The early years of the Institute

Published 20 October 2016

After the launch of the Environment Institute of Australia in 1987, Tor and the inaugural Council continued their campaign to grow the membership by contacting their networks, taking every opportunity to promote the Institute to colleagues and professional contacts in person, by phone and through written correspondence. The Institute grew quite quickly through this grassroots approach. The Annual Conference was also crucial means of further spreading the word about the Institute and establishing a voice for the organisation. Conferences were held in capital cities around the country.

Very early on, the Council recognised the need for the Institute to have its own journal. With a journal comes academic credibility, recognition and the opportunity to reach a wider audience. So along with growing the membership, launching an academic journal became a key focus for the Institute in those formative years.

The Institute was fortunate to have members dedicated to the task. In particular, Eric Anderson and Mary Lou Morris (both founding members and now Life members), dedicated a huge amount of time and effort into making the journal a reality. Tor, who was working in Canberra at that time, remembers many evenings spent at Eric’s place during the initial conceptual phase. He recalls a real excitement around the initiative, and a willingness from people to be involved. They were all excited about the next big step for the Environment Institute and the profession.

In July 1994, with Mary Lou as President and Eric the inaugural editor, the first edition of the Australian Journal of Environmental Management (as it was first known) was published. This was a real step forward for the Institute and the realisation of a long-held desire to provide a professional publication directly addressing issues of policy and practice in environmental management.

For Tor, the establishment and publication of the Journal stands out as fundamental to the growth and longevity of the Institute. Now, over 20 years later, EIANZ is well known through the Journal as it continues to be distributed in university libraries and referenced in academic papers.

Over the years, Tor has seen the way we communicate change. In those early days, phone and face to face communication was crucial. Email wasn’t an option. Tor recognises the value of online technology and how it has made it easier for us as an organisation to communicate efficiently and effectively to our members but by no means does he see it as having replaced the importance or need to meet in person and build relationships. Our conference is a great opportunity to meet up with your fellow members and expand your professional horizons. Don’t miss out – register today!