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What do toad busters, solar lights and kitchen gardens have in common? – World Environment Day!

Bernard DUPONT

Have you heard? Australia has been invaded by aliens! Big, ugly, poisonous critters that are wreaking havoc on our wildlife.

Yep, that’s right I’m talking about the cane toad. This alien species were introduced to Australia 80 odd years ago by Queensland’s Department of Agriculture as a way of sustainably managing a pest problem. Basically beetles were eating sugar cane crops and the toads were brought in to eat them. In hindsight, this was a REALLY bad idea.

Enter the Kimberley Toad Busters! This community group has been working to control the cane toad population over the past 10 years and they are now one of this years finalists for the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) World Environment Day Awards.

Across 12 categories, finalists include over 40 schools, journalists, local councils, environmental organisations and individuals. Winners will be announced in Melbourne on 5th of June, World Environment Day.

In Australia, World Environment Day is all about celebrating our environment and the positive actions organisations, individuals and communities take to protect our planet locally and abroad. And there’s a lot to celebrate!

Another finalist - Alternative Technology Association (ATA), is working on a project in one of the poorest countries in the world, which also happens to be Australia’s closest neighbour. Timor Leste is only an hours flight from Darwin. Much of the country is still without electricity and despite the Government’s plans, it’s likely that 20% of the population will still be relying on kerosene and candles in 2020. The ATA have set up a program working with local Timorese communities training them to install their own solar lighting and power. So far they have helped to install renewable energy to over 1,000 schools, orphanages, hospitals and homes.

St Louis De Monfort’s Primary School is another finalist recognised for incorporating sustainability education into all year levels and disciplines. From composting and worm farms, to measuring and monitoring their water, energy consumption and growing fruit and vegetables in their kitchen garden program. This school is committed to raising students to be responsible future custodians of our planet.

worm farm.jpgImage: Flickr - CAFNR

These finalists embody what it means to be a global citizen - coming up with creative and innovative ideas to create a more sustainable and equitable life for everyone who lives on this beautiful planet we call home.

Check out the full list of finalists and stay tuned as the winners are announced.