Janine Kitson, Member of the National Parks Association of NSW

Based on the NPA course presented to the WEA, Sydney on 4 March, 2017.With special thanks to Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

On March 23rd, 2017, Envirobook, in association with the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, held a book launch for Dr Geoff Mosley’s memoir, Repaying my Debt – A Conservationist’s Tale. Following the launch, Geoff was awarded the first Colong Foundation’s Honorary Life Member.  ABC Radio National’s BIG IDEAS recorded a special hour long conversation with Geoff Mosley and ABC’s Gregg Borschmann.  This interview will be aired later in 2017.

mosley_rmd_front_cover_rednThe book is available for sale at $30 at https://www.colongwilderness.org.au/store/books/repaying-my-debt

Dr Geoff Mosley’s life story in many ways is a history about the modern Australian environment movement.  Recently, the Colong Foundation for Wilderness awarded Geoff Mosley with its first Honorary Life Membership.  He has been involved in nearly every conservation campaign since the 1960s.   His devoted, tireless and prodigious work in conservation as a geographer, writer, campaigner, historian, local activist and economist have contributed enormously to the protection of many of Australia’s most loved and iconic places.   He has played a key role in almost all of Australia’s key environmental campaigns since arriving to Australia in 1960.

Geoff was born in 1931 – at a time of economic hardship during the Great Depression – in the Peak District, in the northern Midlands of England.  He spent his formative years roaming the rural and wild countryside in the Peak District – an area that became England’s first national park in 1951.  His carefree childhood was poor by today’s standards but rich in the nourishing values of the natural world.  He grew up in a family and village that was very much connected to the land and a model of sustainability.  As a boy he would roam the wild moors and with his family to collect bilberries and wild foods to supplement the vegetables they grew at home and in the communal village gardens.  Their small house had no electricity and most of the cooking was done on an open coal fed fire in the main room.  His parents’ major recreation was ‘rambling’ – going for long walks across the beautiful countryside.  Living simply and surrounded by abundant natural beauty was something many people experience before the 1960s – before the age of modernity, convenience, consumerism, plastic, affluence and mega-size cities.

With scholarships Geoff was able to go to university and pursue his interest in Geography.

As a young man in the 1950s he travelled extensively through Scandinavia, Europe, North Africa, Canada and New Zealand.  He pursued his lifelong passion of long walks of solitude and contemplation in the wild, remote and beautiful places.  In 1955 he completed his Masters degree on the geography of the English and Welsh national park system.

In 1963 he completed his PhD – a study on outdoor recreational land use in Tasmania at the Australian National University in Canberra.  This research became invaluable when later he campaigned to protect Tasmania’s wilderness and the Australian Alps.  A year after the Australian Conservation Foundation was established, in 1965, he began working for them.

From 1973 to 1986 Geoff was the Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation (established in 1965).  This involved him in many of Australia’s key environment campaigns – the unsuccessful campaign to stop the flooding of Lake Pedder in south west Tasmania in 1972, saving the Franklin River from being dammed, and saving the Great Barrier Reef from mining.  He continued to serve the AFC Council as a councillor from 1987-2015.

From 1981-1988 Geoff Mosley represented Australasia & Oceania on the Council of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).  Since 1979 Geoff Mosley has been a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas. In 1982 the World Heritage Committee approved listing significant Australian regions including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and Southwest Tasmania Wilderness.  1,200 Australians were arrested for campaigning to save the Franklin River.  Finally the dam was stopped in 1983.  Its World Heritage listing was pivotal in saving it, allowing the Federal Government to win the legal challenge that overruled the Tasmanian Government, and save the wilderness.

Geoff continued to volunteer, as well as gain occasional work as an environmental consultant, to research and write assessment reports for many World Heritage Listing proposals. World Heritage Listing was critical in saving the Franklin River.  Many places have yet to be World Heritage Listed such as Antarctica, the Australian Alps and Royal National Park.

Geoff Mosley believes the surest way to protect the environment is adopt a ‘steady state economy’. He argues that our environmental crises are caused by our economic growth model based on expanding economy and population.  In 2008 he became a director for the global based Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. Fearless and courageous, he calls for a return to a saner, simpler and happier way to live in harmony with Nature, and end the madness of endless growth that is impossible on a finite planet.

Geoff Mosley’s book Repaying my Debt – A Conservationist’s Tale is an inspiration in understanding the obligation we all share, in repaying our debts to the natural world for future generations.

Geoff Mosley Timeline

1929 – Great Depression

1931 – Geoff Mosley born in the Peak District, in the northern Midlands of England.

1950s – Wool exports to Japan.  Cars, TV, consumerism and affluence takes off.

1951 – Peak District—where Geoff had grown up— becomes UK’s first national park.

1955 – Geoff Mosley completes his Masters about England & Wales National Park system.

1960s – Iron ore exports to Japan.  Age of plastics begin.

1963 – Geoff Mosley completes his PhD on the subject of outdoor recreational land use in Tasmania.

1964 – Judith Wright as President of Queensland branch of the Wild Life Preservation Society leads successful campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef from mining.

1965 – Australian Conservation Foundation [ACF] established.

1966 – Geoff Mosley begins working for Australian Conservation Foundation.

1968 – Club of Rome urges the world to become sustainable.

1970 – World’s 1st “Earth Day” where an estimated 20 million Americans demonstrate against pollution.

1972 – Lake Pedder, in south west Tasmania, flooded despite national campaign against it.

1973 – Geoff Mosley becomes CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation (1973-1986).

1976 – Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser shuts down sand mining on Fraser Island.

1980s – Long wall coal mining and woodchipping of native forests for export takes off.

1980 – Commonwealth passes Whale Protection Act that ends hunting of whales in Australian waters.

1981 – From 1981-1988 Geoff Mosley represented Australasia & Oceania on the Council of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).  Since 1979 Geoff Mosley has been a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas.

1982 – World Heritage Committee approves listing significant Australian regions including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and Southwest Tasmania Wilderness Parks.  Franklin River campaign.

1986 – Geoff resigns as Executive Director of Australian Conservation Foundation.

1987 – The Brundtland Report recommends ecological sustainable development.

1990s – Globalisation takes off.

1990 – Landcare established to conserve native vegetation and combat soil erosion and salinity problems that have arisen as a result of large scale land clearing.

1992 – United Nations Conference on Environment & Development, or ‘Earth Summit’ held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil brings to the world’s attention the serious issues of environmental problems.

2012 – Geoff Mosley publishes

1929 – Great Depression

1931 – Geoff Mosley born in the Peak District, in the northern Midlands of England.

1950s – Wool exports to Japan.  Cars, TV, consumerism and affluence takes off.

1951 – Peak District—where Geoff had grown up— becomes UK’s first national park.

1955 – Geoff Mosley completes his Masters about England & Wales National Park system.

1960s – Iron ore exports to Japan.  Age of plastics begin.

1963 – Geoff Mosley completes his PhD on the subject of outdoor recreational land use in Tasmania.

1964 – Judith Wright as President of Queensland branch of the Wild Life Preservation Society leads successful campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef from mining.

1965 – Australian Conservation Foundation [ACF] established.

1966 – Geoff Mosley begins working for Australian Conservation Foundation.

1968 – Club of Rome urges the world to become sustainable.

1970 – World’s 1st “Earth Day” where an estimated 20 million Americans demonstrate against pollution.

1972 – Lake Pedder, in south west Tasmania, flooded despite national campaign against it.

1973 – Geoff Mosley becomes CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation (1973-1986).

1976 – Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser shuts down sand mining on Fraser Island.

1980s – Long wall coal mining and woodchipping of native forests for export takes off.

1980 – Commonwealth passes Whale Protection Act that ends hunting of whales in Australian waters.

1981 – From 1981-1988 Geoff Mosley represented Australasia & Oceania on the Council of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).  Since 1979 Geoff Mosley has been a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas.

1982 – World Heritage Committee approves listing significant Australian regions including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and Southwest Tasmania Wilderness Parks.  Franklin River campaign.

1986 – Geoff resigns as Executive Director of Australian Conservation Foundation.

1987 – The Brundtland Report recommends ecological sustainable development.

1990s – Globalisation takes off.

1990 – Landcare established to conserve native vegetation and combat soil erosion and salinity problems that have arisen as a result of large scale land clearing.

1992 –  United Nations Conference on Environment & Development, or ‘Earth Summit’ held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil brings to the world’s attention the serious issues of environmental problems.

2012 – Geoff Mosley publishes – The First National Park. A Natural for World Heritage that supports community calls for World Heritage listing of the Royal National Park.

2015 – Tasmanian Government proposes removal of Tasmanian wilderness protections.

2016 – Tasmanian wilderness protections retained.

The First National Park. A Natural for World Heritage that supports community calls for World Heritage listing of the Royal National Park.

2015 – Tasmanian Government proposes removal of Tasmanian wilderness protections.

2016 – Tasmanian wilderness protections retained.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s