Noosa Biosphere: Sustainable Luxury

Here’s an article I wrote for The Karmic Press! It is wonderful working with Cheyenne Burroughs, and I look forward to my next venture with TKP. In case anyone’s wondering, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus lately (more on that later) – but I’m working on getting back in the groove of things, and this is a great way to begin! Hope you enjoy!

Floating Land Festival

Photo courtesy of David Shipton.

Imagine a place where everyone, together as one human race, walks through life with a mind to educate the world community about depletion of natural resources. Each person mindful of their carbon footprint and seeing a relationship with environment as a precious connection. A community who plans together for long-term conservation in order to indulge in the resources necessary for putting on awesome cultural events: Floating Land Festival, Noosa Biosphere FestivalGreen Art awards that celebrate community engagement with sustainability, and sustainable surfing (just to name a few).

This is how people in Noosa Biosphere Ltd. (NBL) live: beautifully and, more importantly, mindfully. They are especially mindful of the three biosphere principles:

                  Conservation                      Sustainability                       Learning

These three principles are the backbone of any biosphere, which can be termed as “the zone of life on earth, a closed system (apart from solar and cosmic radiation and heat from the interior of the Earth), and largely self-regulating.” [Wikipedia] There are over 550 UNESCO-recognized biospheres worldwide, designated as such in efforts to reassess human relationship to environment.

NBL is one such site. But it’s more than just a site – it’s a living community of folks who stand above the crowd through commitment to social accountability – e.g., helping humans understand how their footprint affects nature through eco-conscious industry, or getting involved on one of six community sector boards, which support civilian participation in government of the region. NBL residents see the long-term benefits of society working together to improve conservation status and sustainable practices. While Yosemite National Park upholds civic engagement and historic preservation, and the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve (GGBR) provides easy access to nature recreation/education – which are great resources necessary to encourage research on sustainable economic development – it falls under local responsibility to demonstrate a balanced relationship between themselves and nature. I am proud to say that Port of Richmond (part of GGBR) has wonderful city officials whistleblowing Chevron Refinery’s corner-cutting, but we still don’t have the same widespread organic forging of community guided by sustainable development. In Noosa, the community are part and parcel to the nature. Their government only shut down once in its history, and, thankfully, they didn’t think it necessary to “shut down” nature on public land.

The US Govt. shut down from October 1-16 2013 prevented access to public land. If it's public land...why can't I access it?

No, America! NO Muir Woods for YOU. You’ve had enough already.

Imagine if you lived in a habitat like Muir Woods or Yosemite. Let me tell ya, the native Aussies and their lucky visitors are living that dream. Everyday they work, learn, and live on – excuse me – in harmony with a UNESCO site. By communing in and with nature, these people learn the ins and outs of their habitat and, thus, are able to understand the biological and cultural processes that lead to depletion of the earth’s resources.

And just in case you still believe that climate change is a hoax, NEWSFLASH – human-produced greenhouse gases and forestry are two of the biggest contributors to our aquifers being depleted here in CA and desertification the world over. Don’t want draughts? Then quit the unsustainable land management: we cut down our forests and use the land for grazing animals, then overgraze the land due to human demand for beef. In grasping habits which ruin the earth’s hydrological cycle, we prevent the earth from naturally filling our taken-for-granted aquifers and reserving water year-round. We can do better, and we know so because NBL manages to integrate sustainable practice and economic feasibility. Some don’t think luxury and sustainability can co-exist, but NBL prove otherwise.

Tourism Noosa, the premier tourism organization of northern AU, commit to their own Sustainable Destination Action Plan (SDAP). Guided by a vision to redefine sustainable luxury, they take responsibility by leading redefinition of what tourism means for a community: “working together to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability for tourism in the Noosa region.” [SDAP] While there are many discrete organizations dedicated to sustainability in Northern CA, there exists no such staunch, organized consideration of ecotourism in any region of the state. We’ve got our work cut out for us! And it will only become more necessary to integrate sustainable practices in all parts of society as time goes on: we (and our #1 biosphere, planet earth!) aren’t gettin’ any younger! There will be no earth for our future young’ins to sustain if the environment keeps showing signs of what could be the 6th Mass Extinction.

Let us end with an inspirational quote from Phillip Moran, NBL Honorary Fellow and General Mgr. of Noosa & District Landcare:

“It’s a celebration of community, is a simple way of putting it. The interaction of man and environment. So it’s not just locking it up like a national park, it’s encouraging businesses to adopt sustainable practices and work together to try and keep this land in as good a possible condition as we can for our kids.”