Australia has some incredible wildlife, but we have one of the worst extinction records on Earth.

Right now, we have an opportunity to strengthen our laws so they actually protect nature and wildlife. Our national environment laws are under review – something that only happens once a decade. But we need to keep extinction on the agenda.

While coronavirus means we can’t come together physically to protest, we can still make extinction visible through creative, collaborative action.

On Thursday 1 October thousands of Australian animal plush toys will step in for their human friends and stage “plushie protests” right across the country.

With your help, our plushies will take to social media to make the extinction crisis visible and demand stronger laws that actually protect nature and wildlife – #beforeitsgone.

Take part in just two easy steps!

Step one: set up your plushie protest. Step two: post it to social media on Thursday 1 October.

Step one: set up your plushie protest

Gather your Australian animal plush toys. Koalas, kangaroos, and wombats are great. Less common animals like quokkas, bilbies and numbats are even better. But use what you have!

If you don’t have any Australian animal plush (stuffed) toys you can still participate in the plushie protest. You can:

  • Use any other plush toys you have lying around (e.g. non-native animals, teddy bears, dolls).
  • Use non-plush (e.g. plastic or wooden) animal toys.
  • Print or draw a picture of your favourite Australian animal.
  • Make your own! Check out these knitting patterns for koalas and other Australian animals.

Make some miniature banners or signs. It’s not a protest without signs! Make them with whatever materials you have lying around. You could cut rectangles from cardboard or paper and stick them to a skewer or lolly stick.

Use a marker pen to write your message on the sign. Ideally, your message should be about wildlife, extinction, and the need for stronger laws. But get creative! If you get stuck, use the following slogans and hashtags:

  • Strong nature laws
  • End extinction
  • #beforeitsgone (this is the hashtag we’ll use in our social media posts on the plushie protest day).

You could also inject some humor into your plushie protest by including a witty wildlife pun. Here are some to get you started:

  • I’m soft but our nature laws shouldn’t be
  • Stop toying with extinction
  • We need quollity nature laws
  • Strong nature laws now – or I’m stuffed!

Arrange your plushie protest for a photo. Attach your miniature signs to your plush toys and arrange them in a spot with good natural light. Take a few photos of your plushie protest and save them to post your best photos on Thursday 1 October.

Put your plushie protest somewhere visible. Once you’ve taken your photos, pop your plushie protest somewhere visible for others in the community to see. A front-facing window, balcony or verandah are great options. You never know, you might inspire someone else to make a plushie protest! At the very least, you’ll make them smile.

Step two: post your plushie protest to social media

On Thursday 1 October thousands of people across the country will post their plushie protests to social media, creating a storm of online activity and hopefully getting our message trending on social media sites like Twitter.

For maximum impact it’s important we all post at the same time, so make sure you hold fire until Thursday 1 October! In your social media post, make sure you include:

  • Your best plushie protest photo
  • A message about why you want strong laws to protect nature and wildlife
  • The hashtag #beforeitsgone
  • Tag Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Environment Minister Sussan Ley (find out how below)

Which social media platform should you post to?

Our big goal for the day is to get our hashtag #beforeitsgone trending on Twitter. If enough people use a hashtag or talk about a specific topic at the same time, it can start trending, so millions of people will see it.

So if you have a Twitter account, post your plushie protest on there first, then to your other social media accounts. If you don’t have a Twitter account but want to make one, check out our handy Twitter toolkit.

If you don’t have a Twitter account and don’t want to make one you can still post your plushie protest on Facebook, Instagram or another social media platform. Using the #beforeitsgone hashtag will still help get our message across.

How to tag on social media

Right now we’re in the middle of a high-stakes review of our environment law, so it’s important our elected representatives hear from the community on this important issue. Make sure you tag them in your social media posts!

The Prime Minister and Environment Ministers have different usernames or “handles” depending on which social media platform you use. To tag them, type the corresponding username (including the @ sign) from below into your social media post.

Twitter: @ScottMorrisonMP and @sussanley

Facebook: @Scott Morrison (ScoMo) and @Sussan Ley MP

Instagram: @scottmorrisonmp and @sussanleymp

To help us track our collective impact you can also tag ACF in your posts. This will also help us see all your amazing plushie protest photos which we can include in a wrap up video on the day. To tag ACF, type the corresponding username (including the @ sign) from below into your social media post:

Twitter: @AusConservation

Facebook: @AustralianConservationFoundation

Instagram: @ausconservation

FAQs

I don’t have any Australian animal plush toys. Can I still participate?

Yes! You can still participate in the plushie protest even if you don’t have any Australian animal plush (stuffed) toys. Instead, you could:

  • Use any other plush toys you have lying around (e.g. non-native animals, teddy bears, dolls).
  • Use non-plush (e.g. plastic or wooden) animal toys.
  • Print or draw a picture of your favourite Australian animal.
  • Make your own! Check out these knitting patterns for koalas and other Australian animals.

I want to buy some Australian animal plush toys. Where can I get them?

There are a few places to buy Australian animal stuffed toys depending on where you live. You could try:

  • Local op shops
  • Australian souvenir shops
  • Zoo and wildlife sanctuary shops
  • Online (consider delivery times)

If you buy new, consider how and what the toy is made of. Recycled and ethically-sourced materials are generally better for the environment. Locally-made toys might have a lower impact on emissions since they will travel a shorter distance to reach you.

I want to knit a stuffed toy. Do you have a pattern?

Check out this free koala knitting pattern. If you want to try knitting other Australian animals, consider buying this collection of seven knitting patterns for $3.60. The collection includes knitting patterns for wallabies, koalas, tasmanian devils, brush tail possums, bilbies, echidnas and spotted quolls.

How do I make mini banners and signs for my plushie protest?

This really depends on what materials you have lying around your home. You could cut rectangles from cardboard or paper and stick them to a skewer or lolly stick. Use a marker or pen to write your message on the sign.

What should I write on my miniature sign?

Ideally, your message should be about wildlife, extinction, and the need for stronger laws. But get creative! If you get stuck, use the following slogans and hashtags:

  • Strong nature laws
  • End extinction
  • #beforeitsgone

You could also inject some humor into your plushie protest by including a witty wildlife pun. Here are some to get you started:

  • I’m soft but our nature laws shouldn’t be
  • Stop toying with extinction
  • We need quollity nature laws
  • Strong nature laws now – or I’m stuffed!

Can I get a reminder to post my picture on the day?

Yes! RSVP to the plushie protest day of action and include your mobile number to receive an SMS reminder on the day. You can also click attending on our Facebook event to get a reminder closer to the date.

I can’t post my photo in the morning – should I still post it?

Absolutely. While we encourage everyone to post in the morning of Thursday 1 October for maximum impact, your post will still count if you need to post a bit later.

Why are we using the hashtag #beforeitsgone? What does it mean?

This is the hashtag and slogan we are using in our huge advertising campaign calling for strong environment laws. Right now, our message is across TV screens, billboards and digital: protect nature before it’s gone. The hashtag #beforeitsgone is already on social media, so together we can boost it and hopefully get it trending on Twitter.