By Lucienne James


Every day there seems to be another story about climate change, pollution and the general state of disrepair the environment is in, thanks to our presence here on Earth. It can also seem hard to know what to do, with so much information and so many dire warnings. We might want to do something, but it’s not always clear what that something should be.


A new 10-point guide, created by the University of Melbourne, the Victorian National Parks Association and the Royal Society of Victoria, aims to help Victorians help the environment.


“Climate change effects are becoming more and more apparent and we would have all already seen changes in our local environment,” says climate adaptation expert Professor Ary Hoffmann, who works with the University’s Bio21 Institute.


The guide is listed below and is designed not only to help protect our natural environment, but also to help it prepare for the changes that climate science indicates are inevitable.


Effecive Environmentalism_10_AShackleton_WEB


Ten things we can do
• Listen, engage and work with others
• Accept that natural areas will change
• Protect reserves and look after nature on private land
• Remove threats (clearing, weeds and feral animals, etc.)
• Use natural processes like fires and floods to promote diversity
• Connect landscapes and use “climate-ready” plants
• Welcome nature into our cities
• Record changes in our local area
• Promote diversity in all that we do
• Keep positive, informed and engaged


We Northsiders are lucky to have a number of public nature spaces, which are constantly under threat from litter and encroaching weed species. If you find yourself walking along the Merri Creek trail, or having a picnic in Edinburgh Gardens, make an effort to tidy up after yourself and others.


Similarly, if you have a garden, consider the types of plants you are using and the effect they might have on the local flora. While fire and flooding are not common to the area, heavy rainfall and animal movement can spread plant seeds to other locations, potentially leading to the loss of native species. Sustainable environments can start in your backyard!


If you’d like to get involved in a community project, you can attend a community planting day. Moreland Council runs community planting days where people are encouraged to come along and plant trees in the local environment. Planting sessions normally last about two hours and are followed by a barbecue. Not only are these sessions a great way to help keep nature alive, but can also be an opportunity to meet like-minded members of the community.


Climate change effects are becoming more and more apparent and we would have all already seen changes in our local environment.”


The Darebin Council also provides a guide for caring for nature strips, a vital part of welcoming nature into the city. The council provides information about the types of trees that can be planted in nature strips, as well as a hotline for reporting damaged or diseased trees.


If you are planning on travelling further afield, Victoria is home to more than 300 distinct ecosystems. Within few hours drive, you can experience alpine, coastal and grassland ecosystems, each supporting a huge range of flora and fauna.


Professor Hoffman has advised people to take the 10 tips on board, but not to let them completely replace existing climate change strategies.


The guide was based on research presented at a two-day symposium attended by prominent scientists, and industry and government stakeholders. Victorians are encouraged to visit to read more about the 10 points and what they can do to be effective environmentalists.

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