Giant Light Steps toward collective responsibility for environmental well-being
An exciting initiative has been taken by an alliance of many sectors of our community to form an environmental stewardship alliance, termed Giant Light Steps. Giant Light Steps is bringing together key industry groups, government and community, to share responsibility for the future well-being of the Margaret River region’s environment. The Foundation Members of the alliance are Nature Conservation Margaret River Region, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Margaret River Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Transition Margaret River, South West Catchments Council.
The name Giant Light Steps refers to each of our key economic and community sectors addressing their responsibilities for environmental stewardship while working together to tackle collective responsibilities for landscape-wide challenges. There is recognition throughout our community and by our local government, businesses and major industries like tourism that the region’s social and economic future will be determined by our ability to manage our environmental challenges. We know that there is no other ‘environment life-guard on duty’.
The Giant Light Steps alliance creates a round-table where the member groups are encouraged and supported to individually and collectively make demonstrably effective contributions towards regional conservation. Giant Light Steps is a vehicle to help drive important conservation efforts by galvanising the support, influence and energy of the broad community. It is a means of achieving effective conservation in our region by:
- Helping to bring the community together;
- Harnessing skills, energy and resources that would not otherwise be available;
- Providing a louder ‘voice’ for conservation in the MR region, both within the region and to other influential parties outside the region;
- Profoundly elevating knowledge and awareness of conservation and environment as one of the key issues for the social and economic wellbeing of the region;
- Providing channels through which like-minded people can each play a part;
- Co-ordinating and prioritising efforts to maximize success.
Giant Light Steps Update Feb 2020
Through Building Better Regions funding Nature Conservation is currently assisting the Giant Light Steps founding members to workshop their commitments and targets with the view to preparing action plans for each sector by 30 June 2020.
A workshop to increase leadership and capability was undertaken on the 29 November 2019. Community group Transition Margaret River worked with Giant Light Steps -Nature Conservation to host. It was called Project Snapshot.
The purpose was for community, industry sector and environmental groups, associations and local government to showcase their current and future environmental and sustainability projects and identify opportunities in regional conservation through informing, inspiring and where appropriate, encouraging collaboration and adoption of these projects by Transition Margaret River, Giant Light Steps sector members and other community, industry sector and environmental groups and associations.
This provided information for the sector action plans that will be developed.
Wadandi Cultural Custodian, Zac Webb provided the ‘Welcome to Country’.
Presentations were made by:
- Giant Light Steps: Boyd Wykes, Deputy Chair Nature Conservation & GLS
- Transition Margaret River: Britta Sorensen, Hub member, Transition MR
- The Water Connection: Karen Majer, Project leader, The Water Connection
- Mapping the region: Laura Stocker, Curtin University,
- Augusta Margaret River Clean Community Energy: Lyn Serventy, Chair, AMRCCE
- Augusta Margaret River Shire Council: Environment, Matt Cuthbert, Environment Officer AMRSC
- Climate Action Augusta Margaret River: Julia Meldrum, Climate Action
- Climate Action Augusta Margaret River – Projects: Pam Townshend, Climate Action
- Lower Blackwood LCDC (Land Conservation District Committee): Joanna Wren, Exec. Officer, Lower Blackwood LCDC
- Margaret River Regional Environment Centre – Peta Goodwin, Coordinator, MRREC
- South West Catchments Council – Bill Biggs, Chair, SWCC
- Nature Conservation Stewardship Project: Caroline Hughes, Exec. Officer, NCMRR
- Nature Conservation River Protection: Katie Biggs, Margaret River Protection Officer
- Clean Community Energy: Biowaste, Ian Williams, Augusta Margaret River Clean Community Energy
- Augusta Margaret River Shire – Sustainable Economy: Saul Cresswell, Sustainable Economy Officer
- Make it Local, Margaret River Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Melissa Dath, President MRCCI
- Undalup Association, Zac Webb, Wadandi Cultural Custodian
The audience consisted of over 60 people from Augusta Margaret River Shire Council, Augusta Margaret River Shire, Augusta Margaret River Clean Community Energy, Climate Action AMR, Curtin University, CWN Consultants, Nature Conservation Margaret River Region, Giant Light Steps, Landsmith, Lower Blackwood LCDC, Margaret River Regional Environment Centre, Margaret River Wine Association, Margaret River Chamber of Commerce and Industry, South West Catchments Council, The Water Connection, Transition Margaret River and the Undalup Association Inc.
As a result Giant Light Steps sector members and other community, industry sector and environmental groups and associations were able to identify opportunities to contribute to addressing broader regional environmental issues, that in collaboration with other members of the alliance, will be effective in maintaining the Margaret River region’s environment and ‘green integrity’ and from this be able to set goals relating to each sector’s operations, contribute to wider regional conservation issues and capitalise on opportunities for shared resourcing and collaboration.
GLS Action Planning
Transition Margaret River (TMR)
A follow up workshop planning session for Transition Margaret River using the information from the above workshop was held on the 18th January 2020 to further set goals, identify and pursue opportunities.
This has resulted in a working draft for their Strategic Action Plan which will be further worked on over the coming months.
In-kind contributions from Transition Margaret River, Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and Bill Biggs and Associates were used to inform the content, format and encourage participation by a wide range of organisations.
Margaret River Wine Association (MRWA)
After consistent contact and invitation by GLS, the Margaret River Wine Association requested to join Giant Light Steps in October 2020. Their request was accepted, and they consequentially signed onto the GLS Charter. The MRWA formed a Sustainability Committee on the 4th November 2019 and are now very active participants from the wine sector in the Giant Light Steps Project.
After officially forming the committee on the 4th November 2019, the leadership group commenced identifying opportunities and setting goals relating to its own sector’s operations and how it could contribute to wider regional conservation issues which would form the basis to the Strategic Sector Action Plan.
The first workshop/ planning session achieved identifying Giant Light Steps Strategic Sector Action Plan’s purpose:
- To create and nurture a collaborative community focused on:securing the long-term success and resilience of the wine industry by ensuring a healthy and biodiverse natural environment
- improving sustainability across all areas of the Margaret River wine sector, from viticulture, winemaking and production to sales, marketing and tourism
- fulfilling our custodial responsibilities for our environment as a legacy to the future;
- providing integrity to substantiate the ‘clean green’ reputation underpinning the social and economic well-being of the region.
A meeting with Margaret River Tourism Association is scheduled for 4th February with meetings planned for the Augusta Margaret River Shire and the Margaret River Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the third week of February.
The Giant Light Steps group will meet as a whole week commencing 24th February 2020.