Australia State of the Environment Report 2001 (Theme Report)
Lead Author: Jane Lennon, Jane Lennon and Associates Pty Ltd, Authors
Published by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 643 06752 3
State of community awareness and action (continued)
The ABS surveys canvassed the degree of involvement of respondents in environmental actions. Table 33 shows the number of people who registered an environmental concern in 1998 who were also members of an environmental group.
|Environmental group||Number of respondents who were members of the group||% of respondents who indicated an environmental concern|
|Marine conservation group||45 500||9.7|
|Landcare or catchment management group||164 600||35.1|
Source: ABS (1998).
The degree to which people were willing to commit their resources - either money or time - to support environmental protection and visit national parks is shown in the Tables 34 and 35.
|Donated time or money to environmental protection?||1998||1992|
Source: ABS (1998).
|Visited a World Heritage property or national park in last 12 months?||1998||1992|
Source: ABS (1998).
An indicator of community awareness and activity may be represented by changes to the membership of community organisations with an interest in heritage such as the National Trusts and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Over the period 1995-2000, National Trust membership has remained almost static. Individual members in 1995 totaled about 80 000, while in 2000 the number had dropped slightly to about 78 000.
Membership figures for the Australian Conservation Foundation in the period 1997-2000 show a supporter base increase of over 50% to approximately 60 000.
These figures could be interpreted as showing that community interest and support for the more traditional component of heritage (the built environment) remained at a near-constant level over the past five years, while support for the 'natural' component of heritage has been on the increase. However, care needs to be taken in interpreting too much from these figures, as reasons for membership are not known and membership of other heritage conservation organisations (local, State and national) may provide a better indication.
The reporting period saw the emergence of organisations that might be considered to be more radical, such as Save Our Suburbs, along with a host of community organisations and pressure groups aimed at the protection of particular heritage places. A good example of this is the popular movement to protect the natural and cultural values of the Fitzroy River in Western Australia from a proposed dam.
The Australian Heritage Commission's Protecting Local Heritage Places: A guide for communities, which won a Royal Australian Planning Institute's National Planning Excellence Award in 2000, has assisted local groups with identification of places for both nomination to local registers and grant applications. It was developed in response to requests on how to protect local places of heritage significance. (The full text of this document can be viewed at http://www.heritage.gov.au/protecting.html )
Competitions conducted by the Australian Heritage Commission illustrate how many Australians are passionate about all categories of heritage and places, from the iconic to the local, and the need to protect them:
- Places in the Heart, conducted in 1997, resulted in 3000 entries about people's favourite heritage places. The most popular place was Fraser Island.
- Celebrating Australia's Heritage, conducted in 2000, attracted 400 entries. The winners featured an essay about Carnarvon Jetty (WA), songs about wilderness, and videos about Guluga (NSW), Glengallen (Qld) and Gowrie Creek (Qld).
- The Art of Place - the National Indigenous Heritage Art Award and Exhibition - has been held for five out of the last seven years. In 2000 there were 436 entries from Indigenous participants in a range of media, and a new 'Reconciliation' category attracted 69 entries.
Public awareness of Indigenous heritage through art has increased, a fact that is very relevant because nearly all of it is about a different view of place.