Her story sounds unreal but she dares to dream and that is inspiring enough. She is a farmer, aspiring model, and a conservationist.
I was just going through the net as we all do, as per usual and while scrolling down on one of the world’s leading social media apps, I saw this girl with tall legs in some white shorts with a blooming smile that captured my attention.
I slid into her DMs and my intention was all good so calm down am not outing myself here, LOL! I wanted to know how tall she is. Personally I am 6’2 and it is not everyday I see someone tall like me and when I do, they kind of fascinate me and especially if they are a lady because I gotta tell you these ladies out here are shorter than short 98% of the time.
Anyway back to this girl. I start talking to her and to be honest I expected anything. She could reply and be nice or a douche-bag and so I was kinda not expecting much in return to my DM but I shoot it anyway.
Point to note; this is the mindset of any young person out here in the world today. The world has become so mean such that you meeting new people and actually connecting with them is now almost a myth.
But when Kate replied she was all jovial, kind, took her time to answer all these questions I bombarded her with without complaining and believe me they were many that on a normal day would make Donald Trump jump out of his seat with the the now infamous ‘fake news’ tag; LOL!
Anyway the more I talked to her, the more I became interested in her story. Remember my interest at first was just to talk height which by the way she noted was 6’1 and given I am 6’2 was like definitely should be friends and talk about things in the space since we are both on that alien view point; LOL!
But seriously though; so I get talking to her and I discover she is a conservationist. I get more interest and so she directs me to her station page on Facebook so I can get like perspective on what she is all about and damn it; this girl is something else.
I walked into that page with all kinds of assumptions and walked out amazed. She is eloquent, educated, outspoken, a farmer, aspiring model and she ain’t no normal girl at this point it’s dawning on me; she will bite your nose to save a river!
So am of course exited because I have not come across any other girl like this! Where I come from; (the city) they don’t package them like this!
So I had to get serious and follow this up with a serious interview! I have seen some of her past work on different news outlets and she is very well versed with matters water and the system in Australia and how it affects the regional areas. She even addresses policy makers and constituents at large on these matters from regional areas as well as national! This is not your normal DM typa-girl and so I got serious, put on a tie and did an interview with her which went like this;
Kate Mcbride is Grazier Rob McBride daughter. The father owns sheep and cattle station, Tolarno, which is in the lower section of the Darling, near Pooncarie. Kate works here too.
Kate was born and brought up on “Tolarno Station” – a property that runs purebred merinos, cattle and goats and is located below the Menindee Lakes. She is a fifth generation farmer and has been heavily involved in agriculture from a very young age. Kate is currently studying at the University of Adelaide as well as being a River Fellow through the Lifeblood Alliance in which she is fighting for a healthy Murray-Darling system with individuals from across the basin.
When talking to her she told me she loves it in the country. She said;
‘I love it! Wouldn’t have it any other way.’ The city gives me the shits!’
She pointed out that the people, better lifestyle is what endears her to country. So I guess there something; a secret that we the city people need to go digging in the country so we can all forget the city and ship out! But wait she mentioned she is a tour guide so that shouldn’t be too hard to organise!
Anyway so I pressed her more about her lifestyle. I wanted to know what more she does with her time apart from working at the station which she said is her favourite job and apart from being a tour guide. And so the story ladies and gentlemen evolved to conservation. Get yourself ready for this ride for you are about to meet Kate the lls board member and ambassador for healthy rivers.
So Kate Mcbridge thank you for giving us an opportunity to interview you, I guess I’ll start by asking you who is Kate;
How can you describe your childhood?
I was really lucky I had a great childhood growing up. Living between the station and schooling in Adelaide really gave me the best of both worlds.
I was always pushed to give everything a go so I’ve tried just about every sport under the sun and also got involved in scouts for about 8 years and made some incredible life long friends through that.
Amazing. How was it like growing up in the Mcbride’s home?
I grew up with my dad as the primary parent, which had its downfalls like going to a barber until I was about 15 but all in all it was a really happy childhood. I have a younger brother so we fought like cat and dog at times but we’ve always been really close. There’s only fourteen months between us and he’s just overtaken me in the height department but he’ll always be my baby brother.
Other than that it was a pretty normal child apart from the fact we don’t really do the whole big family catch up thing very often. I’m fifth generation farmer and pretty much all Mcbride’s go into farming so as you can imagine we’ve spread ourselves out pretty well and that makes catching up hard.
Interesting! Ah! What would you change if anything in your childhood if you went back?
There’s nothing I’d really change to be honest, I’ve had my trying times like anyone else but those are the times that have shaped who I am more than anything else. If you took them away I’m not really sure I’d be the person I am today.
How Old are you?
I turned 20 in April 2018
Do you feel any pressure at all with being a conservationist at your age and people noticing your efforts and looking up to you?
not really, at times before I’ve done public speaking things I definitely feel some pressure but that’s just me still getting over my hatred of public speaking from when I was younger. Nothing I’ve ever done is to get recognition for myself but the amount of people that come up to me at events or write emails or letters has been absolutely mind blowing and it’s really empowering to know that what I am doing is making a difference and what I’m saying is getting out there.
When I was checking out your work; your videos and some news features on you, I felt like you sometimes sound like a politician. Do you see yourself as a politician in the making?
Haha you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve been asked that. It’s funny, the more I see how badly or politicians represent us (especially in outback NSW) the more I’m considering getting into it one day.
I feel like so many politicians are just in it for the money and publicity they get whereas I genuinely care about what people want. We’re so far away from all the politicians out where I am and it’s hard to get heard so yeah maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to be that voice that can put Western NSW on the map again. That’s definitely in the future plan though not something I’m working on right now.
Spoken like a true leader. Why are you so passionate about Rivers? Why Rivers?
The station that I was born and brought up on and also still live on is along the Lower Darling and throughout my life I’ve seen how mismanagement and overallocstion is destroying it. In 2015/16 we actually had 8.5 months of a completely dry river, to the point I could ride my motorbike in the base of it. One of Australia’s largest rivers goes dry and nobody even knew about it so that’s what really got me involved with the issue.
In the outback it can get up to well above 50 degrees in summer so the rivers the only thing that stop you going insane so when that was taken away from us with no explanation something clicked into gear and I haven’t stopped fighting for it’s survival ever since.
What have you been able to accomplish so far with this fight for healthy rivers?
When you’re up against government policies and very powerful irrigators with more money than you; can you comprehend? It’s pretty hard to get many wins but we’ve definitely had a few.
Most recently was a senate vote in which we worked incredibly hard to sway the senate to stop a reduction of 70 giga-litres of water from going down the river. We put a Facebook video up of me standing in the river pleading not to reduce the amount of water coming down when we only have ankle deep water as it is. That video got a lot of attention and an unbelievable amount of people called their senators about it. Which in the end helped.
How is the government support?
We’ve actually had incredible support from the greens and labour from different states. Liberals and nationals have done everything to spite us and in my opinion are destroying our rivers unfortunately.
How do you address these issues in your home? Is it everyday talk in your family over dinner, breakfast or lunch?
My family are all really involved as well so it’s pretty much all we talk about these days. It’s definitely been something that’s brought us all closer together which is nice because you support each other in the bad times and when we have wins, we’ll we’re Irish, so we celebrate haha
Who is your biggest inspiration? Would you give this up at some point to do something else?
I don’t really have one inspiration in particular. I’ve got a lot of amazing people I’ve come into contact with the last few years but a lot of what I’m inspired by are the farmers! The toughness of farmers is something that will always blow me away! Drough, flood, fire, whatever you throw at the farmers I know they can take it. You won’t hear them complain (besides the odd expletive) and anyone would take the shirt off their back, even if it were their last.
It’s a pretty well known fact that there’s some pretty serious mental health issues in rural and remote Australia with increased rates of suicide and depression. That’s something that I think about a lot and I think if I weren’t doing what I am now that’s the only other path I could see myself going down is to work in rural communciteis and work out how we can fix this issue.
Incredible! It’s really captivating listening to you! What other dreams do you have? What were your dreams as a child? And have you had to give them up to focus on this?
Oh! Thank you! I think I’m living my dream now with everything I’m doing. I’ve done a lot of travelling growing up so I’m a little infected with the travel bug but besides more exploring I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I love what I do and I’m so appreciative of the opportunities I’ve been given.
You are a country girl and this is an interesting part of your life; what do you most love about it?
Without a doubt it’s the people, you will never meet more down to earth, genuine people in the world. It’s the appreciating the small things in life mentality that I just can’t get enough of. The other thing is I just love how everyday is completely different and you have to be ready for whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at you.
Is it hard to live that lifestyle? Boots, jeans with a belt at certain waist point and the head gear; do you sometimes forget or is it natural to you?
I wouldn’t have it any other way! Once you go down the boots and jeans path there’s no turning back haha!
Would you ever wear GUCCI or flip flops while hanging around home just to feel like a hippy 2o-something age person in the city?
I love my 1.50 pluggers (flip flops as you call them), if it’s not boots it’s them! Gucci, definitely not my style!
Too nice for a self confessed grub like myself.
I like that! Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
phoaa, now we’re getting to the hard questions! I’m one of those people that takes whatever opportunities life throws at me so I’m not a religious person but I don’t even think god knows where I’ll be! Wherever it is though I’m sure it’ll have something to do with agriculture. You can take this girl outta the country but it won’t be long til she’s back haha
Would you come back and talk to us?
I’d love to!
Once again thank you for your time, come back any time Kate. We enjoyed doing this big time. Keep the good work going conserving the environment. It’s surely the only friend we have so kind to let us step on them daily!
And that’s how complete strangers meet and make the most out of it. I am sure she is also totally surprised I ended up a journalist interested in her story after all God works in mysterious ways!
Today marked UN’s World Environment Day. Kate for us was the best inspiration in this! I hope she is to you too. Let’s keep our environment the way we want our next generation to find it. Fight for it if a must just as Kate!
- A new report by UN Environment examines the state of plastic pollution in 2018.
- The report offers the first comprehensive global assessment of government action against plastic pollution.
- The analysis features best practices and lessons learned from cases studies on single-use bans, levies and other forms of government intervention.
- UN experts suggest a ten-step roadmap for policymakers.
Released today, a new report from UN Environment finds a surging momentum in global efforts to address plastic pollution. The first-of-its-kind accounting finds governments are increasing the pace of implementation and the scope of action to curb the use of single-use plastics.
In what is framed as the first comprehensive review of ‘state of plastics’, UN Environment has assembled experiences and assessments of the various measures and regulations to beat plastic pollution in a report: “Single-use Plastics: A roadmap for Sustainability.”
This global outlook, developed in cooperation with the Indian Government and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, presents case studies from more than 60 countries. The report analyzes the complex relationships in our plastics economy and offers an approach to rethink how the world produces, uses and manages single-use plastics.
Among the recommendations are specific actions policy makers can take to improve waste management, promote eco-friendly alternatives, educate consumers, enable voluntary reduction strategies and successfully implement bans or levies on the use and sale of single-use plastics. The report was launched in New Delhi today by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim on the occasion of World Environment Day.
“The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable – with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution,” said Erik Solheim Head of UN Environment, in the report’s foreword. “Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it.”
Among the key findings, the report states that government levies and bans – where properly planned and enforced – have been among the most effective strategies to limit overuse of disposable plastic products. However, the report goes on to cite the fundamental need for broader cooperation from business and private sector stakeholders, offering a roadmap for upstream solutions, including extended producer responsibility and incentives for adoption of a more circular economy approach to plastic production and consumption.
The report recognizes that single-use plastic waste generation and waste management practices differ across regions. While no single measure against pollution will be equally effective everywhere, the authors outline 10 universal steps for policymakers to tackle the issue in their communities.
Under the theme: “Beat Plastic Pollution”, World Environment Day 2018 is issuing a call to action to individuals, governments, the public and the private sector to examine joint solutions to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife and our own health.
About UN Environment:
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.
About World Environment Day:
World Environment Day is the single largest celebration of our environment each year,
Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe. For more information, visit www.worldenvironmentday.global