Farmers Take On Big Coal to Save Koalas—and Themselves

A campaign to stop a Chinese-owned coal mine could preserve an iconic animal and Australia's richest farmland.
Nov 30, 2015·
Todd Woody is TakePart's editorial director, environment.

If you’re a farmer on the Liverpool Plains, a fertile agricultural region in rural Australia, koalas aren’t just animals you might see in a zoo or wildlife park. They’re your neighbors. A tree-planting campaign a quarter century ago turned farms and cattle ranches into an unlikely koala boomtown. Now climate change and plans to build a huge Chinese-owned coal mine on the agricultural habitat of the iconic animals threaten the survival of koalas and farmers. Liverpool Plains residents have mobilized to stop the mine, arguing that the government approved the project without considering the impact on the koala, one of the world’s animals most at risk from global warming and whose local population has been declining as temperatures rise.