Blog | 1st Nov, 2018

2018 Community Environment Award Winners

Last night we recognised the achievements of six remarkable community groups from across Victoria for their outstanding contribution to our environment.

The 2018 Community Environment Award recipients are all leaders in their community, and have led gutsy and persistent grassroots campaigns to protect nature and stand up for the places they love, often with very limited resources.

For that we give them a big thumbs up! 👍💚

1
WOTCH (Wildlife of the Central Highlands)

For tireless campaigning to protect Victoria’s magnificent native forests.

Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) is a volunteer-run grassroots organisation.

From Toolangi in the west to Baw Baw in the east, they use thermal and infrared imaging to search for threatened species in forest that is ear-marked for logging, in order to help get the area protected.

They have helped stop the worst of the logging in endangered species' forest habitat through persistence, evidence, science and good public communication, securing protection for over 1500 hectares of forests since they started in 2014.

2
Seed/AYCC

For providing an inspiring and outstanding example of indigenous leadership and solidarity and driving powerful environmental justice campaigns that protect and strengthen people and country.

Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network and is building a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

3
MASH (the campaign for More Australian Solar Homes)

For repowering central Victoria with over a thousand solar installations and their dynamic community engagement.

MASH is a community solar bulk-buy for households. It was launched in mid-2014 as an initiative of the Hub Foundation, founded by Neil and Heather Barrett and Mark Carter.

Since then MASH has delivered:
• 1150 solar PV systems sold which is adding 5.3 megawatts of solar generation capacity
• 8400 tonnes of emissions cut annually
• Electricity bill savings for households of around $1M each year.
• Over $70,000 raised for free solar installations for community groups and schools

MASH is expanding across regional Victoria. MASH is now being hosted by the not-for-profit Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.

4
Save Westernport

For swift and decisive action to defend Westernport Bay from AGL’s plan to build a damaging gas import terminal at Crib Point.

Save Westernport’s leadership ensured there was a coordinated and powerful community response. They have challenged AGL at over 25 of their community meetings, bused hundreds of locals to AGL’s Annual General Meeting and secured local and statewide media attention for this issue.

Because of their efforts (which were in collaboration with other environmental organisations including EV) the Victorian Planning Minister had no choice but to require an Environment Effects Statement to independently assess the risks of the project.

Thanks for tirelessly standing up to defend the unique natural values of Westernport Bay.

5
Doug Gimesy & the Victorian Alliance for Platypus-Safe Yabby Traps

For successfully campaigning for a ban in all Victorian waterways on the use of enclosed yabby traps, which are responsible for drowning platypus.

The Victorian Alliance for Platypus-Safe Yabby Traps secured the ban this year, led by Doug Gimesy who is a dedicated and passionate conservation and wildlife photographer.

The ban comes into effect on the 1st of July, 2019 but through direct engagement, the Alliance has already made sure the traps have been removed of sale from all major retailers and on-line channels.

6
Linda Parlane

For over 40 years of leadership of environmental and community groups, and mentoring generations of activists.

Linda worked to save East Gippsland forests in the 70’s and 80’s on campaigns that led to the declaration of national parks that Victorians enjoy today; sat on the Board of EV’s predecessor, the Conservation Council of Victoria; helped organise the Franklin blockade and was Director of the Conservation Council for 6 years, overseeing a the campaign to save our forests that was so effective that it was infiltrated by spies from Amcor, as revealed in a 4 corners episode.

Since then she’s worked for dozens of community campaigns, and been a passionate advocate for volunteers driving our environment movement. She’s also mentored scores of campaigners and organisers, helping build a stronger and more powerful environment and community movement.