For those who attended this week’s IPWEA Sustainability Conference in Sydney, the closing panel session by four millennial final year university students was as inspiring as it was challenging.
The students were not afraid to speak their truths; they saw Australia’s general complacency about resilience and sustainability as being out of touch with the harsh reality of many polluted countries around the world.
Our “clear blue skies and green grass in our backyard” creates a beautiful but privileged environment. The uplifting aspect from each of the speakers was that rather than being negative about our future, they each had come to the conclusion that working from within the system was the best way to make positive sustainable changes for our future generations.
Other conference sessions were equally as engaging. The analysis of the China National Sword Policy on waste was comprehensively explained by Mike Ritchie (MRA Consulting), who brought much needed and highly valued answers to this crisis. Round-the-world resilience insights was comprehensively delivered by John Mauro from Auckland Council. Then, from the world to Sydney, delegates were enthralled by the innovation and technological progress being applied to Sydney’s showcase projects.
Parkes Shire Council deserves a special mention for its outstanding sustainable integrated water infrastructure renewal project – a project that council has spent decades saving for, and is now a centrepiece for their region.
Downer’s new Reconomy process is without doubt setting a new standard in recycling, and the Department of Defence through Ian Cumming gave a reality check into the real infrastructure future needs that Australia may require.
The passion, commitment and leadership about integrated sustainability and community resilience from the conference delegates was contagious and effervescent. We even had our first baby attending the conference!