolum and Noosa National Parks (and more!) to the bushland reserves and coastal environments so integral for biodiversity, wildlife, our well-being and lifestyles, these places haven’t been protected by sheer luck or left to chance.

Conservation wins come with vigilance. Stewardship of our local and regional ‘patches’ comes back to shared values and experiences and a willingness to be involved in whatever way we can.

Whether it’s to maintain, expand and restore biodiversity and wildlife habitats or to strengthen environmental provisions in our planning instruments which directly affect and impact our environment and amenity, any positive action matters.

When people are motivated to conserve the natural environment, protect our wildlife, a special place under threat or to act on climate change, momentum and collective action builds – this is people power!

And we, as a region and community, are fortunate to have it in abundance.  


Image credit: Patrick Woods

Published as an OpEd in the Glasshouse Country & Maleny News 22 December 2022