The GWLAP 2019/2020 Annual Report is now available online. The report contains some of the highlights from what has been a pretty crazy year. It is full of great photos and achievements.
GWLAP Chairperson and Alexandrina Council Mayor, Keith Parkes has summed up the year that was in his report:
Last year I wrote that I hoped that 2019/20 would be the beginning of a new era. It turned out to be true, but not in the way we would have liked. A time of reckoning has arrived, and we have witnessed the impacts of land clearance on our planet, through two unprecedented events – the immense bushfires throughout Australia and the current Global Pandemic.
These major catastrophes are caused primarily by land clearance and the resulting change in our climate. Each arises from our unwillingness to respect the interdependence between ourselves and the natural world.
Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. We clear forests and remove habitat, bringing human settlements closer to wild animals and the naturally vegetated areas they inhabit. This increases the risk of disease transmission from animals to humans and of the loss of life and assets due to wildfire. What we have seen in 2019/20 clearly highlights the need for us to change these practices.
But, as an organisation, we are a group of optimists. We believe that the work we put into our region will make a difference, and we will keep fighting for the resources needed to protect and enhance our vital natural assets.
We are very happy to have welcomed Janet Klein and Dana Miles to the GWLAP Board at the last AGM. Janet and Dana have brought fresh perspectives to board discussions and have provided important insights into NRM reform, through their involvement in the new Hills and Fleurieu Landscapes Board.
Once again, our staff and board have proved to be adaptable and resilient. I was pleased with GWLAP’s response to the bushfire crisis in the Adelaide Hills, quickly setting up pop-up nurseries at Woodside School and the Strathalbyn Natural Resource Centre.
We have negotiated the pandemic lock-down with good humour, adapting to Zoom meetings and work-from home arrangements, and are pleased to be able to open the Strathalbyn Natural Resource Centre again and meet face to face.
As an organisation, we continue to navigate the changes around us and explore new and innovative ways to attract investment into our region. We are here, ready to partner with anyone who shares our vison of a positive, sustainable future.
So, my hopes for 2020/21? That we all recognise that what we faced in 2019/20 was due to our neglect of the environment, and as a society start working hard to turn that around.