The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere came into being because the United National Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) endorsed it as internationally significant for its biodiversity and importance.
Our challenge is to ensure that it remains that way by advocating and facilitating local communities geographically centred around Western Port to live in harmony with nature.
The Western Port Biosphere captures four National Parks (three marine and one terristorial), plays host to the annual migrations around the world of many species of birds and features seagrass, mangrove and salt marsh zones that play a significant role in maintaining a healthy marine environment able to sustain marine life.
It sounds idyllic, but our Biosphere communities place constant and increasing pressure on the fragile balance that sustains this environment. Surrounding areas are populated by a mix of expanding residential zones, heavy industry and agriculture. Add to that the impact of Earth’s warming climate and you have a set of complex interactions that must be sustainably managed if we are to retain the valuable natural assets under our stewardship.
The questions on which we must focus as we enter this decade include exactly what is the current status of the Biosphere and where to from here? What can we reasonably expect that this wonderful environment will be decades from now?
You can help shape the answer to the latter question by getting actively involved in supporting our work.
One of the most precious and vital resources for maintaining a healthy environment is water use – consumption and waste management. Whether you’re an individual or commercial enterprise, it’s worth taking a look at our flagship Water Stewardship program. Involvement can deliver real benefits to the environment while making a real difference to your household budget or business bottom line.
We are also willing to engage with special interest community groups on local environmental projects – whether by providing information and advice, or helping to facilitate activities or awareness.
It’s easy to feel that the big environmental issues of the day – climate change, plastic pollution, deforestation and others – are beyond our scope and capabilities to make a difference as individuals.
However, resolving these global issues will not be the remit of governments alone. It will be by collective individual effort advocating and achieving change at a local level.
The declaration of the Western Port Biosphere in 2003 has earmarked an important part of the world where we can all make a difference.
Make becoming a member of the Western Port Biosphere your first step towards shaping the future of the region in which you live and work (join here). From there, the possibilities are endless.
For more information on the global Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, click: https://www.decadeonrestoration.org/
Geoff Brooks, Director, Western Port Biosphere Foundation