Saturday, 11 July 2015

Places We Love - Invitation to a Conversation

Are you concerned that the natural places you love are vulnerable?
Do you want to see more assured protection in law and in the policies of government, including local government?

The Places We Love alliance has invited people to step forward, and start talking to each other about a) what they care about in the places they love, and why, and b) what would better protect those places.

The alliance is made up of 42 state and national environmental groups. I heard about it through Michael Pulsford at Australian Conservation Foundation, who is supporting conversations in the marginal Federal electorates of McEwen (yep, that's Riddells) and Deakin (over the east side of Melbourne).

The change strategy is to connect numbers in communities with advocacy at national level for stronger laws protecting natural places. The alliance formed when the Commonwealth started talking about giving back decisions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 2000 to the States. The EPBC has often been the only thing between developers and a lot of Australia's wild or definitely-wilder-than-urban places.

The alliance has developed an agenda for the conversation, which I learned by being part of a conversation Michael Pulsford ran a few weeks ago. Here's a photo of Michael (on the right, and that's Helen from the Daly Reserve group in the middle, and Chris who's a member of and lives in Diggers Rest).

Speaking personally, I want a way to influence policy, so I'm up for hosting some conversations. The simplest next step after the conversation is staying tuned to what the alliance does at national and State level, and they're offering to keep us informed.

The agenda is simple, but rich: first the Heart (What places do you care about? Why?), then the Head (what enviro issues do you care most strongly about?), and we close with the Hands (what needs doing on those issues?).

As the host, I document our views, and that goes into the Places We Love synthesis of views at the local level.

We need 2 hours for the conversation, and I'm suggesting my place at 288 Gap Road (the house beside the winery), 7-9 this Thursday evening 16th July. My living area has room for 6 people round the fire, plus me, so email or phone to say yes if you want to be in it. 

If you can't do that time, but want the conversation, call or write and we'll find an additional time.

Warm regards
Ross Colliver, 0411 226519

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