The 2014 Environmentalist of the Year was awarded posthumously to Joseph (Joe) Roe, a Goolarabooloo man from Broome, for his lifelong work to protect the environment and cultural sites of the Kimberley.
In presenting the award and $4000 prize money to Joe’s wife Margaret Cox and daughters Rekeesha and Kerstin Roe, Bob Brown said,
“Remove 'law boss' Joe Roe of the Goolarabooloo people from history, and the massive gas factory planned by Woodside Petroleum for north of Broome would by now be wrecking the Kimberley coastline, including the world's largest humpback whale nursery, the world's largest dinosaur footprint and traditional burial and ceremonial sites.”
“I was struck by this man's integrity and defiance of the odds to save the country he loved. Roe defied the money, arrests, threats and compulsory acquisition of his people's land for a higher goal: the integrity of Aboriginal culture and the Kimberley's remarkably pristine environment. He died within months of gaining victory for his country but his fighting spirit remains to inspire everyone else faced with the destruction of country or neighbourhood.”
Joseph (Joe) Roe was born in Broome on 24th April 1966, the youngest of 9 siblings. He spent his childhood under the guidance of his grandfather, the late Paddy Roe at Jilburnon and Millibinyarri. Paddy taught Joseph about the importance of his law & culture, respect and protection of country.
As a teenager, Joseph attended Nulungu College in Broome, but realising school wasn’t for him, returned to live with his grandparents in the bush.
In 1983 Joseph met Margaret and they had two daughters, Rekeesha and Kerstin. They moved to Millibinyarri so their children would grow up and live their cultural way of life in the bush.
During this time, Joseph established the CDEP program and his whole family took part in improving their community. Although very busy, Joseph would still find time to drive out to country to ensure no damage was being done to the environment and cultural sites. He fought for many years to try and stop motor bikes and vehicles driving over the sand dunes, and installed bollards to prevent traffic destroying burial sites and the environment from Broome to Bindiangoon.
In 1988, his grandfather Paddy Roe, established the Lurujarri Walking Trail, to look after the country between Minyirr and Bindiangoon. Since then, Joseph and his family have welcomed thousands of visitors, Australian and international, to walk, camp, fish and share traditional knowledge and stories along the way.
In the early 90’s, Joseph was involved with the Rubibi Native Title Claim for Broome and continued to work tirelessly to protect country.
In 2013 the community campaign led by Joseph and the Goolarabooloo people against the giant gas hub at Walmadan (James Price Point) finally prevailed, with the proponent, Woodside, withdrawing their plans.
Joseph died in 2014, aged 47 and is survived by his wife Margaret Cox and daughters Rekeesha Roe and Kerstin Roe.
The 2014 Young Environmentalist of the Year, and $2000 prize money, was awarded to Peter Hammarstedt, captain of the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker.
“Peter Hammarstedt's maturity and courage under extreme duress from the Japanese whale-killers belie his age of 30. The cool determination of this protégé of Sea Shepherd's Captain Paul Watson in placing his ship Bob Barker between an aggressive Japanese whaling factory ship and a South Korean tanker in Antarctic waters two summers ago is legendary in the annals of global wildlife protection. That heroic manoeuvre was crucial to saving the lives of hundreds of whales but was only part of Peter's years of commitment to protecting Earth's oceanic commons”, Bob Brown said.
Born in Sweden, Peter, 30, joined the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as soon as he was old enough to submit an application. He works as the Director of Ship Operations for Sea Shepherd Global and is a Director on the Board of Sea Shepherd Global and Sea Shepherd Australia Limited. Peter has a background in Media and Communications from Stockholm University.
In his eleven years with Sea Shepherd, Peter has sailed the seven seas under the leadership of Captain Paul Watson, from the foreboding Labrador Coast to the treacherous Antarctic Continent, using direct action to save as many lives as possible from illegal whaling, sealing and destructive fishing practices.
Peter believes that in their capacity to suffer, animals are our equals, and that when a government fails in its responsibility to uphold the law, then it is the responsibility of compassionate people to fill the enforcement vacuum.
Peter has crewed on nine consecutive Antarctic Whale Defence Campaigns and for the past three years, Peter has been Master of the The Bob Barker.
On the 2012/13 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, The Bob Barker, under Peter's command, was rammed on several occasions by the factory whaling ship Nisshin Maru. Sea Shepherd successfully prevented the whaler from refueling and the campaign succeeded in preventing the slaughter of 932 whales.
The 2014 Deni Greene Award was awarded to Alan Pears, of Brighton, Victoria. This award, including $2000 prize money, is presented in honour of the late Deni Greene and recognizes an outstanding contribution by an environmentalist in their professional field of work.
“In addition to his outstanding ongoing professional and practical commitment to a more sustainable relationship between our human herd and this one life-giving planet, Alan was a great friend and fellow intellectual of Deni Greene's. I know that she would be delighted that Alan is the 2014 recipient of the award honouring her own life's work”, Bob Brown said.
For more than 35 years, Alan Pears, 63, has been an inexhaustible champion of energy efficiency in Australia.
Originally a school teacher in the 1970s, Alan made the most of an opportunity to advance the cause of energy efficiency when he was appointed the head of the Melbourne Energy Efficiency Centre, run in the early 1980s by the Gas and Fuel Corporation. When the Victorian Government took over the Centre, Alan moved into working for the government on energy efficiency policy and programs. Since then, Alan has advised governments and the private sector throughout Australia, using his unique combination of detailed technical knowledge and deep research coupled with a highly effective ability to explain technical matters clearly and simply. Alan's enthusiasm for energy efficiency is contagious and he has inspired generations of university students, many of whom have also become energy efficiency champions.
His field of work, energy efficiency, was close to Deni Greene’s heart, as was his way of advancing the cause: through clear communication, provision of practical information, and the development of public policy based on solid foundations.
Whether through appliance energy labelling, building regulation or his many articles and publications, his work has touched people’s lives, empowering them to make better informed decisions that have direct benefits for the individual as well as raise the standard of energy efficiency overall.
Alan has been recognised over the years with numerous awards including a Centenary Medal in 2003 and a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009.