At last Thursday's NSW Green Globe awards night at Parliament House in Sydney I was a joint winner of the Sustainability Champion award! I'm tickled pink, most grateful and a bit overwhelmed.
Fortunately for me no speeches were required. Who knows what I might have said! I was also relieved to see that the 'official' photo (below) didn't catch what I suspect included my eyes the size of dinner plates and my tongue hanging out of the side of my mouth, cartoon style, as I collected the award. As I shook Chris Riedy's hand all I could come up with was, "This is totally unbelievable!" before thanking him, and no doubt continuing my stunned mullet impersonation.
Photo: Award presentation with Chris Riedy, Associate Professor, Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS
Photo: With NSW Minister for the Environment, Hon. Rob Stokes.
With more than 300 people attending, the event was a celebration of sustainability efforts across a wide range of categories from around the state. And it was something pretty special to have my efforts as part of our local grassroots collectives awarded alongside companies and organisations of all sizes (and budgets!).
Our MC for the night Reuben Meerman (aka the Surfing Scientist, and presenter for Catalyst and Play School among other claims to fame) entertainingly kept the proceedings on track. While Clarence Slockee (who I've watched on Gardening Australia, and is another multiple-hat-wearing-bloke) gave the best 'welcome to country' I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
After the formalities and photos it was also a treat to share a few beers and stories with some of the other regional winners at a nearby pub. They included folks from The Observatory Hotel in Port Macquarie (who took out the Premier's award for environmental excellence as well as a small business sustainability award), Wagga council (10 year sustainability award), De Bortoli wines (medium to large business award) and Mars Petcare (waste and recycling award - funny to go all that way to run into a project I'd worked just a tiny bit on years ago in a paid role, locally!).
My sincere thanks again to all who helped make this fairytale happen. Particularly to Lizette, who co-ordinated the nomination and wasn't at all perturbed by my protests that I didn't fit the bill. Thanks, too, to Dieuwer Reynders, our local Office of Environment and Heritage community engagement team leader, who encouraged nominations from our groups and whose office helped support me to attend the event (I very nearly didn't go!). Plus a whole host of others who help and inspire me to do what I do, as well as adding their own efforts into the mix.
To all who jump in to collaborate, turn up and participate in the wide range of sustainability events and groups locally, here's a huge 'high five' for us all.
And to round out the thank yous, I have to acknowledge the Prince Charming of this fairytale, my partner Ralph. I doubt much of this would happen without him. When the wheels fall off because I've taken on too much (again) he not only puts them back on, but sends me out to look for blue-banded bees (my personal 'recalibration' or meditation) while he does it. (The mixed metaphor makes sense to me, apologies if it doesn't translate well for anyone else!) I can't and won't try to list all he does, but I'm sure regular readers of this blog know a bit of it; and more so do all our friends and family. Thanks Ralph, you are the best!
Photo: Ralph and I
And if you're still wondering what all the fuss is about - not just for this award, but even sustainability in general - maybe you'll take the time to click through to Ecoportal.net.au and check out the nearly 60 local sustainability-related groups and 40+ event listings per month across our area, offering fun and inspiring opportunities for your own sustainability journey.
Hope to see you at one (or many) of these events soon!
Credits: First two photos copyright Cassandra Hannagan, taken for the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Related: A brief Border Mail article from Saturday's paper announcing the news is here.