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Rejuvenating our home while staying at home

Alexandra Wells

At the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 riddled the world. Everyone has been told to stay inside, retailers have closed, and hospitals have prepared for the worst. Through all this negativity and great devastation, there have been some positive outcomes from COVID-19. The world has had time to breathe and replenish. The Venice canals became clear for the first time in some people’s lifetimes, the Himalayas are now visible for residents – now, how has the Gold Coast been impacted

On the Gold Coast there are several different organisations, businesses and grants that have been put into place to create a sustainable society. Organisations such as; Envirotech (which is based on the Southern Gold Coast), Climate Wave Enterprises, Tweed Eco Cruises and the Coastal Community Engagement program. Additionally, businesses and organisations such as the Currumbin RSL and the Gold Coast Airport have programs put in place to reduce their carbon footprint and create an environmentally sustainable workplace.

These organisations are the focal point for how this story will be executed. Each one will have an individual section, whether it be water eco-systems, pollution and how they are going to deal with this in the future. The Coast Community Engagement program will give the public an insight on how their coast and beach care have been impacted by the novel COVID-19. The Coastcare would usually involve the “protecting sea turtle sites, construction of interpretative trails, and monitoring of the sea dragon, grey nurse shark and seagrass”. (Gold Coast City Council, 2020). This then follows into their CoastEd program, which connects and educates students on their coastal surroundings. Currumbin RSL is supported by EarthCheck, an advisory group for travel and tourism. “We have helped businesses, communities and governments to deliver clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travellers to visit, live, work and play,” (EarthCheck, 2020). The Tweed Eco Cruises, is a service that runs along the NSW Northern Rivers. They aim to protect their natural amphitheatre, which resides along the Tweed Valley, (also known as one of three bio-diverse regions in Australia). “We aim to inspire and assist other local businesses within our region to protect and promote our pristine natural environment, the Tweed through the provision of unique and educational activities with a minimal environmental footprint and sustainable operations,” (Tweed Eco Cruises, 2020).

These different organisations will be able to give a perspective on the water eco-system, the flora and fauna, and overall pollution that has been minimized during the past couple of months. This will give the Gold Coast an opportunity to see how they have impacted their environment and bring a little positivity when our community needs it most.

When going deeper into this investigation, all organisations will be asked how they can continue this once the pandemic is over. If they are going to implement new strategies to help improve the state of our environment, to the extent that the virus has. Whether it be making earth-hour something the entire community abides by, gaining public attraction to the beach and coastal care planes, (sand-dunning, tree planting, keeping an eye on our eco-systems and giving them what they need to survive and thrive). The organisations listed above will be able to give their individual opinion and strategies on how they are going to move forward after COVID-19.

This novel virus has taken the world by storm. Millions of lives have been affected, their livelihoods have changed. Both their physical and mental state of mind has been altered by this pandemic. Stories like the Himalayas and the Venice canals will give them some hope that when this ends, they have done something that could never have been done without this crisis. It brings light to the fact they have replenished extremely important eco-systems. This will also make them realise how important their carbon footprint is and bring awareness to changing their usual habits to a greener option.

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About the Social Impact Projects

The Griffith University Social Impact Projects address five significant social justice issues faced by vulnerable communities. Expanding on the work done by Project Safe Space, and Project Open Doors, the Griffith University Social Impact Projects bring Community Partners, students and the University together to work collaboratively in the innovative solution design sprints. Initially designed to address Mental Health and Wellbeing of Griffith students, we soon realised this was a much larger issue intersecting across a number of social justice issues for students and the wider community. The Social Impact Projects aim to contribute in some small way to improving these social issues.