Magella Lajoie, NPA Member Sydney Region Branch
I attended the launch of the revitalised Sydney Region branch of the NPA on Wednesday 4 September 2019. It was organised and opened by its new president, David Stead at the Dougherty Function Centre in Chatswood. It was clear that bold, vigorous work by local NPA volunteer members had continued across the Sydney Region including the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Ku-ring-gai Chase.
As a newcomer to the NPA, I was glad that the night had been purposely organised to be welcoming and engaging, to old members and new. From clear directions to the venue, a timetable of events that was closely adhered to, three formal presentations by experts as well as a choice of intimate small discussion groups. Food was provided and light touches like the little Corroboree frogs’ origami patterns, made it easier to meet others.
The three presentations were the highlight for me. The presenters were impressive in their detailed, rigorous knowledge. All were passionate and tenacious advocates in their chosen area of expertise.
1. Richard Swain, Indigenous guide and Reclaim Kosci campaign coordinator, on the many stressors impacting and leading to the degradation of the Kosciusko NP. He was clearly devoted to engaging and educating others.
2. David Booth, Professor of Marine Ecology, UTS spoke on Marine Conservation, Sanctuaries and Sydney. One of his messages was that the climate crisis was creating the greatest havoc on our oceans, above other concerns such as single-use plastics. He is also a strong advocate of sustainable fisheries and marine parks.
3. Gary Dunnett, the CEO of the NPA, outlined the efforts to improve the land management of the Ku-Ring-Gai NP, including working towards achieving UNESCO recognition.
I chose to attend the small discussion group on ‘Raising the Warragamba Dam’. The Blue Mountains NP has been central to my family’s life for generations. Living in Sydney, we’ve turned to the Blue Mountains for our honeymoon, children’s birthdays, Christmases, innumerable bushwalks, camping and concerts. To contemplate the loss of a swathe of the NP and of its UNESCO World Heritage status is akin to the loss of a close family member. The NPA has sustained efforts over many months, active in the parliamentary debate, collaborating with other environmental organisations for the future of the Blue Mountains NP.
The thoughtful planning, organisation and informed activism with the major stakeholders (our community, scientists, politicians) that brings together the community of the NPA is inspiring. In this Anthropocene era of ours, proactive, coordinated and passionate engagement to preserve nature in our own backyard gives me hope for our future and that of our grandchildren.
Editors note: We’re pleased to note that Magella was so impressed with the launch, she’s joined the committee of Sydney Region Branch.
Would you like to attend an event, or get more involved with the Branch?
24 March 2020, Blue Mountains
22 July 2020, Inner West (+AGM)