Australia is a huge country, with nearly all people living in the main city areas, the rest is mainly the Australia bush and desert. It has far greener practices for many parts, and a thriving Green party movement. It also has good environmental policies in the city of Sydney, from nappy laundries to a thriving vegan movement.
Obviously climate change and wildfires is having a horrendous effect on koala bears, not least because the huge growth of both biodegradable packaging and Tencel is leading to over-plantations of flammable eucalyptus trees. Also some companies use chainsaws to harvest trees for essential oils. Read more on how to help cuddly koala bears.
One area that we can learn from is their approach to suncare. Due to high rates of skin cancer, everyone is sensible in the sun (slip on a shirt, slap on a hat, and slop on sunscreen). Wash off sunscreens before allowing pets to lick your skin as (like cocoa butter) it contains toxins (zinc and titanium dioxide).
foods to eat (and not) in Australia
Because Australia is kind of a land where other people landed, there is not much ‘national food’. The western foods are popular (beer, meat) and alas so is kangaroo meat, which is now not sold in most UK supermarkets, as customers were complaining. Lamingtons and pavlova are two popular desserts, as is their steamed date pudding (Aussie version of sticky toffee pudding). The climate obviously means there are more tropical fruits, but overall the cuisine is pretty similar to most European countries. Australia also has a thriving wine industry.
As well as buying vegan leather football boots (to avoid kangaroo leather), also don’t buy kangaroo meat. Often the joeys are left to die in the pouch, when adult kangaroos are shot or clubbed to death. Recently BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham has written an open letter to those behind the popular TV series ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’. Stating that to kill or harm creatures in the Australian jungle for ‘entertainment’ is no longer a worthy way to earn a living.
Circuses have gone, dancing bears have gone, cock-and-dog fighting are the sad preserve of psychopathic criminals. We have no performing dolphins and no chimpanzees dressed up for tea time. The cruel exploitation of wildlife for gratuitous entertainment, continues to damage the reputation of the UK as a ‘nation of animal lovers’. Chris Packham (open letter to producers of ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’).
a few plant-based Aussie recipes to try!
Sticky toffee pudding (So Vegan) is officially the world’s favourite pudding. Although it was invented in Cumbria (England), Aussies love it too, with their version of steamed date pudding.
Vegan Pavlova (Addicted to Dates) may be Russian, but it’s one of Australia’s most popular desserts. The soft marshmallow centre is topped with strawberries and non-dairy cream, made with aquafaba (vegan meringue) and no eggs.
an Australian vegan knitwear brand
Willow & Claude is a fabulous vegan knitwear brand in Australia, to help save the millions of sheep slaughtered each year for the meat and wool trade. And all profits support the work of collective fashion justice. You can also contact them for a discount if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, due to knitwear being made on your land.
Although sheep do need shearing to avoid over-heating, falling over (right one up if you see it upside down or it will die) and to see predators, the conventional wool industry has many issues. Some sheep are sheared too early (leading to hypothermia) and others suffer ‘mulesling’ (having chunks of skin sliced away to prevent flystrike, without painkillers). And many sheep are killed, when they get older and their wool production slows down). If you wear wool, choose companies that don’t kill the sheep, simply shearing the wool: like vegetarian wool or sheepskins.
Australia’s Animal Justice Party
Australia’s Animal Justice Party is dedicated to saving animals through political action. Also with a youth arm, this party campaigns for tougher animal protection laws, and increased penalties for abuse. The manifesto includes recognising all animals as sentient beings, promoting plant-based diets, outlawing international trade and use of animals for sport, exhibition and ‘entertainment’ and outlawing research and experimentation, and instead promoting humane research. The party’s MPs have had huge success, securing millions in funding (including for domestic abuse victims to find safe havens with pets) and to stop or investigate cruelty in many industries.