We are an independent, not-for-profit, community organisation actively involved in a wide range of projects aimed at maintaining the natural beauty and character of our Shire, surrounding waterways and parks. Our Centre has been working with the community since 1991 and has achieved some very significant gains for the environment in that time.
For a small organisation we do a lot, but our Centre is run by volunteers, and none of our campaigns or advocacy would be possible without people stepping in to volunteer their time for the benefit of the environment.
If others need support or advice we do what we can to assist. Our ability to address issues of environmental concern is dependent on our capacity, the availability of volunteers who can help, and organisational priorities.
Overall, we aim to promote sustainability, support environmental education, and we welcome community involvement to help us address environmental issues that affect the Shire and its bioregions.
We also run a range of activities aimed at increasing awareness of environmental issues, protecting our environment, and just having fun. These include film nights, public meetings with guest speakers, and general catch up drinks.
We were proud, and honoured on our 30 year anniversary in 2021 to have been named Group of the Year in the Nature Conservation Council’s NSW Environment Awards, an award that recognises and celebrates the outstanding commitment and success of campaigners, grassroots environmentalists and conservation groups across the state.
One current focus is koala and wildlife corridors around the Shire: the aim is to stop so many koalas being killed on our roads. Another campaign seeks to protect our water supply from the coal mining taking place directly underneath Woronora Reservoir: 10,700 people signed our petition calling for the mining to be stopped. More recently the horrible coal sludge pollution running through the Royal National Park as a result of the same mining operation has been a central point of concern for our members. Through the SO Shire group we also advocate to halt the increasing amount of pollution from plastic and microplastics that is washing up around our beaches and waterways.
We support a number of other fantastic environmental initiatives, in addition to these campaigns.
If you are interested in living more sustainably at home, or at work, our Sunny Shire, SO Shire, and Plastic Free Sutherland Shire affiliated groups liaise with a number of local organisations, schools and businesses, and can offer advice about solar energy, batteries, and sustainable practices.
Sunny Shire has been supporting solar uptake in the Shire for several years, holding public information nights and answering questions from the public. Their advice has helped 170 Sutherland Shire households install 1,200 kW of solar, delivering over $2.5 million worth of investment in local renewable energy.
SO Shire runs educational programs and conducts beach clean-ups, often in conjunction with scientific monitoring agencies, documenting the quantity and types of plastic that pollute our beaches and waterways.
Our Shire Climate Action Network group (ShireCAN) is a network of residents who are focused on an effective transition to low emissions and other avenues to address climate change.
The Speaking 4 the Planet, and Nature and Learning groups offer innovative, school based environmental education programs, as well as an environmental writing competition. We also sponsor an environmental thesis Award through the University of New South Wales.
There is the annual Sustainable Business Award we sponsor through the Sutherland Shire Local Business Awards. Other initiatives include our campaign for World Heritage listing for the Royal National Park, and sustainable transport networks in the Shire.
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre supports, and is also an affiliate member of the Better Planning Network, the Nature Conservation Council, the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network (AFTINET), and Climate Action Network Australia (CANA).
We are committed to “thinking globally and acting locally”, and are supportive of all others in the community – business, council, government, and residents – who are acting positively towards the environment, and promoting a sustainable future.
Last but not least, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this Land, the Dharawal and Gandangara peoples, who have cared and continue to care for country. We recognise that Aboriginal Sovereignty has never been ceded.
It is our goal to build restorative relations between peoples, and we pay our respect to their elders – past, present, and emerging.