Blog | 3rd Nov, 2017

2017 Community Environment Award Winners

On 25 October 2017 we recognised the achievements of nine remarkable community groups and individuals from around the state for their outstanding contribution to our environment.

The 2017 Community Environment Recognition Award recipients are all leaders in their communities. They have led innovative and persistent grassroots campaigns to protect nature, tackle global warming and stand up for the places they love, often with very limited resources.

These are the groups and individuals we recognised in 2017

Tuesday Browell and Peta Thornton are two amazing river champions who were part of ACF’s River Fellows program to stand up for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

They have set up petitions, organised local groups and run successful public meetings in their towns as part of the Healthy Rivers Roadshow. Peta also travelled to Canberra to take their message to Parliament House!

Tuesday and Peta have shown exceptional leadership in standing up for the river and helping others to stand with them in support of a fully realised Basin Plan.

Darebin Climate Action Now (DCAN) has been doggedly campaigning on the real urgency of climate action for years, with their efforts culminating in the recent climate emergency declaration by Darebin City Council.

Thanks to their feisty campaigning during the 2016 council elections where seven of the nine elected councillors signed onto the climate emergency declaration, Darebin City Council passed a motion to unanimously recognise the climate emergency and subsequently enact a climate emergency plan – the first of its kind at local government level.

Friends of Merri on Parade, led for 34 years by Carolyn Lunt, have worked every weekend to bring back the bush along the stretch of the Merri Creek abutting The Parade, Northcote.

Where the bush has returned, so has wildlife like yellow-tailed black cockatoos, an echidna, a swamp wallaby, wombat and a variety of other birds.

A small group that punches above its weight, Friends of Merri on Parade has worked tirelessly for the local environment for over 30 years.

The Sustainable Living Festival is Australia’s flagship sustainability event and Luke Taylor has been its director for over a decade.

Every year, without fail, it brings the vital message of sustainability to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness.

Now in its 19th year, the Festival is Australia’s largest event of its type, running throughout the month of February with hundreds of individual community events.

Having organised plenty of big events ourselves, we know how much work goes into it, and for Luke and the team at SLF to pull this off year in year out is a real credit to them.

A New Power is a group of young people from the Latrobe Valley, organising for climate and environmental justice and working towards a just transition for the Latrobe Valley.

In the last year they’ve held campaigning and organising trainings for other young people; met with local decision makers; and featured prominently in local and state-wide media following the closure of Hazelwood – offering a unique perspective on the shift to renewable energy and the hopeful future open to young people in the Latrobe Valley.

Friends of Watery Gully are a group of dedicated volunteers who have met every month (except January!) without fail for 25 years to weed and revegetate areas of public land and roadsides with indigenous plants. They work in and around Wattle Glen in Melbourne’s north-east and have encouraged many others to join them in their efforts.

This year they completed the conversion of what was once a horse paddock into an ephemeral wetland, and are enjoying the rapid arrival of native wild life at the wetland.

Jill Redwood has been campaigning to protect the forests and wildlife of East Gippsland for over 30 years. She’s been Coordinator Environment East Gippsland since 1990 and recipient of the 2015 Bob Brown environmentalist of the year.

We recognise her decades of persistence and success in protecting the forests and wildlife of East Gippsland, multiple gutsy and effective legal actions, and refusal to be deterred by those who aimed to intimidate or silence her.

Alan Pears has been a leader in advocating for energy efficiency for 40-plus years and a mentor to many young activists.

He designed the minimum energy performance standards for appliances program that has saved more emissions than any other Australian climate change program and has been adopted by many governments around the world.