2021 ACT Environment Award Winners
The ACT Environment Awards celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of environmentalists and environment groups, and the contributions they have made to the environment in the ACT and beyond.
A large number of nominations were received this year, from a diverse range of environmental initiatives across climate change, biodiversity advocacy, sustainability education, activism and art. At a time when climate change and biodiversity need to be at the centre of decision making at all levels, the award winners epitomise the multitude of different ways in which people can make a difference.
The award winners were John Ive for his work advancing environmentally sustainable agricultural practises, Jessica Fordyce for her work reducing food waste and its bi-product, methane emissions, while ensuring food security for vulnerable community members, and 350 Canberra for their work promoting climate action through their divestment, StopAdani, Artivism and Fridays4Future campaigns.
All the winners and nominees are to be congratulated for their dedication and commitment to protecting our environment, ensuring a safe climate future and contributing to the Canberra community.
ACT Environmentalist of the Year
John has dedicated over 40 years to developing, demonstrating and promoting the importance of environmental enhancement for achieving agricultural production objectives on his family’s 250 ha property, Talaheni. John has increased native vegetation and conservation areas, excluding domestic livestock from more than 30 percent of Talaheni, conserving key ecosystems within the region both on his property and neighbouring areas.
John has also developed and published an innovative technique utilising the vagaries of El Nino-La Nina cycle to establish over 200,000 locally native trees on the ridges of his property, resulting in a remarkable increase in farm productivity.
The latest achievement at Talaheni is the sequestration of more than eleven times as much carbon as total livestock and on-farm energy use emissions. The sequestration is a result of John’s work revegetating the property. These results were recognised as agriculturally ground-breaking and proves the potential for carbon-neutral wool farming, which would have significant benefits in reducing greenhouse gasses.
John is a member of numerous associations including Australian Superfine Wool Growers’ Association and Conservation Agriculture & No-till Farming Association. He is also a member of Soils for Life and Farmers for Climate Action participating in several demonstrations opposing government inaction.
Moira and John Rowland Young Environmentalist of the Year
For the past year, Jess has worked with Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO) to lead a food rescue/donation project in the council regions surrounding the ACT. The project aims to prevent discarded food from supermarkets ending up in landfill, which results in wastage and the production of greenhouse gases. She instead helps to build successful ongoing relationships between supermarkets and charities to ensure this food is making it into the hands of those who need it most.
At age 23, Jess has taken on the project head on and thrown herself into the world of food waste prevention. She is now exploring the food waste space in the ACT, making connections with local supermarkets and organisations, and scoping out potential for a similar project here to the one she carried out in regional NSW.
Jess is also a leader in the grassroots community group Trash Gather – a youth-led community organisation that promotes education around litter and waste whilst hosting monthly clean ups in different locations around Canberra. In her spare time, she writes the newsletter, creates innovative social media content and supports other team members. In addition, Jess is a member of the Zero Waste Festival organising committee and has been responsible for organising the community representation at the festival, through many stalls and other activities.
Conservation Council Member Group of the Year
350 has been active in Canberra since 2014, working to promote climate action through their divestment, StopAdani, Artivism and Fridays4Future campaigns. The group consists entirely of volunteers who have met weekly since 2014, with their main focus to slow the extraction and burning of fossil fuels until the fossil fuel industry is replaced with renewables and other energy industries.
The organisation has represented Canberra in the national StopAdani effort, which focused strongly on persuading banks, insurance agencies, and the contractors and suppliers that are potentially helping to build the mine and railway to step away from the Adani development. This has resulted in over 100 companies including financial institutions and insurance companies including Commonwealth and Westpac banks, stepping away from Adani.
350 Canberra continues to campaign on this issue, with the “artivism” group spending many voluntary hours making banners and signs to support further action. 350 plays a key role in local rallies, Science Week events, election campaigns and Fridays4Future strikes whilst continuing to support the Conservation Council through the distribution of materials and representation at key environment events around the region.