Even casual observers must be alarmed at the perilous state of sand dunes from Cape Paterson to Harmers Haven, and no doubt beyond.
Whilst there is some validity that dunes ebb and flow, the extent and rapidity of current impacts should alarm even the most ardent climate denier.
Indeed, it would be marvellous if we could simply ignore our industrial and corporate folly and turn our backs on the planet, the sad reality is that the catastrophic impacts of climate change hurtle toward humanity like an asteroid.
At a local level, there is still much that can be done particularly given the many unwarranted, and easily avoidable environmental impacts along the fragile Bunurong coastline.
Whilst rising tides and storm surges continue to dissolve Australia, more significant damage is being caused by unnecessary human access into these fragile dune ecosystems.
Whilst there have always been a few of those special people who believe that maintained tracks are but a suggestion, or that the dunes are a local version of Dreamworld for their kids, or that their unrestrained dogs have some unalienable right to forage and defecate, or that they maintain free reign to tramp across fragile vegetation and dunes for that perfect Instagram sunset shot, the current level of abuse is unsustainable.
Given the pandemic population growth that we have experienced this year, the impacts and extent of this selfishness has reached frightening proportions.
And it is all clearly visible to see, and as accessible as First Surf Beach at Cape Paterson where the extent of collapsing dunes and vegetation, unauthorised tracks, dune sliding areas, even a campsite and fire pit, should be a wake-up call to all, and most importantly to responsible authorities who are seemingly dysfunctional to these challenges.
Taxpayers have just spent millions on a new surf lifesaving clubhouse, but how soon will this be rendered inoperable as the clifftop access track to the beach ramp falls into the sea.
It took months and unnecessarily cost ratepayers to repair the stairway to the beach, yet we cannot seem to find the wherewithal nor funding to invest in protecting this most critical of environments.
These same beaches are home to fragile communities of shore nesting birdlife, including the threatened Hooded Plover, yet the warning signage and barriers continue to be ignored and these poor critters continue to be driven to annihilation.
The bottom line is that this has nothing to do about rights, rather it is entirely about our obligations, both to the planet and to humanity. We are borrowing this planet from our children folks, please walk softly and leave only footprints.
Jim Barritt, Cape Paterson.