Kirsti: Most of my life’s research has focussed on the dynamics of the yellow crazy ant on islands, and how they explode in numbers and ruin ecosystems. I am a passionate advocate for invasive species management across Australian native landscapes that are continually battered by feral animals and plants.
So when I discovered that I’d missed my opportunity to make a submission to the Senate Enquiry into “The adequacy of arrangements to prevent the entry and establishment of invasive species likely to harm Australia’s natural environment” I felt completely useless.
“How on earth did I miss that one?” I asked myself.
The answer is quite obvious actually, considering I’ve been so focussed on School of Ants and not working full time at uni. Not being in a lab that is focused on invasive species, it’s easy to miss things unless I’m plugged into the Invasive Species Council’s page or communicating regularly with old colleagues from Christmas Island. When I was in full time invasive ant research or helping annihilate thousands of hectares of yellow crazy ants, it was easy to stay in the loop. Now, not so much.
But anyway, I digress. What I really want to say here is that I am determined to feel empowered about having my say on invasive species research, management and biosecurity in Australia into the next decade.
So I found myself talking to the Invasive Species Council CEO, who suggested that there were no “experts” on invasive ants who had made submissions, and far too few managers of invasive populations in natural areas. He also suggested that the government may entertain late submissions.
So I got to work. I emailed the committee secretariat requesting permission to make a late submission to the enquiry. I haven’t heard back from them yet, so am a bit nervous…. But then I emailed key individuals who have busted their guts in research and management of invasive ants in Australia. I want to try and at least rally some troops for invasive ants. And I want to have a say in a political process for how Australia will handle biosecurity issues into the future.
It’s far too easy NOT to write submissions, and to feel insignificant – like your voice and evidence will be overlooked even if you do. But I am trying to squish that voice and get on with it.
[image thanks to John Tann on flickr]