Feature, News from the Field

Why the global community should care about conservation efforts in Australia: Two Weeks of insightful conversations and collaborations in the USA

15 Oct. 2023
Erin Heimbinder/The Nature Conservancy California

By Anne Krumme
Managing Director – USA

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of inspiration, collaboration, and meaningful connections as AWC embarked on a journey that took us from the bustling streets of New York City for Climate Week to the innovation hub of San Francisco and the beaches of Los Angeles.

Tim Allard in Grand Central Station, New York City. Erin Heimbinder/The Nature Conservancy California
Tim Allard in Grand Central Station, New York City.

Climate Week NYC- Click here to read about outcomes!

Tim Allard and I began our journey in NYC during Climate Week, an annual event since 2009, coinciding with the UN General Assembly. The summit unites global leaders from business, government, and civil society to highlight climate action. This year’s theme, “We Can. We Will,” focused on action to drive a more sustainable future

On our first night, AWC-USA hosted an event with the Australian Women in New York (AWNY) a dynamic group of women of all ages and backgrounds who have a connection to Australia and New Zealand and live in NYC. Sid Ray (AWC-USA Board member) and her husband, Philip Kearns hosted a small group of 15 guests at their carriage house in Brooklyn.

Tim presenting to AWNY in Brooklyn, New York. Anne Krumme/AWC
Tim presenting to AWNY in Brooklyn, New York.

The remainder of the week involved participating in conferences, conducting presentations and holding meetings with potential donors/partners.

A few more highlights include:

Thanks to Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, AWC was able to secure an invitation to the Earthshot Innovation Prize Summit. The Earthshot Prize was launched by Prince William in 2020 to search for and scale the most innovative solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.

A highlight was hearing from the founders of Notpla, an alternative to plastic made from seaweed and plants. It’s natural and entirely biodegradable and can be used to create a range of packaging products, such as a bubble to hold liquids, a coating for food containers, and paper for the cosmetic and fashion industry. Tim and I took shots of water bubbles wrapped in seaweed. Pretty cool.

His Royal Highness Prince William with Vaitea Cowan, cofounder of Enapter, at the at the Earthshot Innovation Prize Summit in New York City. Anne Krumme/AWC
His Royal Highness Prince William with Vaitea Cowan, cofounder of Enapter, at the at the Earthshot Innovation Prize Summit in New York City.

AWC Board member Christine Wynne and I attended the Macquarie Green Energy 2023 (GEC) event which was filled with illuminating discussions on how businesses can play a crucial role in mitigating climate change and how together, leaders in industry, finance and policy should work together to address the challenges, opportunities and progress in the global transition to net zero. Ben Way (an Aussie), Head of Asset Management at Macquarie Group, interviewed Ali Zaidi, President Biden’s National Climate Advisor to discuss strategies to leverage funds from the Inflation Reduction Act for green infrastructure projects. It was a fascinating conversation and great to see a room of investment bankers engaged in the conversation.

We also attended the Biodiversity Summit, which was established to create a platform for fostering cross-sectoral partnerships, aligning with the targets outlined in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Tim and I at the Biodiversity Summit. Anne Krumme/AWC
Tim and I at the Biodiversity Summit.

Our main takeaway: Indigenous community leaders emphasized the critical need for inclusion in decision-making processes concerning their land and economy. This underscored the importance of AWC’s existing efforts while signalling a call for us to intensify our commitment.

Tim and I also attended the Transition Finance Action Forum hosted by Bloomberg. The Forum brought together leaders across the private and public sectors to recognize progress made on transition finance and accelerate further action in support of a global net-zero economic transition.

We also had a wonderful evening with Australian Consul-General, Heather Ridout, who invited 15 guests for an inspiring conversation about biodiversity issues and opportunities.

Tim Allard with Heather Ridout, Australian Consul-General. Anne Krumme/AWC
Tim Allard with Heather Ridout, Australian Consul-General.

San Francisco and Los Angeles 

The momentum continued as Tim jetted off to the West Coast for a series of impactful meetings.

San Francisco provided a stunning backdrop as Isabella Kirkland and Chris Tellis hosted 25 guests including a diverse group of philanthropists, journalists, scientists, the CEO of the California Academy of Sciences, entrepreneurs, and technology gurus—all gathered to join our mission in emphasizing that Australian conservation transcends national borders; it’s a global imperative.

In Los Angeles, engagements with the Australian Consul-General, an advertising innovator, and the inspiring collaboration with Ambassador Shuang Hu AKA @theoneshu marked a profound commitment to global education on Australian conservation.

Tim at Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, California. Erin Heimbinder/The Nature Conservancy California
Tim at Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, California.

As we reflect on the past two weeks, the resounding theme is the power of collaboration evident across diverse landscapes. AWC’s global voice must amplify, educating on the global significance of investing in Australia. With the past 30 years of lessons learned, and with increased global support, I eagerly anticipate the impactful strides we’ll make in the future.

 

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