#PeopleOfNRM– Jessica Stingemore

Have you had any good conversations with yourself lately? I have.

I talk to myself. And I don’t mean only in the secrecy of my own home. I talk to myself while I’m walking down the street, when I’m driving my car, or when I’m in my office – trust me or just ask my colleagues.

But don’t call me crazy just yet, because according to Dr Google:

“If we speak out loud, it forces us to slow down our thoughts and process them differently because we engage the language centres of our brain. By talking to ourselves we become more deliberate, and this creates a slower process to think, feel and act, instead of being bombarded by our thoughts.”

And given the fast-paced, busy, modern-day world that we live in – I consider slowing down to be a good thing.

Here at NACC NRM I wear the hat of Biodiversity Program Coordinator – where (amongst other things) I manage our threatened species projects, including being on a determined mission to restore and fund our award-winning Coastal and Marine Program. Sometimes I add even another feather to that hat – and call myself NACC’s Media Officer. Yep I am the person who brings you NACC Notes, writes our social media posts, and (attempts) to keep our website current.

And every two years around spring, I organize the WA Threatened Species Forum – which is once again being held in Geraldton this year – on 5-6 September. It’s an event not to be missed if you’re concerned about our state’s precious but threatened species.

Work keeps me rather busy, but I have more to give, and often jump at volunteering opportunities that contribute to nature conservation in our region, and beyond. I am treasurer for both the WA Malleefowl Recovery Group and the Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association. I’m an active member of the Friends of the Chapman River Regional Park, and often lead guided wildlife tours through the park.  I also share the Bush Heritage Australia vision of Healthy Country, protected forever and volunteer with them to monitor Malleefowl mounds or act as a reserve caretaker.

So, it’s no surprise that I have a million thoughts running through my head and often talk out loud to prioritise them, make sense of things, and slow down.

But slowing down doesn’t and shouldn’t mean ‘business as usual’. We are in the middle of an ecological crisis – the speed of global warming has never been as fast as it is today and is affecting the whole planet at the same time.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we plant in, the food we eat, and the beauty and diversity of nature that nourishes us – are all under threat. And we must act while we still can. What we are seeing now is nothing compared to what could come.

But what can we do?

I recently went to a talk given by representatives of an international movement that uses non-violent resistance and protest to halt climate breakdown and biodiversity loss – and while I am not sure if I agree with everything they say and do, I do agree with some of their priorities on what needs to be done: For starters, we need to tell the truth about the current situation. We (everyone) must be open and honest about how dire our situation is. We must work with all levels of government, the community and the media to communicate and address the urgency for change.

A second priority is to reduce carbon emissions by 2025: We need to enact legally-binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions in Australia to zero by 2025, and take further action to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere. We must cooperate internationally – so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources.

These truths and actions may be frightening, but as a scientist I can tell you that the climate emergency is much more terrifying.

Let me know if you’d like to talk about it. I’m happy to talk to other people as well as myself.

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