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Hello from Amanda

DSC_4373Happy autumn to all our AEGN members and friends,

As I write this, Melbourne is experiencing an “unseasonably” hot early autumn. I wonder when we will stop saying that this is unseasonal weather and accept that this hotter, drier weather is the new norm?

So it has been appropriate that the AEGN has begun the year with a focus on climate change – including a national seminar on the next steps following the outcomes of the Paris COP21 convention and shared events with Philanthropy Australia in Melbourne and Sydney. Our events on climate change will continue with participation in the upcoming Divest-Invest conference and a short but fascinating field trip to the Hunter Valley region. I hope to see you at one of these events!

My, how time flies! It will be Easter in a blink and the AEGN’s conference in June.

Awards and leadership

Awards, leadership, recognition and celebration have been at the forefront of my mind following the Australia Day Awards and my interviews with Gib Wettenhall from the Norman Wettenhall Foundation (NWF) and with Anne Kantor, AEGN’s most recent OAM recipient. Add to this the call for philanthropy award nominations by Philanthropy Australia and of course the Oscars – I couldn’t ignore the importance of awards!

You can read the article about Gib Wettenhall OAM here.

I’m sure you will agree with me that Gib has been a committed, quiet, persistent and influential leader in the community and environmental space. At the AEGN we know there are many others like Gib – some who have been recognised by an Australia Day Award such as Jill Reichstein, David Thomas, Alison Teese, Robert Purves and Rob McLean (to name a few), and many who have not. And every day we come across inspiring individuals working in big and small community groups – leaders who facilitate, cajole, influence, demonstrate, support and inspire their communities to make a difference.

Indeed, I believe that this form of leadership, used with wisdom and promoted often, can and has in the past eventually brought our politicians and the masses to a better social and environmental place.

I understand that many AEGN members and community workers might feel a bit uncomfortable about being recognised for the important work they do and the leadership they demonstrate by accepting some sort of award. But this level of recognition allows us to legitimise and raise the profile of this vital work. It enables our significant stories of change to be told.

Raising the profile of our quiet leaders uncovers their unsung work that is so much a part of the fabric of our sustainability efforts, but that is rarely heard amid reports on the state of the stock market, the daily political round and the woes of the world. Indeed, the work that many of these leaders are doing encapsulates good-news stories and demonstrates a path to a better future.

Awards give us a chance to hear these stories and increase the credibility of environmental activism.