Peninsula group joins national push to protect environment

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LORINDA Hartley, left, and Theresa Jensen from Mornington Peninsula climate action group. Picture: Gary Sissons
By Danielle Collis

AS experts are calling for a federal government action plan to strengthen Australia’s weak environment laws, Mornington Peninsula residents Lorinda Hartley and Theresa Jenson have formed a new climate action group.

Mornington Peninsula Australian Conservation Foundation founder Theresa Jenson said the condition of the environment is concerning for the peninsula community. 

“A lot of governments are trying very hard to deal with the environment, it’s just about trying to get our voice across too,” Ms Jenson said.

The group is part of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a nationwide network which aims to protect Australia’s environment. 

Co-founder Lorina Hartley said the ACF encourages groups to raise awareness within their community, hold meetings and events and form alliances with other environment groups.

Ms Jenson said one of the group’s goals is to “clean up” peninsula beaches.

The formation of the group comes at a time when more than 180 health professionals and leading health groups signed an open letter, warning that the federal government must strengthen Australia’s weak environment laws to protect public health. 

The open letter addresses the need to conserve the environment to avoid exposing humanity to potential further deadly pandemics.

Doctors for the Environment Australia Victorian chair associate professor Katherine Barraclough said COVID-19 and the summer bushfires should be a “wake-up call”.

“We must protect our environment so it can protect us,” Ms Barraclough said.

Climate and Health Alliance founder Fiona Armstrong said “our health depends” on government action.

“The government has listened to the science in its response to COVID-19, it’s time they did the same for the broader environmental and climate crises,” Ms Armstrong said.

Ms Jenson said the peninsula group also has “a different approach with a social aspect”.

“My plan is to do campaigns, but also do picnic days, birdwatching, catch up on the beach, just have a chit-chat, sharing our passion for the environment,” she said.

Due to COVID-19 team members are yet to meet in person but have been holding online discussions about their mutual love for the environment and work on objectives.

The group has issued an open invitation for people of all ages from all areas of the peninsula to join.

To sign up to the ACF email list go to www.acf.org.au/group_mornington; email acfmornington@gmail.com or call Theresa Jenson on 0419 409 380.

First published in the Frankston Times – 22 June 2020

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