Back in 1986, Tor Hundloe FEIANZ was the director of the Institute of Applied Environmental Research at Griffith University. At that time, he used to carpool to work with his mate Roger Braddock, who was the then Chair of the School of Environmental Studies. Tor and Roger would chat about all range of issues on these car rides together.
One day, they started discussing how other trades and professions had a ‘home’, but there was no such place for those in the emerging field of environmental management. So they decided to do something about it.
Roger provided some funding for a graduate to work with Tor to have a look at what was happening in other countries. And they both got their rolodex and phone books out (remember, this is before smart phones and social media) and phoned up their mates from all over the country to discuss the idea of a professional association for environmental practitioners. Everyone was on board and they decided to launch the Environment Institute of Australia (EIA) at a national conference in Sydney in 1987.
Work began on drafting a constitution and they continued to spread the word by phoning and mailing relevant organisations from around the country.
Tor contacted Ninian Stephen, Australia’s Governor General at the time, and asked him to launch the EIA at the conference. About 300 people attended the first conference with most joining as members by the end of it.
At the end of the conference, the first Annual General Meeting was held and the inaugural committee was elected with Tor as president. For the next couple of years, the focus was on putting together a constitution and growing the membership. It wasn’t long before the EIA had 700 members.
To be continued...