CONSERVATION: Whitsundays Community Garden's Rosie O'Brien, Whitsundays Action Climate Collective's Jessa Lloyd, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan and Kerry McCourt.
CONSERVATION: Whitsundays Community Garden's Rosie O'Brien, Whitsundays Action Climate Collective's Jessa Lloyd, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan and Kerry McCourt. Georgia Simpson

Conservation on the menu

A FIERCE desire to conserve the environment is the driving force behind a recent Women in Conservation lunch.

Love Whitsunday Climate Collective spokeswoman Jessa Lloyd said she decided to host the event because she wanted to forge a pathway for women in the community to talk about ideas and issues that arise in their different pursuits.

"Our women in conservation gathering came out of conversations I'd been having about the growing disillusionment of many toward politicians with no climate action plan. It was time to have some deeper conversations and see where we could connect further and activate change,” Miss Lloyd said.

All the women who attended the event are active in conservation, with the majority being volunteers.

Whitsunday Community Garden treasurer Rosie O'Brien said she was excited to connect with like-minded women, and to gain new ideas and support for the community garden.

Kerry McCourt said it was her concern for the environment that led her to accept an invitation to the lunch.

Miss Lloyd said she was pleased Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan was able to attend the luncheon, giving people the chance to speak to her in an intimate setting.

"It was a great opportunity for Belinda to hear from us and gain a deeper understanding of our community and some of the amazing work being done by volunteers in areas centred around conservation and community,” Miss Lloyd said.

CONNECT: Belinda Hassan joined Whitsundays women for a conservation lunch, listening to their concerns about the environment.
CONNECT: Belinda Hassan joined Whitsundays women for a conservation lunch, listening to their concerns about the environment. Georgia Simpson

Ms Hassan said she had always been a Labor voter, having grown up in a working-class family.

"I know what it's like to work two jobs, and to not be able to put food on the table.”

Ms Hassan said she didn't have the financial backing to afford billboards or expensive advertising campaigns, but she did have the ability to attend events and to listen to voices in the community. She acknowledged that federal Member for Dawson George Christensen had a lot of community support, but she believed there were still plenty of people in her corner.

"George Christensen doesn't represent my views, beliefs or ethics,” she said.

Miss Lloyd said the women in attendance were "the backbone of the community”, and their shared love of the environment was ultimately what had sparked the event.

"Volunteer groups like Fauna Rescue, our Community Gardens, Reef Action Whitsundays and Boomerang Bags all give so much to the Whitsunday community and coming together to share our experiences has been really positive.”

The Whitsunday Regional Council adopted a climate change policy in 2016, and in September, opened its Climate Change Innovation Hub.

Mayor Andrew Willcox said the Climate Change Innovation Hub was aimed at developing collaborative, real-world innovative solutions to assist the Whitsunday region in facing climate change challenges.

"Our region, particularly our 514 kilometres of coastline, is extremely susceptible to the impacts of climate change such as sea level rises, storm surge and severe weather patterns,” Cr Willcox said.

"Council understands that many other communities around Australia and the world have similar challenges to the ones our region faces. We will share the learnings and solutions developed for our region and partner with other interested communities and organisations across the world.”


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