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Interview with Coral from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Here's our recent interview with Coral, a member of Outdoors People for Climate Action. We enjoyed hearing about her childhood in Fiji, her love of diving and snow sports, her environmental hacks, and her outlook on sustainability.

Coral sporting a natural crown in Papua New Guinea

Who are you and where do you live?

My name is Coral, I am 31 and I live on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. 

What training and work have you done in the outdoors?

I have my Cert 4 in Outdoor Recreation which I obtained through Outward Bound back in 2012/2013. 

I was in the Outdoor industry from 2012 to 2019. I began as a very enthusiastic instructor out and about in the wilderness with kids. I was based down in Walpole WA seasonally and loved it over there. There is something very, very rugged and enchanting about the South West coast of this island which made me feel as though I was in another time. I was really lucky in my Career with Outward Bound, I was able to work in all but one of their beautiful operational areas. The Gramps ... the one that got away... they opened The Gramps up once I was closely tied to the Program Coordinator desk in Tharwa. When I left OBA in early 2019 I was a Senior Program Coordinator which was an amazing role.

I then moved back to my home area of the Sunny Coast in QLD and started as a Program Coordinator for an outdoor outfit up here. After a while I decided I wanted to get back into the Not for Profit sector and changed industries completely. 

Coral with a Pincushion Starfish

What are your favourite outdoor activities and places?

From a really young age I was exposed to a really minimalist remote and mostly outdoor lifestyle where the land, sea and weather really govern pretty much your whole life. This was on an outer island in Fiji where I lived on and off with my mum for 10 years. I wore no shoes and learnt to dive before I was probably supposed to. Diving would have to be one of my favourite outdoor activities. It has been a part of my life for so long but unfortunately it isn't something I am able to do very often in Australia as it costs a mint. 

Hiking is another love of mine. Just wondering through the wilderness or along a trail, away from mass human influence and all that jazz. I love being able to see nothing but greenery and water, vast open spaces of the natural world experiencing wild weather and beautiful skies. When I am out there I feel like I am really living, really a part of something. 

The snow is another love of mine, snowboarding or skiing depending on who I am riding with. When I am moving down a mountain fast I feel really free. It is exhilarating, you've got to make some really quick decisions and the landscape is so serene and wonderful. 

Coral snowboarding

Does climate change concern you and why?

Yes. 1000 x yes, But not just climate change, I am concerned about the blatant disinterest in anything environmental by majority of our government and a lot of governments around the world. Why, because I love the natural world and want it to be as abundant for my kids and their kids to come. 

Big industry and constant economic growth through consumerism is a burden on the planet, and yes the earth has natural extinctions and does warm or cool on its own but that doesn't mean we should blunder on with our increased destruction and disregard of the natural world. 

It is really hard to find a moral medium though, I mean, I went snowboarding in Japan last year and it was amazing but really the amount of air travel we are undertaking as human beings who love to explore is part of the problem. That is until scientists find a way for us to travel as quick as we can with air travel but not use fossil fuels to do it. 

Do you think climate change will affect your work, your favourite activities or favourite places? If so, how?

Yeah I think it will affect the outdoors and the activities I love in the outdoors. Snow fields could disappear along with the reefs, forests and landscapes I love to explore. 

Coral and her party hiking up through jungle in Papua New Guinea on their world first expedition

Is there anything you do in your life to help address the climate crisis or environmental issues?

We do a few things. We have 4 separate bin's and actively divide up all of our rubbish. We don't waste food, we buy what we need and we fit out meals around what needs to be eaten first, we buy local produce and Australian made, we shop from the farmers market and individual food stores rather than getting it all in one place at the supermarket, and we are trying to grow our own food. I make my own bees wax wraps and give them away to friends and family, and we reuse everything we possible can such as yogurt lids which are great for putting half fruits/veggies upside down on. We plan our day and don't make unnecessary trips in the car. We buy second hand clothing and furniture and where we cannot we buy Australian made. I make my own lipeze, deodorant and have attempted tooth paste but it didn't work out so great. We use natural dish wash and clothes wash liquids and refill the bottle from the bulk store. We try to buy products with little to no packaging where possible, and I make our own chicken stock and pasta sauces.

Just to name a few haha. These are all little things I have picked up along the way but I do want to learn more and be better but it is a learning process and there is always room for growth. If we each choose to start down a path of sustainable decisions we can all make a positive difference.

Home-made beeswax wraps

Is there anything more you would like to do to address the climate crisis and have a positive impact?

I mean the biggest thing we could do to help the planet would be to stay put in our local area and be sustainable in our living practices while we are at it. That is definitely not realistic for the vast majority of people though as they don't care and they have not been educated to care. We have been educated to consume and work and consume some more. People in the industrial revolution probably didn't know that their actions of industrial change and the economic growth model would have a detrimental affect on the earths natural processes and in turn a detrimental affect on the human race in the future. People in government have the task of making our societal system more environmentally friendly. Getting someone who is on board with the environment into a position of leadership and getting rid of corruption would be ideal. I am personally not sure how to do that. 

But people like us can help too by instilling sustainable changes in the people around us. AND by buying local, selling local and staying local. 

In every action there is a decision, I always aim to make the most sustainable decision. Sometimes life gets in the way, but I try and am conscious. It is up to us to stay aware and actively make decisions rather than take the easiest route. 

I will finish with a quote which sums it all up nicely "Convenience, well it strips you bare of consciousness". Not so dense by Deer Tick. 

Coral's party summited Mt Giluwe, PNG's 2nd highest mountain at 4367 M, as seen in cloud

Thanks very much Coral for taking time out to do this interview with Outdoors People for Climate Action.

It was interesting to hear Coral's thoughts on not only some of the solutions average people can take, but also the cultural and political barriers that can make positive change difficult.

We'll definitely make sure to get that lipeze recipe from her.

We'd love to hear from you too! Outdoors People for Climate Action is a grassroots group that exists to harness the energy of our passionate community of outdoors people. Whether you work in the outdoors or are a weekend warrior, are deeply politically engaged or new to activism, we'd really love to share your thoughts on our blog.

All members are encouraged to answer the above questions, rustle up a few pictures of you doing what you love and get in touch!

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