Engaging People with Environment the key to Sustainability

16 01 2013

Sustainability in the USA is, in many ways, a complete contradiction. On one hand, the old school, not so green thinking of the 20th century is deeply ingrained into American culture, with their disconnected, industrial cities, and their obsession with everything BIG (big cars, big houses, big Mac’s…). On the other hand though, their focus on eco-innovations, and a growing ‘green’ trend can be seen popping up all over.

So with all this contradiction, and the fact that Mandurah punches above its weight in it’s focus on sustainability, (as we should- it’s our most valuable asset!), what can we learn from the Americans?

We spent the week trekking through incredible National Parks, admiring spectacular views, and enjoying a change of pace from the cities we’d visited earlier (not to mention trying to work off an American diet).

First was a seven hour hike to the top of Yosemite Falls in the Yosemite National Park. The views were unreal, and the hard slog definitely worth it, but only a warm up act for our next adventure.

The Grand Canyon- one of the great natural wonders of the world. Having witnessed this mind blowing phenomena, and trekked through its walls, it was a striking reminder to me just how remarkable the natural world is, and how important it is to do our bit to look after things.

The thing is though, I didn’t need to travel thousands of kilometres to see natural wonders. Our Estuary, the thrombolites, the Yalgorup… We are surrounded by incredible environmental assets, and we are lucky to have them.

What the Americans have taught me this week is that to help people to appreciate the environment, we need to engage them in it. Walk trails, information plaques and tours all help people to appreciate our surroundings, and can inspire people to do their bit more effectively than science.



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