Program Bites: WCLP Leadership and the Environment

1 May 2017 By Nicola Hodgson

Last week, WCLP 2017 participants gathered at CERES Community Environment Park in Brunswick East. The topic was 'Leadership and the Environment'......the park is a unique non-profit centre offering a café, grocery store, nursery and environmental education centre, making it the perfect location for our topic.

An early start on a wet and windy day as the Weedy Sea Dragons arrive to set up.

Presenting our White Paper, we were conscious to not allow the enormous challenge of climate change to become overwhelming. We wanted to focus on the adaptive leadership challenges from an individual, community and policy context. We seemed to have everyone’s attention! However never assume everyone is on the same page….

What do the Climatarian Challenge, the regional township of Yackandandah and the Hazelwood mine in Gippsland have in common? Well, the group argued that these were all examples where individuals, groups, NGOs and Governments have demonstrating courage, innovation and clear messaging to deliver positive environmental outcomes!

We learned later from guest Amanda McKenzie, that capturing the triple bottom line of environment, economics and social context, is key to affecting change.

Our first guest: Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, touched on climate change but also provided insights into his leadership journey, what is working well and not well in 'our great city’. It felt as if the group could have questioned him for days.

CERES tour guides Mel and Sieta escorted us around the property to learn about the work they do and their goals for environmental sustainability, local food production and community engagement.

Guests Daniel Zavattiero, Kane Thornton and Dr Phil Gurney debated their perspectives of what is best for the future…nuclear, clean coal or renewable. Turns out they believe they all have a role, perhaps in differing measures.

Wendy Farmer from 'Voices of the Valley', provided her story of an individual forming leadership in crisis, to help a community literally 'rise from the ashes’. Wendy initially didn’t see herself as a leader, however today she is a dedicated and influential campaigner.

It was a jam-packed day with amazing speakers who reinforced that leadership can be taken from an individual, community and its international context, to drive change in what could otherwise be seen as an impossible mission.


The Weedy Sea Dragons Adam Gullo, Genevieve O’Sullivan, Heidi Reid, Jennifer Hendry, Llewellyn Prain, Nicola Hodgson Oliver Morfeld, Will Fooks,

by Nicola Hodgson, Crown Melbourne Limited