An important time for Australia’s environment

It’s an important time for Australia’s environment, with several recent developments a huge cause for concern.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has provided further warnings and evidence of the need to change course or risk devastating climate change.

Environmental regulation in Australia is the subject of major review with important consequences for an appropriate balance between development projects and nature conservation. And existing, hard-won achievements in areas like forestry, national parks and bio-diversity are being attacked and are at serious risk of being wound back.

I’m convinced that being open for business should not mean being closed to the need for a strong environment. Indeed, investment in de-carbonisation, renewable energy and public transport are vital for sustainable economic growth.

That’s why environmental sustainability is one of the Reichstein Foundation’s three priorities. There’s been some great news in that space over the last week.

We announced the winner of inaugural Jill Reichstein Award for Social Change. The award goes to the very impressive and dedicated Jonathan La Nauze, whose work in connection with river nations peoples including the Yorta Yorta over more than a decade at Friends of the Earth contributed to significant measures of protection for red gum forests on the River Murray. I wish Jonathan continued success at the Australian Conservation Foundation.

This week has also involved a lot of behind the scenes work to reach the point where we could announce a $20,000 matching grant in support of the re-launch of the Environment Defenders Office (Victoria) as Environmental Justice Australia, and their goal to become financially independent through crowdfunding.

The Australian Communities Foundation is also supporting EJA’s re-launch and evolution.

The Reichstein Foundation was one of the first in the early 1990s to support the work of the EDO, assisting with the community awareness and fundraising activities of the new organisation.

We welcome the EDO’s evolution into Environmental Justice Australia, with its commitment to work with local communities and to fix the failures in our legal system.

We are proud to support people with a passion for justice, the technical expertise and practical understanding needed to protect our environment.

 

Jill Reichstein OAM

Chair, Reichstein Foundation