Aug 11

Ipswich Enviroforum 2018: Break the Cage to Create your Change

I went to the Ipswich Enviroforum 2018 to try and get an understanding of how sustainability measures are enacted in my local area. As I am sure most of you are aware, there was significant controversy surrounding the forum as a ‘green washing’ ploy, based on the timing falling on a workday so most local public members would not be able to attend due to work commitments. Need I even mention the current political and social negativity surrounding the council members, council practices, sustainability measures and our current waste issues. I’ll admit I was hesitant on whether anything useful would actually come of the forum or if it was more a strategic employment for stakeholders and investors to meet.

Now I did have to leave at lunch time to finish off my week of market garden work and take the family home so I was unable to attend the hour of afternoon beverages and collaboration. But from the initial speakers I immediately got the appreciation that this is less a community format and more of a stakeholder’s format. I had thought it would be more of a collaborative approach where people are sharing ideas and creating solutions however it was a rather formal, sit down affair with designated speakers much like a uni lecture intermingled with a corporate fundraising/stakeholder meeting. In other words, a very low risk, low impact event for the council. So in hindsight it may not have been the format to take a 3 year old too, but in truth that is the reality of community situations. We have families, work commitments and daily stresses, sustainability and events which are purposed to benefit the wider community should not be something we are made to feel we have to jump through hoops to be a part of.

The speakers provided insight into local initiatives and what they were spending their funds on, I obviously listened riveted to Costa Georgiadis whom I will speak of in a moment but first wanted to talk about the speakers who were there to talk about local initiatives. Felicity Shapland, an ecologist and Ben O’Hara, General Manager for property management company The Gainsdale Group are both team members for the Queensland Trust For Nature who own and manage Aroona Station and Spicers Retreat. They collaborate their environmental data and practices to better understand the native wildlife corridor as part of the Little Liverpool Range Initiative. They are initiating regenerative land management practices through cattle grazing, providing research opportunities on local pest habits, providing research opportunities on local koala populations and collaborating with community regeneration groups and university teams to rebuild the natural ecology. They have a yearly ‘hike up the hill’ which is on the 14th September this year, so be sure to head to QTFN Aroona to get in touch with your local habitats and see how you can be making improvements in your own backyard environments.

Costa was the man we went to see, he has ties to many ecological change creators in this country and I wanted to hear how local initiatives can be rolled out. The main thing to take away from his talk is that the everyday person needs to be creating the change, we cannot be relying on government, policy, stakeholders, shareholders, investors or public trusts to create the solutions that need to be created to provide the future environment our grandchildren and their grandchildren deserve. In his own words “Be Disruptive”, as being disruptive is one of the few things the groups I mentioned above pay attention to. That is something that I believe in and admittedly my social confidence gets in the way, so from here forward I am going to do as much as I can to rattle the cage and create greener cities and I hope you do the same for whatever change you want to see under the banner of Sustainability! For me it will be doing my utmost to incorporate market gardens and sensory gardens into urban areas and cities. I want to start rebuilding the ecology and natural environments which were once proliferate through our great cities and magnificent country.

So let us build the future we want to be a part of together and try enjoy ourselves along the way!

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