At a time when the NSW Government’s plan to raise the Warragamba Dam wall threatens to drown the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains National Park, a local high school student called Tegan is standing up for the protection of this significant wilderness area.
By walking 10,000 steps every day for 100 days, she’s raising awareness about the Government’s plan, as well as raising money for our Give A Dam campaign to protect the Blue Mountains from their scheme.
Tegan spoke to us recently about what flooding Blue Mountains means to her and we want to share some of the highlights of our conversation with you.
Tell us the story of how you came to hear about the plan to raise Warragamba Dam?
I was walking to this one lookout a lot during lockdown to look after my mental health. Being in nature always makes me feel calm, sheltered and replenishes my energy. It has this effect on a lot of people, I think.
I decided that I wanted to do something for the bush, seeing as it does so much for me. My aunty told me about the Give A Dam campaign. So, I started to do my own research and immediately knew this was the right cause for me to get behind.
What do you think about the NSW Government’s plan to raise the Warragamba dam wall?
It’s outrageously disrespectful to the Traditional Owners, wildlife, the rivers, the nature lovers and the title of World Heritage. I want our Government to prioritise our culturally and ecologically rich and diverse land.
I also find it hard to believe that the people who may move into the floodplain are going to be put in danger. Raising the Warragamba Dam is a terrible plan for nature and for these families.
Why did you decide to undertake this fundraising campaign for us?
I love our bush. All my friends love our bush. We love to walk and laugh and observe the wildlife and tread mindfully on our earth and listen to the trees.
I couldn’t bear it if the wall was raised and I hadn’t done anything to stop it. There’s too much at stake.
I just don't understand why our government would want to put our precious World Heritage Listed land and more (1541 indigenous sites that give the Gundungurra people a real, tangible connection to their dreamtime stories) in jeopardy, when there are so many alternatives for flood management like rerouting water, urban rivers, restoring our natural river systems and wetlands, permeable urban areas, reconnecting natural floodplains, etc.
How does it make you feel to think about the fact that world heritage-listed national parks will be flooded?
How does it make you feel to think about endangered animals and plants being threatened by the plan to raise the dam?
I’m dumbfounded. Why would anyone think it’s okay to drown this place? The animals and plants there have a right to live, just like I do. Just like you do.
Why do you think conservation is important today?
I’d hate to think that one day a young girl like me could be reading about extinct species and wondering why people didn’t fight for these beautiful things.
We have the power to keep things alive. I think conservation today is about loving something so much you want to protect it from harm so that emerging generations have the opportunity to love them too. And I think that’s pretty powerful.
Do you have any message for the supporters who are helping you to raise money for this campaign?
Thank you! By living your values, you are making the world a more diverse and spectacular place to live.