The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) is the peak regional environmental organisation in Central Australia. For 36 years ALEC has worked both on the ground and on government policy to ensure good environmental outcomes for the long-term benefit of Territorians.
ALEC is committed to its vision of ‘healthy futures for arid lands and people’ and our work is focused in two main areas:
Protecting the Outback
The Outback, although rugged, needs people to protect and manage the country. ALEC is working to protect the outback from threats posed by mining, shale gas production and fracking, overgrazing, weeds, fire and feral animals.
ALEC is working hard towards building community resilience in Alice Springs and surrounding desert communities with a long-term commitment to developing sustainable food systems, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and strengthening the local community. ALEC is driving innovative programs that encourage sustainable living and active community engagement.
2017: Unprecedented ecological challenges
2017 finds us facing unprecedented planetary ecological challenges with increasing climate change, expanding global populations, species and habitat loss and pollution of ecosystems and urban centres.
Here in Australia we have seen vast swathes of mangroves die across the Top End, large tracts of kelp forests die in Tasmania, and our Great Barrier Reef is gravely threatened.
Further south scientists anticipate a major disintegration of the Larsen C ice-shelf of Antarctica in the coming year, which will directly contribute to sea-level rise.
The Northern Territory faces unique challenges with vast landscapes and small populations to manage them. The NT is vulnerable to climate change with increases in temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events.
As our planet warms we need immediate action to ensure a safe and healthy climate and environment for both ourselves, and our children.
2017: ALEC’s key focus areas for action
No new fossil fuel projects and infrastructure
Globally if we are to have a chance of combating climate change, 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. This means a policy of no new fossil fuel projects or infrastructure, and abandoning some existing projects. ALEC will be actively campaigning against any new fossil fuel projects in the NT.
No Fracking Pipeline
ALEC is staunchly opposed to the proposed Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP). Despite assertions that the pipeline is being built to transport an oversupply of conventional gas the stated justification for the Jemena project is to "stimulate the development of the Northern Territory through increased gas exploration and production". This ‘increased exploration and production’ is unconventional gas fields and fracked gas and ALEC is part of an alliance of indigenous, environmental and community groups opposing this development.
Banning unconventional gas production and fracking
85% of the Territory is under application for exploration of petroleum and gas. A moratorium initiated by the NT Government is in place on fracking whilst another fracking inquiry is undertaken. The threats to groundwater and industrialisation of the landscape remain until there is a complete ban on fracking.
Repowering Alice Springs to 100% renewable energy
ALEC is continuing to lead discussions with key agencies in pushing for a solar powered future for the region. ALEC is also supporting the community group RePower Alice Springs to advocate for 100% solar power by 2030.
Building collaboration across the Ten Deserts
ALEC's work on the Ten Deserts initiative continues to support the protection of the natural and cultural values of our vast and relatively intact desert country. In 2017, ALEC will be increasing its work in supporting a very large grant funded opportunity to build capability and capacity of indigenous rangers engaged in managing desert country. www.tendeserts.org
Strengthening environmental protection laws
The Northern Territory has the weakest environmental laws in Australia. ALEC will be engaging in the NT Government’s environmental regulatory reform process, and advocating for a stronger, independent Environment Protection Authority.
Increasing local food resilience
Through Food For Alice and the Alice Springs Community Garden ALEC will be continuing to build local food resilience via increasing local food production, supporting a weekly local produce market, and ongoing education and workshops on food production in arid Australia.
Developing Arid Edge Environmental Services
ALEC will continue to develop its social enterprise Arid Edge Environmental Services to deliver landscape design and management services, garden tune-ups, waste and energy audits, and remote food gardens and nutrition programs.