On World Population Day, which seeks to focus our attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, I contemplate on the decade ahead with cautious optimism.
This March, just as the novel Coronavirus was slowly shutting most of us into our homes, our world population figures were published. They reflected a growing 7.8 Billion. Just today, the human race added another quarter-million people to our planet. This happens every day, rain or shine. When I’m reminded of these figures my thoughts automatically turn to the stresses we are putting on our limited natural resources.
“It’s only one plastic bottle “- said 5 billion people..
For years I felt guilty about every one of my Zara purchases (Fashion Industry’s greenhouse gas emissions being more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping trips combined), or when throwing food in the bin in a global food shortage (food in landfill also emits carbon dioxide and methane – a gas 25 times more potent than CO2). It’s been over three decades since we first heard of global warming. Meanwhile, the 20 hottest years on record have all occurred in the last quarter century. Natural disasters, climate refugees and biodiversity extinction are just a few by-products of our climate crisis, all in a time when we have the knowledge and technology to be operating otherwise, and to our economic / social benefits (For example, according to the ACC, 50% Renewable Electricity scenario in 2030 will lead to over 28,000 new jobs in Australia, nearly 50% more employment than the “business as usual” scenario.)
For years I believed there was nothing I could personally do to shift our systems, until I realised that paying attention and educating myself on the facts was the best thing to do. Stopping to read a Greenpeace petition, or trying a new shampoo bar (product not bottled!), watching ABC’s War On Waste then telling a friend, or picking up a piece of trash at the beach. Each of these small initiatives had a role to play in leading me to a greater purpose for change, and perhaps into my awesome new role here at WCG (there’s that economic benefit!)
In our recent lockdowns, most of us had time to stop and reflect. I personally spent a lot of it discovering positive stories of climate action around the world (Redcycle at Coles, meat-free Mondays, international ocean clean-ups, plant-based plastics!) The truth is, there is room for us all to live sustainably on this planet, so long as we stay educated and keep pushing for change.
The modern pandemic on many levels has underlined how broken “normal” really was, and that we should not go back to the way things were. Instead, our aim as citizens should be to build more resilient societies (how can the richest countries on earth be exposed to mask shortages?!) Here’s a quote from a great virus thriller: “In dangerous times, there is no sin greater than inaction.” ― Dan Brown, Inferno.
In 2016, the UN outlined The sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030. As we enter a pivotal decade for change, I find myself feeling empowered by my colleagues.
One of WCG’s strengths has always been the positive influence our staff practice inside and outside of the workplace. From creating and supporting initiatives like YIMBY Qld and Beddown, and WCG’s own internal sustainability program Orange is the New Green, to challenging our Industry with memorable keynotes, sponsoring important events and engaging in thought- provoking interactions.
I look forward to collaborating with you all in leading our industry into “the sustainable decade”.
“We are so excited to welcome Boyana to our team,” says WCG Managing Director Michael Wolter.
“She will make a positive contribution in helping our people at Wolter Consulting Group shape their thinking on this vital issue. Our company takes pride in leadership and it’s role as a good corporate citizen. With Boyana’s dedication and passion we will collaborate with all our stakeholders to do the right thing for the planet ensuring our design and services are compatible with the existential limitations of our natural resources.”
As an industry, we CAN deliver a significant positive impact on the environment. And bringing Boyana on board is a natural progression for our talented team in Sustainability and Environment department.
“We already have the technology, the products and the biodiversity knowledge [to deliver better outcomes] … and we should take serious steps toward change now,” says David Uhlmann, WCG Director of Environment and Sustainability who will work closely with Boyana on delivering the next level sustainable outcomes for our clients.
At WCG, we are very supportive about new government initiatives such as the recently announced draft policy to encourage well-designed, green and energy-efficient residential buildings. Our Sustainability, Circular Economy and Environment Team has considerable project experience in these areas. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this and future opportunities.
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