Friday, 4 January 2013

Great to see a former Lower Clarence resident continues to fight the good fight

Heckler in The Sydney Morning Herald is a column where contributors are allowed 450 words on what makes their blood boil. Today's piece, contributed by KJ, appears below. Well done, KJ!

''F--- the wildlife'' was the young man's response when I pointed out no motorbikes were allowed because it was a wildlife conservation area. Similar responses are given when I politely tell people about the ''No dogs'' sign for the same area.
Every summer I am so angry I write a Heckler, but it is not published because I am not witty or funny, and I don't live in Sydney. I just care about the natural environment. This year I am more angry than ever.
Every summer our coastal village is invaded by thousands of people who don't consider how their behaviour will impact on the natural environment or other people. Instead, it is a free-for-all. They leave their brain and manners at home, if they have any.
Garbage? Toss it out the car window or leave it on the beach; or in the gutter, for the next rainfall to wash it out to sea - and back onto the beaches.

Got a four-wheel-drive or trail bike? Rip and tear the dunes and beach habitat, even though vehicles are banned from all beaches in this area.
Camping? Bugger the designated areas in towns and national parks; we want free camping so we'll flatten any plants where we want go, set up camp then burn anything possible, even breaking down shrubs. No toilets so we'll do it in the open.
Fishing? Yeah, great fishing in clean, clear waters. We'll dump fish heads and garbage to harm marine wildlife or pollute the ocean and beaches. Catch as many as we can; we won't be back for another year.
Crowds? Man, we live in the city, we're used to crowds, we push and shove to get what we want. Single file on a walking track when passing others? Never.
Noise? We're used to noise. Geeze, isn't this place peaceful - turn up the music to block out the sound of the ocean.
Dogs? Oh, aren't dogs allowed unleashed, anywhere? The beach looks empty so it doesn't matter if my dog poos there. Cover it with sand or the waves will take it away. Tough anyone else who might want to walk there, or swim in the water, and my dog is always friendly so don't worry if it jumps up on you. And it never does anything wrong, so it is OK to take it into a wildlife conservation area.
Safe, considerate driving? Huh?
This year I am more angry than usual because the crowds are bigger, the traffic jams longer, the people louder and pushier, and the damage to the beach ecosystem from two errant vehicle incidents is immense. February cannot come quickly enough.
Karen Joynes

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