WED World Environment Day 5th June 2012

 

 

 

 

 

The 2012 theme for World Environment Day is Green  Economy: Does it include you? Evidently, there are two parts to this theme and the first tackles the  subject of the Green Economy. This is where some people shut off their minds  because they find the concept of the Green Economy a little too complex to  understand.

On the contrary, the Green Economy is really something that is applicable  all around you and it is easy to imagine how you fit in it. Visit the ‘What is the Green Economy?’ page to read a layman’s narrative of this concept.

The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy  as one that results in improved  human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental  risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a  green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially  inclusive.

Practically speaking, a Green Economy is one whose  growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments  that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource  efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These  investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure,  policy reforms and regulation changes.

But what does all this mean for you? Well, this  essentially what the second part of the theme is all about. If the Green  Economy is about social equity and inclusiveness then technically it is all  about you! The question therefore asks you to find out more about the Green  Economy and assess whether, in your country, you are being included in it.

To learn more about the Green Economy bookmark the World  Environment Day website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and we shall be  unraveling the concept of what the Green Economy really is and what it means to  you ahead of World Environment Day.

http://www.unep.org/wed/theme/

State of the Climate 2012

State of the Climate 2012

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The long-term warming trend has not changed.
Guillaume Brialon

Australia’s land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

This is the headline finding in the State of the Climate 2012, an updated summary of Australia’s long term climate trends released by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology today (14 March 2012).

The long-term warming trend has not changed.

Each decade has been warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. Global-average surface temperatures were the warmest on record in 2010 (slightly higher than 2005 and 1998). 2011 was the world’s 11th warmest year and the warmest year on record during a La Niña event. The world’s 13 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past 15 years.

On land around Australia the observed warming trends are consistent with the global-scale warming – despite 2010 and 2011 being the coolest years recorded in Australia since 2001.

In the oceans around Australia, sea-surface temperatures have increased faster than the global average, and sea-level rise since 1993 is greater than, or equal to, the global average.

Australian average temperatures over land

Australian annual-average daily mean temperatures showed little change from 1910 to 1950 but have progressively warmed since, increasing by 0.9 °C from 1910 to 2011. The average temperature during the past ten years has been more than 0.5 °C warmer than the World Meteorological Organization’s standard 1961-1990 long-term average. This increase continues the trend since the 1950s of each decade being warmer than the previous.

The warming trend has occurred against a backdrop of natural, year-to-year climate variability. Most notably, El Niño and La Niña events during the past century have continued to produce the hot droughts and cooler wet periods for which Australia is well known. 2010 and 2011, for example, were the coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events.

Changes in average temperature for Australia for each year (orange line) and each decade (grey boxes), and 11-year average (black line – an 11-year period is the standard used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Anomalies are the departure from the 1961-1990 average climatological period. The average value for the most recent 10-year period (2002–2011) is shown in darker grey.
Bureau of Meteorology
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Oceans

Rising sea level

Global-average mean sea level for 2011 was 210 mm (± 30 mm) above the level in 1880. The observed global-average mean sea-level rise since 1990 is near the high end of projections from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

Rates of sea-level rise are not uniform around the globe and vary from year to year. Since 1993, the rates of sea-level rise to the north and northwest of Australia have been 7 to 11 mm per year, two to three times the global average, and rates of sea-level rise on the central east and southern coasts of the continent are mostly similar to the global average. These variations are at least in part a result of natural variability of the climate system.

High-quality global sea-level measurements have been available from satellite altimetry since the start of 1993 (red line), in addition to the longer-term records from tide gauges (blue line, with shading providing an indication of the accuracy of the estimate). Sea level rose at a global-averaged rate of about 3 mm per year between 1993 and 2011, and 1.7 mm per year during the 20th century as a whole. CSIRO
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The rate of sea-level rise around Australia as measured by coastal tide gauges (circles) and satellite observations (contours) from January 1993 to September 2011. CSIRO
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Increasing sea-surface temperatures

Sea-surface temperatures in the Australian region in 2010 were the highest on record, with nine of the months during 2011 ranked in the top ten warmest months on record. Sea-surface temperatures averaged over the decades since 1900 have increased for every decade. Terrestrial and ocean surface temperatures have shown very similar warming trends over the last century.

The warm sea-surface temperatures in 2010-11 were strongly influenced by La Niña. Ocean temperatures around Australia were warmer during 2010-11 than for any previously identified La Niña event, likely due to the influence of the long-term warming trend of the past century.

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions account for about 60% of the effect from anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the earth’s energy balance over the past 250 years. These global CO2 emissions are mostly from fossil fuels (more than 85%), land use change, mainly associated with tropical deforestation (less than 10%), and cement production and other industrial processes (about 4%). Australia contributes about 1.3% of the global CO2 emissions. Energy generation continues to climb and is dominated by fossil fuels – suggesting emissions will grow for some time yet.

CO2 levels are rising in the atmosphere and ocean.

About 50% of the amount of CO2 emitted from fossil fuels, industry, and changes in land-use, stays in the atmosphere. The remainder is taken up by the ocean and land vegetation, in roughly equal parts.

The extra carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans is estimated to have caused about a 30% increase in the level of ocean acidity since pre-industrial times.

The sources of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere can be identified from studies of the isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2 and from oxygen (O2) concentration trends in the atmosphere. The observed trends in the isotopic (13C, 14C) composition of CO2 in the atmosphere and the decrease in the concentration of atmospheric O2 confirm that the dominant cause of the observed CO2 increase is the combustion of fossil fuels.

Measurements from Cape Grim, Tasmania, showing: increasing monthly-mean, background concentrations of CO2 (parts per million,top) showing that the CO2 growth rate has increased above the linear trend (dashed line) through the measurement period; the decreasing ratio of 13CO2/12CO2 in the atmosphere (expressed as δ13CO2 in units of per mille, centre); and decreasing concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere (expressed as the ratio of oxygen to nitrogen, bottom), including measurements at Cape Grim from both CSIRO (light green) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (dark green). CSIRO
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Future changes

Australian average temperatures are projected to rise by 0.6 to 1.5 °C by 2030 when compared with the climate of 1980 to 1999. The warming is projected to be in the range of 1.0 to 5.0 °C by 2070 if global greenhouse gas emissions are within the range of projected future emission scenarios considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These changes will be felt through an increase in the number of hot days and warm nights, and a decline in cool days and cold nights.

Climate models suggest long-term drying over southern areas during winter and over southern and eastern areas during spring. This will be superimposed on large natural variability, so wet years are likely to become less frequent and dry years more frequent. Droughts are expected to become more frequent in southern Australia; however, periods of heavy rainfall are still likely to occur.

Models generally indicate an increase in rainfall near the equator globally, but the direction of projected changes to average rainfall over northern Australia is unclear as there is a lack of consensus among the models.

For Australia as a whole, an increase in the number of dry days is expected, but it is also likely that rainfall will be heavier during wet periods.

It is likely (with more than 66% probability) that there will be fewer tropical cyclones in the Australian region, on average, but the proportion of intense cyclones is expected to increase.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will continue to provide observations, projections, research, and analysis so that Australia’s responses are underpinned by science of the highest quality.

A list of peer-reviewed references underpinning State of the Climate 2012 can be found on the CSIRO website.

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Protecting Orangutans and their habitat is a global responsibility

Rasa Ria Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) – Sabah

Introduction

The Orangutan is a highly endangered species of great ape whose existence is threatened by wanton habitat destruction through logging and forest fires.

They are 97% human like.

The prime reason for logging the natural habitat is to enable the planting of Palm oil plantations, which oil product is used in many everyday items such as some noodles and chocolate. This action causes many Orangutans to be displaced, orphaned and hunters unfortunately also target this magnificent and very intelligent animal.

Under the watchful eye of the Sabah Wildlife Department, the young orphaned Orangutans are taken to the Rasa Ria Nature reserve and are undergoing the first stage of rehabilitation.

Over a period of 3-5 years they are being prepared for the second stage of rehabilitation at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, Sandakan. This centre is the biggest of it’s kind in the world.

Once the two phases of rehabilitation are completed, the orangutans will then be carefully guided back to their natural habitats in the wild.

Rasa Ria encourages visits to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre where large adult orangutans, both male and female, are frequently sighted. They hope the visits to Rasa Ria and Sepilok will raise appreciation towards Sabah’s immense efforts in protecting these wonderful animals.

Touring the Nature Interpretation Centre

Upon arrival at the NIC, we are seated and the famous documentary, Man of the Forest, part of the Orangutan UK Appeal, is shown. The 20min doco gives viewers a detailed insight into the challenges faced by the orangutan and the great work carried out by Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, which is giving the Orangutan a ray of hope.

Following a tour of the NIC facility we then commence our 1-hour trek deep into the jungle to catch a glimpse of some of the reserves latest arrivals.

As we climb steeply up a narrow track we see a raised timber deck, a feeding station, connected by a series of ropes crossing the jungle canopy.

As young orangutans do not yet have the ability to source their own food, rangers provide regular meals to the young orangutans via the feed stations.

While we are standing on the deck, more than five baby orangutans come swinging through the jungle, across the canopy above our heads, they are fast, funny and do look like old men.

We are lucky they feel safe enough to come very close to us, the ranger advises that in the reserve we do not touch the orangutans, just being close is a special feeling. They stay for about 30 mins and then slowly swing away, disappearing into he jungle.

Continuing along the path we trek for another 30-45 mins traversing along a 40mt high canopy walkway seeking out other local flora and fauna. We came across Monkey’s, turtles and many types of butterflies.

Rasa Ria and the local rangers’ fantastic efforts in educating visitors and protecting and rescuing displaced orangutans is world known, their commitment, passion and continuing efforts are giving the orangutans of Borneo a ray of hope.

In Australia and across the world many organizations are also assisting the orangutan’s plight.

Studio Green provides sponsorship support to Katie, Wulan, Cinta and Ten Ten through the Rasa Ria NIC.

Images are available via here

Please see the below links for ways you can add your support.

http://www.zoo.org.au/Borneo

http://www.zoo.org.au/PalmOil

http://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk/

 

Shape Our Future – An Introduction

What is Shape Our Future?

In 2008 our founder, Geoffrey Gourley, Social Entrepreneur and Environmentalist from a young age, was selected to undertake a fellowship in sustainability leadership. Realising long ago the planet is not an infinite natural resource; Geoff understands the urgency needed to address climate change, environmental and ecological issues if we are to sustain humanity.

Shape Our Future was conceptualised and launched in 2008 with a vision to lead, develop and influence business and community to a sustainable future.

 “we invite you, to join with us, in shaping our future, making a contribution to preserving our beautiful planet and create a pathway for all future generations to live sustainably”. Geoffrey Gourley – Founder.

Our Vision

Lead, develop and influence business and community to a sustainable future through visioning, fostering and funding ecological, environmental and sustainable initiatives.

Our Objectives

• Develop ecological, environmental and sustainability projects in general with an emphasis on climate change and offsetting the deleterious effects of burning fossil fuels and global warming.

• Advise on, fund and influence business and the wider community to develop ecological, environmental and sustainability projects.

• Respond to the climate change crisis and its impact including developing a vision for a sustainable future that is feasible and able to be implemented by business and the community.

• Address and re-evaluate traditional thinking by looking differently at social, economic and environmental issues.

• Foster the creation of regions for the growth and protection of flora and fauna by the community in general or various sub-sets of the community where people can contribute, learn and assist with restoring our ecology and biodiversity.

• Foster effective management of land and reserves including the control of pests and the minimisation of damage caused by climate change.

• Offer services to business, community, government and other organisations including future and visionary thinking, consultancy, assessment, leadership, innovation, marketing, planning and strategy in relation to the objects set out above and related issues.

Our Values

Respect – Integrity – Courtesy – Honesty – Ethics – Support

Our Green Credo

As a social organisation we lead by example, it is not enough to simply undertake a few good sustainable practices and call yourself ‘Green’. We here at Shape Our Future take our reputation and our environment seriously.

You won’t see us partaking in unsustainable activities. We walk the talk and have the evidence to back it up. Below you will find details on our actual ‘Green Credo’ and Environmental policy. We have put in place a voluntary reporting and monitoring process along with a set of guiding principles to ensure everything we do is as sustainable as it can be.

Environmental Principles and Aspirations

Shape Our Future accepts that it has a moral obligation to ensure that its current and future projects, developments and operations work towards the goal of restoring balance to the ecosystems and global community’s sustainability – rather than just sustaining a degraded world.

We will respond to the climate change crisis and its impact including developing a vision for a sustainable future that is feasible and able to be implemented by business and the community.

“Restoration is a more productive, imaginative, and innovative path forward.” Paul Hawken

As Shape Our Future Executive Director, Geoffrey Gourley, said in
July 2009:

“We face a global climate crisis, more than ever before, we need innovative and immediate change in paradigms to unlock sustainability as a pathway for future generations. Global and local communities need leaders to outline and vision a future, we need to consider and value our environment as an integral part of any sustainable society”.
Under the Sustainability Policy ratified by the Board in July 2009, Shape Our Future has set principles and aspirations including:

  • Our aim to lead, develop and influence environmental and social management through sustainable business principles and practices to minimise our impact on the environment and increase contributions we make to the community.
  • Shape Our Future encourages the use of environmentally-friendly transport options, and limits the amount of interstate and overseas travel our management, staff and volunteers make in fulfilling their work duties.
  • Shape Our Future has committed to improving energy efficiency across all our projects and developments, eliminating the use of unsustainable forms of energy, ensuring energy is purchased through green power accredited sources and that energy use is CO2 neutral or off set where required.
  • Our aim to achieve a zero-waste target by reducing, reusing and recycling materials, minimising the purchase and use of consumables, and when purchasing goods we choose environmentally friendly options that produce the least amount of waste and are efficient in their consumption of energy and resources.
  • Shape Our Future aims to exceed the minimum requirements, for Commonwealth, State and Local environmental regulations, policies, legislation and voluntary initiatives.
  • We encourage and support our employees in volunteering activities for other organisations, acknowledging the contribution volunteering makes to the community.
  • We support our employees in balancing personal and work commitments in recognition this contributes to employee health, satisfaction and well being. All Shape Our Future management, employees and volunteers are encouraged to allow sufficient time for each aspect.
  • We choose our partners, service providers, consultants and stakeholders which are aligned to our vision, values, principles, aspirations and objectives and demonstrate environmental leadership in their sector.
  • All our company tenancies are carbon neutral (greenhouse gas emissions which have been reduced through efficiencies are offset via carbon trading).
  • Environmental considerations inform all our investment decisions.
  • All business operations are zero net carbon, water & waste as a minimum.
  • All projects we develop and/or operate are independently rated as achieving good environmental status.

Policy

Summary

Through our commitment to the principles of ecologically sustainable development we will contribute to creating a sustainable future and lead, develop and influence improvements in environmental performance. This undertaking is an obligation of the board and management team and the responsibility of every staff member and volunteer.

Detail

Shape Our Future is committed to providing a high quality environment in the Not-for-Profit Environmental and Sustainability sector, which meet the requirements and expectations of Clients, Statutory Authorities, Employees and Community Groups.

Shape Our Future affirms its commitment to applying sustainable business and development principles to all facets of our organisations processes and to continually improve our performance in minimising the impact on, and pollution of, the environment.

In achieving this Shape Our Future is committed to the implementation, maintenance and improvement of a Management System meeting the requirements of Australian and International Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001.

The Board of Directors will review environmental objectives and set performance targets each year. Managers through their line management structure are accountable for ensuring all employees and volunteers achieve these objectives and targets.

The Company’s Environmental performance will be monitored against established performance targets and the results reported to the Board of Directors on a regular basis.

Shape Our Future affirm that they have a legal obligation to comply with relevant environmental legislation, standards and codes of practice as the minimum level of performance and a professional obligation to acknowledge the views of Environmental and Community Groups.

Shape Our Future acknowledge that environmental excellence can only be achieved and maintained by a clear unequivocal direction of all levels of management, stimulating a participative atmosphere and sense of pride in our environmental achievements by all employees and volunteers, and through recognition by concerned groups in obtaining this.

Why we do it.

Seeing firsthand the earth’s changing climate, humanities impact on the natural environment and depleting resources this generation is at or past a tipping point which could affect all future generations’ ability to inhabit the earth as we know it.

The environment is central to developed and developing countries and a communities continuance, without a balanced and sustainable environment we, as a race, will not be able to survive the future.

Our generation will be judged on the decisions we make at this time, as Al Gore once said to me ‘this is a time of turning, we don’t want future generations to say, ‘what were you thinking, didn’t you care enough to change’, we want them to ask, ‘how did you find the moral courage to rise to the challenge’.

Shape Our Future was formed as an organisation that leads, develops and influences others to make changes, we encourage, educate, and support people from all walks of life to find that moral courage needed to ensure sustainable prosperity for all.

We do it because we care, we are a group of passionate people with a common goal, and a desire to make a real and lasting difference, the greatest legacy we can leave is a healthy planet and a sustainable pathway for future generations.

Applications for the 2011 Melbourne and Sydney Centre for Sustainability Leadership (CSL) Fellowship Program are now open!

Applications for the 2011 Melbourne and Sydney Centre for Sustainability Leadership (CSL) Fellowship Program are now open!

I participated in the Centre for Sustainability Leadership Fellowship Program last year and benefited greatly from it, gaining an amazing skills set and network of like minded people passionate about creating a sustainable world.

The Centre for Sustainability Leadership is having an information session on their 2011 Fellowship Program on Tuesday, 8th March and, I would encourage you to attend.

Date: Tuesday, 8th March 2011, 6.00 pm Location: River Terrace Yarra Building, Federation Square, Melbourne RSVP: http://2011infosessionmelbourne.eventbrite.com

The CSL Fellowship Program is a unique training opportunity where up to 26 individuals in each city develop the skills, networks and knowledge needed to influence a rapidly changing world and forge a more sustainable future.

The 7-month evening and retreat-based program is packed full of practical, immersive and challenging thinking and activities designed to grow each Fellow’s capacity to influence positive change in their areas of passion.

If you’re up for the challenge of growing your social and cultural footprint in 2011, go to our website http://www.csl.org.au and check out our brochure to learn more about the Fellowship Program and apply.

Our Annual Review is also a great place to learn more about CSL, our programs and the change makers in our network. Applications close at midnight on 27th March 2011.

ISIS goes global in search of sustainable innovation and Geoff Gourley has been invited.

UK Tour and attendance at Eco Build – London

In line with the strategic goals of becoming a sustainability leader in the property sector, ISIS are travelling to the UK in search of innovation best practises. The trip, is scheduled for the end of this month.

Geoff Gourley will be attending the Ecobuild conference and will have access to leaders in sustainability and innovation; the key learning’s from the event will then be incorporated into the business upon return to help differentiate ISIS from their competitors in the property market.

Associates at Overbury have presented us with an exciting opportunity to go through their ‘Perfect Delivery’ model and give us a progress update on their ‘Client Experience’ initiative.

Geoff will be able to share what ISIS learns from implementing a new ‘Client Experience’ approach.

Geoff was selected by Group Executives Michael Barnes – CEO, Michael Seay – COO and Gary Anderson – Group Executive – Sales and Marketing. Geoff will be sharing his experiences upon return.

http://www.ecobuild.co.uk
http://www.overbury.com
http://www.shapeourfuture.org.au

Become a Sustainbaility Change Maker – Applications now open!

Dont just sit there! Become a ‘sustainability change maker’ and lead the change to a sustainable future.

Applications are now open for the CSL 2011 Fellowship Program.

I completed this scholarship based fellowship in 2008 and wholly endorse the programme run by Centre for Sustainability Leadership.

Find out more by visiting http://www.csl.org.au. Applications close on 27th March.

If you would like to personally discuss my experiences with this program please contact me on +61428 317 387 or email geoffgourley@bigpond.com

http://issuu.com/sustainabilityleadership/docs/2011_fellowship_program_webb

Help save our environment

We urgently need you to help Shape Our Future…

Shape Our Future is currently preparing proposals for an exciting sustainability based project partnering with Local Councils to enhance environmental sustainability and adapt to climate change.

The Victorian Local Sustainability Accord is offering councils $A6.7 million in grants to partner with organisations.

Due to an increase in opportunity Shape Our Future urgently needs assistance from 2-3 motivated volunteers to help complete our submissions by 21st December 2010.

If you would like to help this worthwhile cause and be involved in an exciting sustainability project please contact Executive Director and Founder – Geoff Gourley on 0428 317 387 or email geoffgourley@bigpond.com http://www.shapeourfuture.org.au

Defining Sustanability Leadership Article

CSL Alumni 2008

Defining Sustainability Leadership

Firstly let’s define ‘Sustainability’, there are a number of common principles which are embedded in most definitions of sustainability, these are…

The conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity.
Constant natural capital and sustainable income.
Ensuring intRAgenerational (within generations) and intERgenerational (across generations) equity.
It is recognising and responding to global circumstances at a local level
It is dealing cautiously with risk, uncertainty and irreversibility
It is ensuring appropriate valuation of environmental assets
It is integration of environmental, social and economic goals in policies and
it is the activities, social equity, community engagement and participation which deliver results.

Sustainability Leadership is about creating a collaborative learning environment to motivate, empower and educate the community who, with new skills and understanding and by applying the above principals, will lead business and community into a sustainable future. We face a global climate crisis, more than ever before, we need innovative and immediate change in paradigms to unlock sustainability as a pathway for future generations.

Global and local communities need leaders to outline and vision a future, we need to consider and value our environment as an integral part of any sustainable society. Leadership in sustainability can make this a reality, by developing and delivering sustainability leadership programs to a range of individuals we will ensure our circle of influence is great and lasting.

We are aware of the urgent need to address climate change, carbon emissions, water, energy, biodiversity and environmental challenges, through a range of programs and initiatives it is possible for sustainability leaders to vision and influence a sustainable future and assist with the shaping of a sustainable planet.

By taking a leadership philosophy we are able to connect people from diverse backgrounds, whether from developing communities or already developed societies we need to engage and re-connect them to the natural environment, through sustainability leadership we can have a lasting impact on behaviors, mind sets and long term actions which can lead to more sustainable habits.

Last year I successfully completed a Fellowship in Sustainability Leadership, a program which was delivered by Centre for Sustainability Leadership, founded by the 2008 Environment Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Award recipient Larissa Brown. This program gave me the tools to influence and inspire others; there are many more graduates that have gone on to become the leaders they imagined, however, we need more inspired leaders.

Inspired leadership is evident, yet, it is not evident everywhere, a positive approach is to develop inspired sustainability leadership within every part of society, every community, every sector, every country. It is my belief leaders are not born but they are identified, developed and made.

A good leader knows when it is time to change shape because they are highly attentive to those around them. Coming from a position of strength, a great leader takes risks by freeing up the creative genius in their followers to build their capability and multiply the talents of the community. This leads to a sense of community and to greatness.

It is true that inspired leaders share a number of qualities. Some of which are… Integrity, the ability to be courageous, having a social conscious, being able to understand others, facilitating cooperation, identifying and fostering innovation, ensuring collaboration amongst organisations and individuals, being creative, caring and maintaining a sense of humor.

We need Inspiring, venturous leadership to connect caring communities, caring people to begin influencing cultural, behavioral and attitudinal changes at a local level. Sustainability Leadership is needed across all sectors of business and in all types of communities, urban, regional, outback, beachside, farming, high country every corner of Australia needs leaders who are visionaries, leaders who care, leaders who can act, leaders that understand, leaders who make changes and leaders who want to shape our future.

Engaging with the community

Community engagement is certainly not new; in my research it is clear many of our best leaders have fantastic, all encompassing community engagement strategies, principles, goals and commitments. How leaders engage with their local community with regard to sustainability, environment, planning and emissions reductions is an interesting discussion point.

I believe most future sustainability leaders already know how to effectively engage with their community, in fact, for some people, that what they do best, consider those people you know who seem to know everyone and everyone knows them, then consider diving a bit deeper and ask yourself the following questions…

At what level do sustainability leaders engage with the community and what real results have been achieved?

Has the community’s youth been fully engaged or has the focus been around political and business leaders?

Focusing on the second point put yourself in Gen Ys’ shoes; there are plenty of unknowns, lots of things are changing around them, and they are neither fully aware of the rationale – nor in control of – those things changing. Even in times of more positive change, the first to buy-in are those who either, control and direct the change, or are experiencing change that is positive to them personally.

Remember? Our youth are trying to perform, succeed, and persevere – they deserve our respect. Those who aren’t? Well, now’s a good time for a change – it has never been more important than during challenging social, environmental and economic times.

We all need to pull our weight – the quicker we can get youth engaged as future sustainability leaders the faster we will become sustainable communities and a sustainable race? Now is the time to find out more, time to stand up and become a leader of your own future and in the process you can shape the future of humanity.

Article: Sustainability Leadership
Date: 20 August 2009
Author: Geoffrey Gourley
Publication: Victorian Association for Environmental Education (VAEE)

Keynote Speech National Camps Conference

Keynote speech delivered at National Camps Conference 2009

Good evening and thank you for attending the National Camps Conference here at Kindilan Outdoor Education and Conference Centre.

I arrived in Brisbane this morning to beautiful blue skies and a warming sun, I decided to go for a walk and explore the CBD and river area. I came across the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and lied on the soft grass, surrounded by native tropical trees and plants for a couple of hours enjoying the sun, the smells and sounds of the natural environment; and would like to share a thought I had while reflecting…

Make me a bird so I can fly away; take me to my sanctuary, my place of peace, my harmony.

Let me lose myself to the simple thoughts running through my head, it seems so right here.

I wish 1000 wishes that everyday could be the same. Today is my day to dream of blue skies. 

I think we could all afford a little time to reconnect with our environment.

For years now society has tried to get people in positions of power to care that has not worked; now we are going to get people who care into positions of influence.

We need strong, venturous leadership, we need people who will lead, develop and influence our communities and business toward sustainable future prosperity

The Australian Camps Sector, I believe, are just the passionate and caring people that we need to deliver real action and systemic change.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead made that statement which rings true to the challenges we currently face.

Sustainability Leadership is about creating a collaborative learning environment to motivate, empower and educate the future leaders who, with these new skills and understanding will lead us to a sustainable future.

Socially, economically, environmentally and culturally we determine what our environment and planet looks like, what the world sees, how we want to live and what future we leave for generations to come.

I recently attended dinner with Hon Al Gore, as part of the Climate Project Asia Pacific Summit, Mr Gore delivered a motivational speech, in which he called on us as a society and as a sustainability leaders to “find the moral courage to rise to the challenge” we don’t want future generations to say “what were you thinking?, didn’t you care”

We need innovative and immediate change to unlock sustainability as a pathway for future generations.

Camps can be at the leading edge of innovation in youth leadership, regional and community development, camps have the ability to quickly respond to community and market demands and through partnerships we understand we can cause a greater change to society and the environment.

Can we be the future shapers of Australia…Yes we can.

Thank you. Please enjoy the rest of the evening and the remainder of the National Camps Conference.

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