Need to Know

Revegetation project along Eyre Creek at Waterval

Revegetation project along Eyre Creek at Watervale

How much do we need to know about nature to live sustainably? And who needs to know?
Dr Sheryn Pitman emphasises the fundamental need for the community to know enough and to share their knowledge in order to make the right decisions about how our habitat and ultimately our planet is managed. She posed these questions in an address to the Australian Plants Society of South Australia at their recent biennial regional gathering in Clare.
Sheryn’s research on how we learn about environmental systems has shown some important findings, including the fact that parents don’t learn from children, but from their own learning activities. Interestingly, the more people know, the more they want to know. Those who are most environmentally aware tend to have spent their childhood roaming outside and to come from a small town or village where there are strong social connections with their community.
Sheryn concluded that ecological literacy is becoming a critical skill for all spheres of management and leadership, for the survival of humanity. She recommends using every opportunity for engagement, learning and involvement of as many levels of society as possible, to increase ecological literacy across the whole Australian community.
It is not just about community activities like local revegetation projects, but understanding of bigger issues and use of voter power to influence critical decisions about sustainable management of Australia’s natural resources and landscapes. Everyone in the community needs to know enough about ecological issues to understand the consequences of key political and management decisions which will affect the future survival of our planet.

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About redgumgirl

Dr Anne Jensen is an environmental consultant with a passionate interest in sustainable management of our natural resources, particularly the River Murray and wetland environments. She is particularly interested in using photographs and stories to explain issues around water and protecting natural ecosystems in terms that are understood by the wider community, so that we can manage our environment sustainably for our common future.
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