at Gayini
Black Swans at Gayini © Annette Ruzicka

Perspectives

The way forward with Alison Rowe

The Nature Conservancy’s new Managing Director, Alison Rowe shares what inspires her and the way forward

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Alison Rowe Managing Director

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It’s a pivotal time for conservation in Australia. What we do now as a nation will set the course for the future of Australia and impact the rest of the world. We’re facing threats to biodiversity, loss of critical habitat, growing vulnerability for communities, and increasingly severe natural disasters. The climate change clock is ticking and Australia is behind when it comes to taking action, yet I’m optimistic.

I believe that people like you, all around Australia, have the will and the power to come together and enact change. Together, we can support the right polices, shift toward a more sustainable path, and empower each other to protect nature that sustains us all.

I’m inspired by the deep commitment of my colleagues, our volunteers, supporters and partners, to creating a future where people and nature thrive.

Nature’s inspiration

Growing up in regional Victoria, I can remember the absolute delight of going up to the Strathbogie Ranges. I have vivid memories of being surrounded by majestic granite rock formations. Camping at Mt Wombat and appreciating the bushland and its plants and animals including gliders, pygmy mountain brushtail possums, wombats, guinea-flowers and leopard orchids. I realised then, how deeply nature can affect each-and-every one of us. And how we’re interconnected.

My first career opportunity as a young woman was actually in the navy. I spent a significant amount of time at sea. There’s nothing more breathtaking than driving a ship out of the Sydney Harbour Heads with dolphins escorting you for safe passage. Then coming back in with dolphins guiding us home again. They are two of my most magical memories, which I’ll never forget.

I felt humbled by the majesty of the sea and the beauty of the animals—how these animals protect us and how we must protect them.

jumping out of the water
Dolphin jumping out of the water © Duncan Bridel

Nature’s solutions

I believe in the vital role nature plays in tackling climate change. And we have a crucial opportunity to protect biodiversity. We must take advantage of the many solutions nature provides, and work with indigenous communities to improve the health and wellbeing of people and nature across the country.

We are focused on making a major impact across Australia: 

  • To help more threated species survive and eventually thrive
  • To protect the beautiful and diverse places we've grown up enjoying, or are yet to experience
  • To harness the power of people and work closely with First Nations people to make positive and lasting changes

I want to see Australia lead the way in the response to climate change. We have the science. We have the people. We have the vision. And now, we need all the support we can get to make it happen.

Australia must be a world leader in responding to climate change

Nature’s biggest threats

The biggest threat to nature is a lack of ambition and vision—our own perception of what we can do to solve problems and restore the world to how it should be.

Now is the most urgent time to act as a nation and a global community. We need to get behind a vision and collaborate to make our world a healthier and safer place.

Our mission is to conserve the land and waters on which all life depends—to achieve that, I know The Nature Conservancy is the right place to be. I’m surrounded by passionate science-driven experts, who don’t shy away from big challenges. We think outside the box to find the best solutions to nature’s biggest threats.

This new role is more than just a job for me—it is a passion. And I know I’m not alone. With your support, and the skills of our colleagues, volunteers, and partners to protect and restore Australia’s unique environment, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.

I feel so privileged to join you.

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Over the last two decades Alison has dedicated herself to environmental sustainability, including global responsibility for strategy development, delivering transformation programs, commercialising new business models, community development and advocacy. 

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