2015 Environmentalist of the Year

Jill Redwood

Jill Redwood is a long-time environmental campaigner and the coordinator of Environment East Gippsland, the longest running community group working solely for the protection of Victoria's last and largest area of ancient forest and surrounding natural environment. For over three decades, Jill has been a campaign stalwart for the protection of East Gippsland forests and Australia’s native forests. Jill is on the committee of the Australian Forests and Climate Alliance and has been an integral campaigner against native forest biomass burning in Australia.

Jill has lived on her self-built self-sufficient property in Goongerah, East Gippsland for 30 years. During the early 1980s Jill became aware of logging activities around her new home in Buldah, East Gippsland. After moving to Goongerah in the late 1980s Jill became involved with Concerned Residents of East Gippsland. In 2010, renamed Environment East Gippsland (EEG), the group took legal action to stop government-owned VicForests from logging the old growth forests of Brown Mountain Creek. The successful case was a landmark decision for public interest litigation.

Jill has devoted her life to environmental activism. She is now mainly self-employed as a freelance writer and cartoonist, with a small honorarium from EEG.  She has also built an eco-tourism cottage on her property that brings in a small income.

Jill is an inspiration and mentor for women activists. According to one: “Jill’s fierce independence and her commitment to self-reliance and the protection of her forest environment are extraordinary. Her profile raises issues about women activists who live and work in often very conservative rural areas, and the impact their leadership can have on their roles and identities within their communities.”[1]

Over her years as a campaigner Jill has endured many challenges including death threats, abusive phone calls and a horse being shot.

In addition to engaging in the usual range of campaign actions employed in environmental activism, under Jill’s leadership EEG were early and successful adopters of legal actions to protect native species habitat and hold the Victorian government and VicForests to account[2].

Some of EEG’s successful cases include:

  • 2015 (18 July) The Victorian Government agreed to set aside 2,000 hectares of forest in East Gippsland to help protect three threatened species of owl; the powerful, the sooty and the masked owl. Agreement was reached between EEG and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and VicForests before the case was scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court.
  • 2013 Out of court settlement with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries to protect the habitat of the Glossy Black Cockatoo.
  • 2012 EEG took VicForests to the Supreme Court over their logging of a protected rainforest buffer at Cobb Hill on the Errinundra Plateau.
  • 2010 Landmark case for public interest litigation in the Supreme Court stopped logging the old growth forests of Brown Mountain.
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Bob presenting Jill Redwood with the Environmentalist of the Year award. Photo: David Tatnall
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2015 Young Environmentalist of the Year

Amelia Telford

Amelia Telford, a 21 year old Bundjalung woman from the NSW North Coast, is the National Director of the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, currently living in Melbourne.

Amelia’s involvement in the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) began with her school environment committee, sparking a long-lasting commitment to the climate movement.

In 2013 Amelia moved to Melbourne and started working for AYCC, initially as Indigenous and Diversity Coordinator.

Recognising a lack of opportunities for Indigenous youth in the climate movement, Amelia helped to develop Seed, Australia’s first Indigenous Youth Climate Network.  Seed supports young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to become climate action leaders.

Since 2012, Amelia has travelled throughout Australia organizing and presenting at events and conferences, training and mentoring more than 100 young people to run sustainability projects in their communities.

Through the AYCC’s Indigenous Youth Engagement Program, Amelia is reaching out to Indigenous youth from around the country, encouraging them to take action on climate change and providing them with skills and the opportunity to stand up for a safe, climate future.

An inspirational example of people power, and a voice for reconciliation and unity, Amelia’s deep compassion and positivity rubs off on all those around her. Dedicated to preserving her cultural heritage, promoting environmental sustainability and contributing to the wellbeing of her community, Amelia’s work is sharing her people’s knowledge of caring for country, which she hopes will preserve the land for future generations.’

Australian of the Year Honour Roll

Amelia was a 2013 Finalist for Prime Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year, 2014 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year and a State Finalist for 2015 Young Australian of the Year Award.

 

This award is presented with the proud support of

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Amelia Teford accepting the award for Young Envirnomentalist of the Year. Photo: David Tatnall
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2015 Community Environment Prize

Maules Creek and Gomeroi Communities

Maules Creek Community

For more than five years, the Maules Creek community, near Narrabri in northern NSW, has been confronted by the environmentally destructive prospect of the clearing of thousands of hectares of its iconic local Leard State Forest by the Whitehaven Coal company's aim, presided over by former National Party leader Mark Vaile OA, to gouge out a giant open-cut coal mine.

Thousands of locals and supporters, including farmers, church leaders, army veterans, athletes, entertainers, investors and environmentalists have been to the protest and more than 300 arrested trying to peacefully block the destruction of the forest and its rare wildlife.

The destruction, its environmental corruption and the failure of state and federal environmental responsibility, continues at Maules Creek.

Gomeroi Community

The Gomeroi people are the Traditional Owners of the region which includes the Lead State Forest.  Whitehaven’s open-cut mining is inevitably leading to the desecration of Gomeroi cultural sites and the Lawlers Well, surrounded by artefacts, in the forest is the next to be destroyed.

But not if Gomeroi people who have been opposing the coal mine have their way.  Theirs is a spirited spiritual stand for a piece of living country facing needless destruction.

The Maules Creek and Gomeroi communities are an inspiration to the nation.

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Bob presenting the Gomeroi people with their Community Environment Prize by Skype. Photo: David Tatnall

 

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Maules Creek farmer Cliff Wallace and activist Jonathan Moylan accepting the Community Environment Prize. Photo: David Tatnall
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2015 Deni Greene Award

Dominique Hes

Dr Dominique Hes is a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture at the University of Melbourne, and was previously Researcher and Manager of the Sustainable Building Program at RMIT University.

Dominique is a highly regarded educator with a deep background in the application of sustainability principles to the built environment and a passion for demonstrating that human activities need to be seen as part of and connected with nature.

Both professionally and in her volunteer activities, Dominique’s advocacy for a holistic view of sustainability and its extension to the concept of ‘regenerative’ development aims to move beyond reductionist and pessimistic positions to creative, innovative, generous action to achieve sustainable outcomes. At the same time, her work is imbued with a practicality that means she is taken seriously and seen as inspirational.

The book Dominique recently co-wrote, Designing for Hope: Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability questions the current approach to development and proposes a different worldview that is more holistic and ecological.

In 2015, Dominique received both the faculty (architecture) and university (Melbourne Uni) awards for teaching. 

Dominique is working on a number of projects that will deliver future benefits including: books on Engineering/Business/Farming/Education and Housing for Hope, running a Victorian collaborative that brings together those interested in regenerative approaches to sustainability and working with Passive House Australia, One Planet Living, The Living Futures Institute and Biomimicry Australia.

Over her career, her enduring commitment has seen her inspire students, skill up professionals and develop community awareness and empowerment. Her hard work and optimism, grounded in reality, present a powerful model for others, and mean she continues to provide leadership in effective and practical sustainability.

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As Dominique was unable to attend the awards, the Deni Greene Award was accepted by Dominique's husband Tim Simpkin. Photo: David Tatnall
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