By Andrew Morison MEIANZ | NSW Division President
I headed off to Townsville for a series of EIANZ meetings and the EIANZ 2022 Annual Conference. I left on another soggy Sydney day, adding more rainfall to the annual record, and arrived during a heatwave, also breaking records for this area. The future of climate variability was only one of many environmental topics we discussed.
The program was an excellent opportunity to meet other EIANZ members, make new connections, and learn from a diversity of environmental practitioners across many industries and from all jurisdictions in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We heard about the challenges ahead including species and ecosystem decline, plastic pollution, university cuts to environmental courses, climate change and the need for paradigm shifts in the community and “intense vigilance and exertion” from all of us across the environmental profession. There is nothing like some overwhelming data and statistics to set a challenging tone.
I was heartened however to hear of all the good news stories, projects, innovative solutions, and case studies that are occurring as well as a number of changes that are ‘in the wings’ or ‘on their way’.
The conference covered topics such as:
- shifting from the linear economy to the circular economy;
- emerging developments in impact assessment that are outcomes based;
- research in ethical environmental practice;
- sustainability practices in mining;
- the evolution of environmental accounting;
- new survey techniques for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;
- better environmental training for undergraduate students;
- the case for nature-related financial disclosure is clear; and
- modelling and better use of environmental data.
As you know, there is a lot happening in the environmental profession, with policy changes, statutory reviews and new initiatives and it was good to have that summarised. Another positive is hearing about businesses not waiting for governments who have been slow to take much needed action. Many businesses are already taking action on a range of ESG outcomes in response to their investors calling for more to be done.
I’ll leave you with one last point that particularly struck home for me. Governments have set targets for reducing carbon emissions by 2030 as well as targets for the protection and conservation of our land and sea by 2030. That is less than eight years away and there is a lot more that needs to be done! I am sure you have all experienced some projects and even the development and implementation of some policies that can take five years or more. It is clear the environmental profession will need to be busy to deliver on these targets!
Good environmental outcomes need good environmental practitioners to make things happen. The EIANZ is here to help environmental professionals be more capable and effective in their professions. I encourage you to immerse yourselves in the offerings of the EIANZ to meet and learn from the diversity of clever, interesting, and amazing people who are achieving environmental outcomes. I certainly got a lot out of the Annual Conference and am looking forward to the EIANZ 2023 Annual Conference in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This was originally published in the EIANZ NSW Division’s monthly newsletter.