A message from our CEO

This content forms a part of our issue briefing on sustainable cities and communities.

Australia’s major cities are home to more than three quarters of our population. They are also the engines of economic growth, generating almost 80 per cent of our economic activity and delivering prosperity to millions of Australians.

But at what cost? The loss of green spaces and biodiversity as cities spread, increasing pollution and traffic congestion, worsening housing affordability — these are just some of the signs that we are living beyond our means.

The ecological footprints of our cities are threatening the very natural resources we need to sustain economic growth and damaging the natural environment that all species, including humans, need to sustain life. Our challenge is to create sustainable, liveable cities for all; to invest in renewable energy, become more efficient in our use of water and electricity, retrofit buildings and increase green areas, provide affordable, reliable public transport and improve our waste and recycling systems.

This briefing prepared by Alexei Trundle and Brendan Gleeson examines Australia’s cities and urban communities through the lens of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, a framework for sustainable development, using its sustainable development goal for safe, resilient cities to guide their discussion. The authors also draw on the Australia State of the Environment 2016 report, the most recent of the five-yearly independent assessments commissioned by the Australian Government, to consider wider urban-related trends, threats and emerging pressures.

Briefings are one of the many tools the AEGN produces to support environmental giving. Whether you are an individual starting out on the philanthropy journey, a staff member of a philanthropic trust, a wealth adviser, an estate planner or manager in a trustee company, understanding the basics puts you in a strong position. Feeling confident about your understanding of environmental issues and how to get more information when you need it is essential when making strategic funding decisions.

The AEGN is here to support you on this journey. By joining the AEGN, you can access the resources of the entire network. The AEGN supports an active network of philanthropic funders, striving to use their philanthropy to create sustainable cities, reverse climate change and support people and nature to adapt to a warmer climate. They fund in many ways to achieve this, supporting research, advocacy, community science initiatives and communications campaigns.

Philanthropy has a vital role to play in helping urban communities to live sustainably and create liveable cities for future generations, and there is much potential to increase investment in this area. The AEGN encourages you to help create transformative change within Australia’s cities and we look forward to working with you.

Amanda Martin, Chief Executive Officer

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