This is advertiser content for Landcare Australia.
As we mark a significant milestone in the Landcare legacy, it's evident that in 2019 and going forward, the concept of Landcare is more important than ever before.
With the pressures on the Australian natural environment progressing and intensifying at an alarming rate, the situation can often appear hopeless. We all want to make a difference, we want to solve the problems penetrating this unique, great land that is home for us all.
But the issues can appear too vast and overwhelming for any single agency, and make us feel like there is little we can do about it.
Which is why we need Landcare now more than ever.
Thirty years ago, on July 20 1989, the late former Prime Minister Bob Hawke delivered his speech to launch the national formation of the Landcare movement, an unprecedented union between farmers, conservationists and community to help protect the Australian landscape for future generations.
Three decades later, Landcare has evolved into a national movement of around 6,000 groups and hundreds of thousands of volunteers, all playing a central role in sustainable agricultural practices and conservation activities, while also strengthening communities and social capital.
And key to this enduring success has been people power. Landcare offers every Australian the chance to make a real difference. It's seeing that you individually, at any age, can make a real difference, rather than sitting back and wondering when someone is going to do something about it.
Landcare's greatest assets are its dedicated, passionate, resilient volunteers, rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. Their work captures and motivates others to be a part of that process.
Thirty years ago, Landcare was born from the indomitable Australian can-do spirit and a passion for combining sustainable agriculture and conservation.
And today, it has developed and evolved into a sweeping, inclusive movement which continues to bring communities closer together.
My personal passion for improving management of our natural assets emerges from an optimistic approach. I believe we can always turn things around, encourage and implement the required change no matter how devastating the environmental challenge.
Over the last thirty years, we have recognised and responded to the causes of land degradation and many of our natural areas are in better condition now than they were three decades ago.
Understanding of the impacts and the protective measures, as well as the communities' overall desire to prevent ongoing degradation, has resulted in a landscape that has seen significant improvement. If you go for a drive now in many parts of the country, you'll see big improvements on half a century ago.
However, there is so much more to do. Obviously, in many areas, it's not as good as it should be.
Today, contemporary Australia has largely aggregated towards urban centres and that connection with the bush has undoubtedly diminished. With the previous generation, we all had very strong ties to family and friends living outside of the city.
You frequently had the opportunity to experience that different view of the world. Over time, there has been a big change as a result of migration towards those urban areas.
That's why we need Landcare more than ever. We need it to maintain, reinforce and strengthen that connection with the country. And we need it to bring communities together.
That's why now you see a massive increase in Bushcare and 'Friends Of...' groups that are working on natural assets, bushlands and wetland areas, either in close proximity to those urban areas or hundreds of kilometres away.
What formed a central message in Bob Hawke's State of the Environment speech in 1989 was safeguarding and preserving the Australian landscape for future generations. An ecologically sustainable future for those to come.
Young people are more connected than ever with environmental issues.
They recognise the severity of global environmental issues like climate change and biodiversity loss. And it's not just that younger people are aware of this but they also possess a better understanding of the likely impacts.
Landcare offers young people a resounding voice as conservation leaders for today, not just for the future.
And ultimately, my vision for Landcare heading into the next thirty years is that it continues to grow and becomes the go-to movement for anybody who is interested in working towards improved protection, restoration and management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation.
Landcare represents a diverse community coming together with one common goal - local people working on local issues. It's entirely voluntary. Nobody is ever saying 'you have to join in' but when you do, everyone is welcome. It's not a closed club.
Landcare has been around for 30 years but we're only just getting started. We've got a lot more to do, simple as that.
This is advertiser content for Landcare Australia.
The story Landcare CEO, Shane Norrish on why we need the movement now more than ever first appeared on The Land.