On Wednesday night, the UNAA WA Forest Event was a great success!
Our guest speakers highlighted the importance to Protect, Restore and Promote Sustainableuse of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, as well as combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.
The Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in Perth opened the event with an interesting talk about “Indonesia Forest Policy to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)”. It is great to know that they embraced the SDG’s and that they are trying to address very important environmental issues.
Then it was Mrs. Mary Gray’s turn, president of Urban Bushland Council WA, who reminded us the importance of Bushlands and Banskia woodlands in the Perth Metropolitan Region. She explained that in 2000 the government implemented a great program called the “Bush Forever policy” with the aim to: “provide a policy and implementation framework that will ensure bushland protection and management issues in the Perth Metropolitan Region are appropriately addressed and integrated with broader land use planning and decision-making. This will secure long-term protection of biodiversity and associated environmental values…“
Unfortunately, according to Mrs. Gray, that policy has been almost “forgotten” while developing the “Perth & Peel” planning document, which is supposed to address the needs of Perth growing population. But the environmental scientists is wondering: “which growing population are they talking about, if people are leaving WA?” And I fully agree with her given the current economic situation, with less job opportunities and more visa restrictions!!!
Furthermore, the government is rightly trying to boost tourism industry in WA as a way to diversify the local economy and to create new job opportunities, but people from abroad come to see the beautiful Australian environment with its unique flora and fauna, not a built environment! If we keep clearing bushlands and forests, we won’t have much else to showcase!
Indeed, the greater Perth region has been designated one of the only 35 biodiversity hotspots in the world and we must protect this exceptionally biodiverse natural setting.
So why don’t pause for a while this ongoing process of density increase and reconsider which are the key elements for a Sustainable planning program? Here you can read more about my “My 2 cents about increasing density in Perth“
As you can see, environmental issues really fire me up, but also take a lot of my energies 😉 … That’s why I really enjoyed listening to our third guest Mr. Brett Kuhlmann, Chief Executive Officer South East Regional Center of Urban Landcare (SERCUL), who spoke with a positive attitude about the “Role of Education for the Conservation and Improvement of natural areas“. He is a very enthusiastic person, who truly believes that we can still do something to protect the environment and that the key is educating local communities and facilitating their connection with nature.
Nowadays, we are very connected from a technological point of view with our smart phones and tablets, but we are really disconnected from our environment, so people can’t understand that all their actions, including their waste, have a direct consequence on the environment. SERCUL is working in partnership with various local groups and is doing a very good job!
As a conclusion, a 15 minutes Q&A with some nibbles wrapped up the Forest Event, showing interest from all the participants.
The UNAA WA Environment Committee is very committed to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and to raise Community awareness. Therefore, I am really honored that I have been appointed as the Responsible for the recently established “Sustainable Built Environment” Portfolio and I will do my best to support this cause.
Stay tuned and feel free to join the UNAA WA 😉