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A World Where Economies And Nature Will Prosper Together 经济与自然共繁盛的大同世界

Rich Gilmore
Country Director of The Nature Conservancy
自然保护协会 (The Nature Conservancy) 全国总监

One day, not far into the distant future, sustainability and economy will thrive hand-in-hand if practiced cohesively by all parties. This would indeed help to drive economic growth and create jobs for the people. 

The issue of climate change cannot be ignored and it has become a worldwide concern as activists are engaged in heated contention with economically driven entities. But it is possible for profit-centred businesses and nature conservation to work together to improve all facets towards global progression and harmony. 

Working towards this goal is The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with a mission to help businesses and society understand and practice sustainable development where people and nature can thrive. 

It was founded in the United States in 1951 and has grown to become one of the most successful and impactful environmental organisations in the world. 

It is powered by more than a million members together with more than 400 scientists who are dedicated to their conservation efforts. They are so far making an impact in 72 countries across six continents. 

It’s also because of their innovative and modern approach to conservation that has the whole world talking, and in this part of the globe, TNC is making people pay attention for good reasons. 

Eating endangered species to conserve 

their environment

The Nature Conservancy Australia’s country director, Rich Gilmore gives an example of the TNC’s project to restore the shellfish reefs and ecosystems by indulging in one of its endangered species.

“Our idea could seem controversial but in this case, eating the native oyster works to preserve habitats. It’s a rare delicacy and was over fished almost to extinction in the 19th century but now in the 21st century, we’re encouraging people to eat this endangered species. 

“This creates demand for the oysters, thus creating a demand for their habitat. As a result, gives better opportunities for our shellfish reef restoration work because oysters are excellent and natural water filters – improving water quality through filtering algae, nutrients and suspended matter from the sea water,” explains Rich.

In a nutshell, or rather, seashell, the TNC works with nature to help re-establish oyster and mussel reefs across Australia, working with local businesses, communities and researchers so that nature and people can once again enjoy the many benefits that the shellfish reefs can bring.

Protecting nature while driving profits

Ultimately, Rich said that the conservatory wants to demonstrate that it can protect important places while facilitating sustainable developments. 

Another example was a project the organisation undertook to protect a 16,000 hectare wetland in Australia, an area that’s home to 200 plant species and over 130 bird species. 

“We were funded to create sustainable developments and movements that created jobs for local people through sustainable agriculture in livestock grazing and cattle production.”

“These jobs will be created in partnership with conservation, rather than in competition with conservation. The contributions that enabled this major project are called impact investments which deliver social, environmental and financial return,” explained Rich.  

At the end of the day, we’re very much clouded by our busy urban lives, many of us forget that nature is the fundamental support system that we all depend on. 

“The fact is that economic prosperity of the world relies on nature. Everything that is linked to prosperity like clean air and clean water are provided for free by nature. 

But the real people really care about nature is because of the joy it brings to them and their families – spending time in nature, learning about it and appreciating what it offers. 

“We need to do a better job to remind people that these are the reasons nature really matters. We spend too much time indoors and not enough time outside in nature and we’ve becoming disconnected to it.” 

He understands the rush of corporate life as he comes from a financial background, but after going on a volunteer conservation expedition in Africa, he became a “convert”. 

“I’m relatively new to the conservation area as I was previously in the corporate markets sector. 15 years ago, I was inspired to become an environmentalist by immersing myself in nature where I was part of a project on mangrove conservation in the Swahili Coast,” he recalled.

It was then that Rich decided to leave his corporate life and returned to pursue his studies in a Master of Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales, and the rest is history. 

如果各方保持凝聚力,在不远的将来,大自然的可持续性将与全球经济携手并进,这确实有助于推动经济增长,为人们创造就业机会。

地球气候变化问题不容忽视,随着运动人士与经济驱动实体之间的激烈博弈,这个课题已经成为全球关注的焦点。但其实以逐利为中心的企业和自然保护组织可以尝试联手促进各方面的改善与和谐。

自然保护协会 (The Nature Conservancy -TNC) 致力于实现这一目标,其使命是协助企业和社会深入理解和实践环境的可持续发展,使人类和自然能够共同繁盛。

该组织于1951年在美国成立,现已成为世界上成功兼最具影响力的环保组织之一。协会由逾百万名会员和400多名致力于保护工作的科学家注入动力。至今,他们已经在六大洲共72个国家缔造有效成果。

而他们所提倡的创新和现代方法引起全球热议,可说是让人们有充分的理由关注TNC。

食用濒危物种以保护环境
自然保护协会澳大利亚区总监Rich Gilmore也举例说明TNC修复濒临灭绝的贻贝珊瑚礁与平衡生态系统的项目。

“我们的想法可能会引起争议,但在这种情况下,食用本地牡蛎可以保护栖息地。这是一种罕见的美味,在19世纪被过度捕捞几乎灭绝,但现在21世纪,我们鼓励人们吃这种濒危物种。“

“这将从中创造人们对牡蛎的需求,也会促使重新打造它们的栖息地。因此,这为我们的贻贝珊瑚礁修复工作展现更好的机会,因为牡蛎是优质的天然滤水器 – 过滤藻类、营养物质和海水中的悬浮物来改善水质。”他解释。

一句概括:更确切地说是贝类、TNC与大自然密切配合,推动澳大利亚各地重建牡蛎和贻贝珊瑚礁,而当地企业、社区和研究人员也加入其中,让大自然和人们再次享受到贻贝珊瑚礁带来的诸多好处。

逐利同时捍卫自然
Rich Gilmore 认为,协会最终想要证明,促进可持续发展的同时能够捍卫关键大自然。

另外,作为实例,该组织所承担的保护澳大利亚1.6万公顷湿地的一个项目,该地区作为200种植物和130多种鸟类的家园。

“我们获得资金推行可持续的发展和动力,透过放牧和牲畜永续农业为当地民众创造就业机会。这些将与环境保护相铺相成,并非背道而驰的竞争关系。促成这一重大项目的贡献被称为影响投资,为社会、环境和财务带来丰厚回报。”

结束忙碌一天,我们被喧嚣的城市生活所笼罩,很多人忘记了大自然是我们赖以生存的基础系统。事实上,世界经济的繁荣仰赖于自然。

一切与繁荣有关的东西,如干净的空气和水,都是自然界免费供应的。

但是,真正关心自然界的人们是因为大自然赐予他们和家人快乐泉源—花时间感受、了解和感激大自然的奉献。

“我们需要做得更多以提醒人们,为什么大自然是那么的重要。我们在室内呆了太久,却没有太多时间享受大自然熏陶,我们已经与之断开了联系。”

他曾经从事金融财务工作,非常了解企业生活的匆忙,但在参加了非洲的志愿者保护远征队之后,他成为了“皈依者”。

“我之前埋头企业市场业务工作,对于自然保护领域还是相当陌生。15年前,我因本身融入自然而受到启发,继而成为一名环保主义者,在那里我参与了斯瓦希里海岸(Swahili Coast)红树林保护项目。”

那时,Rich决定抽离企业继续深造,重返新南威尔士大学攻读环境管理硕士学位,然后走到了今天。

Text By Karina Foo

Cutting Edge 切入中心

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Professor Sally Smart

Australia’s Top Contemporary Artist

Destined to be an artist, Professor Sally Smart is where censorship meets avant-garde and freedom. One of Australia’s top contemporary visual artists, Smart enjoys global representation for her work in large-scale cut-out assemblage installations. The recipient of numerous awards, Professor Smart is currently Vice -Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, and Deputy Chair at the National Association for the Visual Arts.

“I grew up in a very remote part of Australia – the Flinders Ranges. My parents owned a rural property and worked on sheep, cattle and grain.  Every morning I’d talked into a radio receiver and do my lessons by correspondence.” Her earliest inspiration was her great-aunt Bessie Davidson, a famous Australian artist living in Paris then. “As a young girl I knew there are women artists and that was really important for my own identity. It gave me a frame, so I just set about wanting to be an artist and now I am.”  Smart attended an art school in South Australia, then the Victorian College of the Arts where she did her postgraduate in painting and master’s in fine arts.

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I take things on to make sense of the world and make art. I hope my methodologies, interpretation and philosophies can give pathways to find poetry, to give voice, image and space to women.

Among her notable work, The Exquisite Pirate enlivens the legacy of female pirates. “I discovered there were actually a lot of women pirates, their histories often forgotten. Now I’m working on the artists of the Ballets Russes, discovering their colonialism, Orientalism, sort of like a western view of the east.”

Often called the politics of cutting, Smart sees her work from a feminist point of view, to cut things out of history and reconstruct them, to place women back in history if they have been cut out. “Women are disadvantaged in many industries. We must try harder, go further. It happens with people on the periphery but that’s probably an advantage for me.”

To young artists, I say, ‘education, momentum and collaboration’. Don’t get too hung up on failures.

Regardless of that bias, there are plenty of high moments for Smart. “Seeing my sculpture in Docklands, 19 metres across and 12 metres high, seeing the pieces being craned in the sky, that was pretty amazing for me. My first show of The Exquisite Pirate in New York was a highlight too.”

“Art is not a necessity, but we need art more than anything. That’s the paradox of art. When it’s taken away, then you realise something incredible is missing. Art has the power to make sense and manifest. It gives us a future, ways of celebrating, acknowledgment and relief.”

Sally Smart教授注定要成为一名艺术家,投身这个检视和自由前卫邂逅糅合的领域。身为澳大利亚最顶尖的当代视觉艺术家之一,她的作品在世界各地都有广泛的代表性。Sally Smart教授曾多次获奖,目前担任墨尔本大学副校长学者研究员,同时也是国家视觉艺术协会的副主席。

“我在澳大利亚偏远的弗林德斯山脉(Flinders Ranges)成长。父母有个生活农场,饲养牛羊和种植粮食。每天早上,我都要对着收音机进行函授课程。”她最初的启蒙来自她的姑婆Bessie Davidson,是当时旅居巴黎的一位著名澳大利亚艺术家。“作为懵懂的年轻女孩,女性艺术家的存在对于我的身份认知非常关键。这为我打造了开始想成为艺术家的梦想框架,直至现在完全实践。”

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“我们希望所有的澳大利亚人都能对此保持欣喜、尊重和敬畏之心,加倍珍惜岩石艺术的存在。”

Sally首先就读澳大利亚南部的一所艺术学校,随后进入维多利亚艺术学院(Victorian College of the Arts)完成绘画学士和美术硕士学位。在她出色的创作中,“绝妙海盗”让女海盗的文化历史变得活泼生动。“我发现实际上有很多女海盗的存在,但她们的事迹经常被遗忘。目前我在研究俄罗斯芭蕾舞团的舞蹈艺术家,探索他们的殖民与东方主义,像西方观望东方的视角。”

由于Sally Smart从女权主义者的角度看待本身的创作,她常被称为 “切割政治学”(politics of cutting),从历史的角度切入裁剪并重构,将女性重新置于历史之中。“女性在许多行业领域处于劣势,我们必须更加努力才能前进,这些常发生在周边人们身上,但这对于我可能是一项优势。”

对于年轻艺术家的建言,我要说的是“教育、动力和协力”,而且不要太在意失败。

而不拘于偏见,SallySmart也有许多闪光时刻。“看到我直径19米、高12米的雕塑作品在滨海港区(Docklands)天空中被悬吊起来,真是令人感觉不可思议。至于我在纽约“绝妙海盗”的首秀也是一大亮点。”

“艺术不是必需品,但我们最需要的是艺术,这就是艺术的悖论。当它消失,你就会意识到失去了无可比拟的力量,艺术使事物倍具意义和显现出来,给了我们一个未来,还有欢庆,感谢和释放的方式。”

Text by Sloane Patterson  / Photography by Layzhoz Yeap