For those of us who have been working in the environmental field for some time, it can be easy to become pessimistic about our chances of making lasting positive change.
Especially when our society’s rapacious and apparently endless appetite for the planet’s natural resources has seen the systematic and rapid depletion of a large majority of our ecological systems and yet still shows no signs of changing.
The big environmental challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, water and energy crises, are the symptoms not the cause of our current environmental conundrum. These are all problems rooted in an economic model which has failed to account for the natural world which underpins our ability to do or make, well, pretty much anything.
Indeed in the face of the growing body of “alarming” environmental news emanating from the science community, it is clear that governments around the world have largely failed to act in their citizenry’s best interests, deferring instead to the demands of vested interests and those who are doing well, largely by doing bad – at least in relation to the environment.
Notwithstanding this, things could be worse, and governments’ ultimately will listen if the community’s voice of opposition is sufficiently loud. To take a recent example it was the huge ground-swell of public opinion against the mining of the conservation estate that forced our current Government to revise its proposition and approach.
In my view the two critical sectors that can best influence the Government to do good are the business and community sectors.
The community can influence the political process by reminding our politicians that there is an actively engaged citizenry that will make a stand on behalf of our environment.
We also need our business community to respond. I believe it is the businesses that show leadership and a positive intent in relation to the environment that will prosper most this century.
And of course there is a direct relationship between those businesses and our communities, in one sense they can’t be separated. When we demand products and services that can demonstrate a real commitment to the environment, we are practically effecting this change.
This brings us to the crux of this article.
EcoMatters has always tried to be a leader in the field of community engagement with regards to tackling our environmental challenges. For more than 10 years we have been working on projects that directly involve the local community with the environment, trialling a wide range of approaches in doing so.
We intend to continue to lead using inclusive engagement approaches to undertake environmental problem solving. We think that it is only by working together that we will be able to make real progress in addressing the deep seated problems which underpin our environmental challenges. We see our role as bringing the resourcing of the Government sector, public funding bodies, and increasingly the private sector, to bear fruit in our community, ensuring everyone can play their part in making a difference.
Over the next year this is a theme we will be coming back to. We’ve got a particular project in mind that we will talk about early next year that will enable us to practically demonstrate all the things I am talking about here. Stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, we would like to wish all the communities that we have worked together with this year a very happy end to 2015.
And while we are enjoying a well-earned break we encourage everyone to stay engaged with our environment over Christmas and the New Year. No one doubts that presents are fun but ultimately all the waste we produce this festive season will have to go somewhere and as it turns out, while we may have lots of wonderful communities, we still only have one planet!
Ngā mihi nui,