Episode 4: Tara Bellerose

Andy talks about the effects of racism and how he learned to stand up to racism

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This week introduces us to Tara, a climate change influencer, content creator and young farmer who has a particular affection for animals.

Tara lives in Victoria, Australia and has spent her life being surrounded by animals, both domesticated and wild. Due to this, she has developed a love of them, particularly dogs: “Dogs are very loyal, they’ll love you no matter what”. She tenderly describes how her Kelpie farm dog will constantly come to her for pats “I just slowly stroke them”.

Her interest in Climate Change came about when she came across a video of a turtle in a cup. This video highlighted the plight that animals such as turtles face due to the way in which human beings have changed the planet. Baby turtles evolved to recognise bright light at night as moonlight, and they use this moonlight in order to guide them to the safety of the ocean once hatched. However, objects reflecting that moonlight have caused confusion for the turtles, and they often make their way towards those objects in error, meaning that they get caught in objects such as cups and are unable to reach the ocean. In Tara’s words: “These innocent animals were being impacted by what we were doing as a species”. Seeing this made Tara feel that the negative influence of human beings on the planet was “a bigger issue than we thought, it’s worldwide, we need to do something about it.”

As a result, Tara started making and sharing videos with a specific purpose to “make other people love animals so they want to preserve our planet to keep the animals on it”. She had a very positive and impassioned response to her video concerning the turtle, in fact, the video went viral: the most common question she got in response to the video was “What can I do about it”.

One event which brought unexpected environmental benefits was the global lockdown which followed the coronavirus pandemic, areas that had previously been polluted suddenly became habitable to birds and animals once again: “Because the world shut down, people saw how the environment could bounce back”. But Tara remains concerned: “There was a big thing about how nature can take back the earth… nature can recover but are we just going to go back to what we were doing?”

Tara wants to challenge the view that many of us hold, which is that we, as humans, are the most important species on the planet and that all other animals are inferior. In Tara’s words: “an ecosystem is about everything being in balance”, that means living with nature, not trying to make nature subservient to our presence. If we do not change our attitudes and lifestyles, Tara worries about the potential for major extinction events: “We won’t be able to grow food because the weather will become unpredictable… fossil fuels will run out… we’ll break out in chaos.”

Asked whether Tara sees any hope for the future, she sounds more positive: “I feel like I’m making somewhat of an impact.” Despite not always getting the responses she believes are required, there are those who are listening and if they are also able to influence others then the disaster that Tara worries may befall us can at least be meaningfully confronted.

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