It was lovely to hear the stories Peter had to tell us about the life-changing experience people can have on the Bay. These are the experiences that contribute to people’s positive Sense of Place – they become internalised, part of the fabric of the full picture of our own lives.
If you haven’t listened to the episode yet, here it is:
It’s long been recognised that the natural world provides benefits beyond the physical. In the early part of this century the UN, considering the changes to our natural world, called for an assessment of the ways humans benefited from natural systems. The resulting report was The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and it found that aside from provisioning us with goods, supporting further life, and protecting us against the ill-effects of overbalanced systems, healthy natural environments also provide societies with the things that make us human.
Cultural, historic and family connections; spiritual refreshment; recreational experiences; learning and knowledge; even healing – these are all vital to what makes us feel whole, as people.
Did you know, for example, people recover faster from surgery when they can see nature from their windows? And that nature-exposure has been found to decrease crime and aggression in urban environments?
Accessing the water
Many times throughout this podcast series, guests have talked about threats to Moreton Bay that originate on the land. It can be really difficult to address issues such as sediment from upper catchments, or trash that makes it down stormwater drains from the inner city.
One of the things we know is that appreciation and care for the environment goes hand-in-hand with the ability to access it. Getting people out on the water opens people’s eyes to an experience they then realise they don’t want to miss out on. You can’t value what you don’t know exists!
SAILS at Bayside’s approach is aimed at providing an experience for humans that may empower them – whether it’s through feeling camaraderie, contributing to a team, feeling safe to be themselves, or just plain refreshing and rejuvenating them. In this sense, Moreton Bay is the tool they use to achieve this. But in the long run Moreton Bay is likely to receive benefit too, as people remember and care for a place that is some small way nurtured them.
Faith and conservation
SAILS at Bayside is an outreach arm of some of our local Anglican parishes. Although their vision isn’t specifically about looking after the environment, it was clear during my chat with Peter that respecting the Bay and contributing to its health is part of the fabric of what they do.
80% of people worldwide hold faith-based beliefs. As faith is a big determinant of people’s attitudes and behaviours, conservationists today are strongly motivated to learn about, and engage with religious institutions and believers, in an equitable, tolerant manner.
It’s not necessarily an easy task to bring people of different faiths together, and there are challenges as well as benefits to bringing care for the natural world into the realm of people’s spiritual and religious practices.
If you’d like to volunteer with SAILS at Bayside, there are a number of opportunities! To help out with the sailing and kayaking days (either on the water or for administrative support), SAILS at Bayside asks for people who are of a Christian faith, and who have or can obtain a blue card (working with children). If that doesn’t suit, though, volunteering at ye old Bunnings sausage sizzle only requires you can flip a sanger or fold some bread 😂
Keep an eye on the Active Parks calendar if you’d like to take part in a sailing or kayaking event!