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Don Burke Joins New Environment Movement

24, July 2005

Don Burke, Aussie icon and a pioneer Australian environmentalist, today became Chair of new environment group the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF).  At the same time he called for a new approach to environmental issues.

“The established environment groups are too preoccupied with headlines and publicity stunts rather than the hard work of finding enduring solutions.  They are poor at following through, and often seem unreasonably prejudiced against people and industry. 

“The AEF wants to promote honest debate and discussion and a more evidence-based approach.   

Don nominated national park management as a good example.

“Once a National Park has been declared, the old conservation movement too often decamped without asking whether the resources or the will were there to properly maintain these areas.  The result is National Parks full of feral weeds and prone to destructive wild fires. 

“Then there are global issues.  What is the role for Australia in feeding, clothing and providing energy to the rapidly growing Asian economies?  How do we cope with legitimate human aspirations in a world of limited resources?

“The AEF is about innovative solutions for real world problems.  We are a fresh group taking a fresh approach recognizing that the old conservation paradigms don’t always suit.

“We are really talking about the beginnings a whole new environment movement,” said Don.   

Don Burke is a founding member of: Year of the Tree, Greening Australia, Decade of the Tree & Sustainable Development Australia.  Don was President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture (NSW) during which time he initiated the first ever environmental weed legislation in NSW. 

Don has been a board member of Landcare Australia.   With Simon Crean, Don initiated the National Registration Authority for Agricultural & Veterinary Chemicals (now called the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority).

Don received the Variety Club’s Award for TV performer of the year for 1990 and the Banksia Award for media contribution to the environment in 1996.  Don is Patron of Retina Australia (NSW) and Foundation Patron of the Australian Children’s Literary Board. He has been an annual Australia Day Ambassador since 1990.

For more information contact AEF Board Member Jennifer Marohasy on mobile 041 887 32 22 or visit the AEF website at www.aefweb.info.

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