Simone Gabriel

Potential For Collaboration

ngo's Working Together

The non-government and grassroots environmental sector has been growing rapidly over the past thirty years. Not surprisingly, there are now more environmental NGOs and grassroots groups worldwide than ever before. Equally not surprising is the fact that these ‘green-minded’ organisations do not share the same vision, purpose or modus operandi. Consequently, there’s an increasing “silo” effect occurring within the not-for-profit sector. In recent decades, grassroots and NGO environmental groups have played an increasingly influential role in raising global awareness about environmental and sustainability issues – curiously, however, despite the urgency for collective action, there is still resistance from many of the… read more

Eco Education For Tomorrow

Education for Sustainability

For those in the know there is a growing field called Education for Sustainability (EfS). This is now taking hold across the world (hailed by the United Nations) as a key strategy for raising awareness, knowledge and skills toward improved sustainability behaviours. It is also considered by some writers to be more inclusive and effective than its predecessor, Environmental Education. Whilst it could be argued that the differences between Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability (EfS) are negligible, differences exist. These may be attached to the changing definitions of these terms (in particular, “environment”, “education”, and “sustainability”) in response to… read more

The Human Touch

Environmental education

It might seem obvious, but because environmentalists frequently focus on big issues relating to the non-human world, it’s sometimes easy to neglect the human element in our work as environmental educators and communicators. This “human touch” is best expressed in our people skills – our interpersonal (or relationship-building) skills and our ability to work effectively with groups. Most university degrees in biological science or environmental management tend not to emphasise knowledge, skills and practice in effective group work. And yet – in the big bad world beyond the hallowed halls – much of our environmental efforts operate within communities of… read more

One Step At A Time

Finding Our Feet

Certain words and phrases have become catch-cries for the green movement. “Action for sustainability”, “social change”, “environmental advocacy” – all are examples of language that needs to find solid ground in a world of proliferated rhetoric. As environmental communicators and sustainability educators, how can “walk the talk”? How can we do good work that moves beyond lip-service? How can we target measureable action for sustainability, meaningful social change and environmental advocacy with political and economic efficacy? The short answer is there is no short answer. What there are, however, are a series of questions we can ask ourselves as we… read more

The Leadership Challenge

volunteering in leadership

Time and again, people assert that strong national leadership is what we need to move toward a sustainable future. It could certainly be argued that our political leaders are yet to “step up” to the responsibilities of effectively navigating a healthy and prosperous future for people and planet alike. But what about personal leadership? What about the leadership required within our communities, our neighbourhoods, our homes? What about the leadership required of each and every one of us? From a social change perspective, “leadership” isn’t necessarily the job of a single person within a group. Within environmental or community groups,… read more

The Greenwash Guide

greenwash-definitions

Greenwash is alive and well across the globe. Today’s consumers are swamped with “eco-friendly” advertising and marketing messages that simply don’t come clean in the wash. Greenwash occurs when marketers seek to entice customers through unsubstantiated, fabricated or exaggerated environmental claims. In a market economy where the “green dollar” is a powerful force, we are swimming in products and services supposedly rich with environmental or sustainability benefits. But amid all the noise of organisations “going green”, why should we even care whether a few fibs are told along the way? As Futerra say in The Greenwash Guide: “Greenwash isn’t simply… read more

Talk It. Live It. Love It…Please

Is this sustainable Development??

Enough of the talk already. Isn’t it time to do something? Or maybe it’s time to rethink what we say so we can talk differently about what we need to do. Jeez…more talk, is that what this is about? Or maybe it’s about the right talk, meaningful talk, the kind of talk that actually leads to change? For more than thirty years our international leaders have been talking their way into supposedly global agreements on the need for action. Across the world, various models of sustainable development have been proposed as the panacea to our ills. Some twenty-five years ago,… read more

Mother Nature Never Loses Her Mojo

www.thebodyguard.com.au

In the absence of radical economic change, it would not be hard to assume that there aren’t any significant environmental or social problems worth worrying about. Surely the powers-that-be would take the necessary action if disaster was impending. Surely the greenies are alarmist. The humanitarian mob are bleeding hearts. And the future is just as it’s meant to be – someone else’s problem. But where’s the logic in that? Doesn’t it make more sense to be at least a little bit cautious, to think of the future health and prosperity of the planet and its people as everyone’s problem? After… read more

It’s A Career For Our Future

Environmental Communication

Having recently been asked what I do as an “environmental communicator”, I thought I’d pen a few words to help clarify the role for people who might be interested in this fascinating field. Basically, an environmental communicator puts excellent writing and speaking skills to use in the development and delivery of organisational or public-facing communication strategies. There is always a clear objective in our work, for example, we may be asked to develop a complex media campaign or simple communication tool that aims to garner community support to protect local waterways, lush rainforests or threatened ecosystems. We might be asked… read more

Plan Your Life and Then Live It

Plan Your Life

Someone once said that “life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”. In recent weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to think about this at a point in my own life when I need to make some pretty big decisions about where I work, where I live, what I put my energy into. Needless to say, as an environmentalist and aspiring sustainabilitarian, I’m doing some deep thinking about the implications of the choices I make. The trick, however, is to develop a strategy that responds to an appropriate level of planning and motivates the right action at the right time…. read more