Education, Incentive and Regulation.

By: Darcy Lang
15th May 2024

Ongoing education around erosion and sediment damage is going to be vitally important to understand but what these terms really mean and how they affect our environment. When erosion happens, all these bits of soil end up in places they shouldn’t be, like rivers and streams. This causes big problems. Sediment can make water murky and dirty, making it hard for plants and animals to live there. It can also clog up waterways, causing floods or blocking important habitats for fish and other creatures.

One striking example of these challenges can be found in the Birrarung (Yarra River) in Melbourne. The river has faced significant issues with sedimentation and pollution, hindering its status as a safe and swimmable waterway. However, initiatives like the “Swimmable Birrarung” project led by Regen Melbourne aim to address these issues through community engagement, education, and collaborative action. Inspired by such endeavours, this article delves into a few ways that are going to assist in how we can all tackle these issues moving forward.

The Regulatory Landscape
While regulations are in place to mitigate erosion and sediment damage, compliance alone is not sufficient to address the root causes of the problem. Often, these regulations focus on managing the symptoms rather than tackling the underlying issues. To truly make a difference, we need to go beyond regulatory requirements and adopt holistic approaches that address the drivers of erosion, such as unsustainable land use practices and inadequate stormwater management. We can’t leave it up to the regulatory body as this overlooks the complexity of the issues, lacks specificity, and undermines the collective responsibility needed for best practices, which also hinders innovation.

The Business Case for Action
Beyond being good stewards of the environment, there are compelling business reasons for companies to prioritise erosion and sediment control. In today’s increasingly environmentally conscious marketplace, consumers are actively seeking out companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. By implementing up to date erosion control measures, businesses can enhance their brand reputation, attract eco-conscious consumers, and gain a competitive edge. Preventing environmental damage through diligent planning, resource allocation and sufficient budgets can also save companies money in the long run and avoid the potential of other additional costs. If organisations aren’t incentivised or rewarded to prioritize environmental considerations, why would they strive to become leaders in this field?

Educating for Change
Education plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to take meaningful action against erosion and sediment damage. By raising awareness about the importance of erosion and sediment control and providing practical guidance on implementing effective measures, we can foster a culture of environmental responsibility. This includes educating not only industry professionals but also the public, policymakers, and future generations. Through educational initiatives, training programs, and outreach efforts, we can teach individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions and drive positive change. This will lead to the establishment of a social norm within the workplace, encouraging increased dialogue on the subject, a greater understanding of the company’s environmental impact, and opportunities for skill enhancement among all involved.

Looking Ahead
As we look ahead, it’s clear that implementing innovative solutions, adopting sustainable practices, and embracing a mindset of environmental stewardship is going to become much more of the day to day. Whether it’s through the development of new technologies, the implementation of best management practices, or the formulation of effective policies, each of us has a role to play in gaining better understanding of our environment.

It comes back top 3 key things – Education, Incentive and Regulation.

By: Darcy Lang
Head of Growth & New Business