Siwan Lovett

Siwan Lovett is a social scientist and advocate for healthy rivers and wetlands. She is passionate about engaging with local communities and motivating people to love and care for their natural environment. For Siwan, water is life.

Siwan LovettThe importance of water . . .

There is a saying that ‘water is life’, and that is true, we use it every day. It sustains us and our homes, and it is a precious resource.

When I am out walking along riverbanks, wetlands, creeks and streams, you see the impact of environments that have enough water to thrive, and those that don’t.

I spend my working life raising awareness about the importance of rivers for not only our economic, but also our social and spiritual wellbeing. This means that for me, water defines my life. It brings together the communities I work with who want to protect and restore their watery assets, and motivates me to continue caring for and celebrating the wonders water brings to people and places.

Where do you go to get away from it all?

I live in Canberra – the bush capital – with suburbs surrounded by nature reserves, gardens and beautiful open spaces. I love the inland high-country with four distinct seasons. From our home, we look out onto Mount Ainslie where I spend a lot of time walking and enjoying time with my dogs.

My favourite place to get away from it all is somewhere that has a river, stream or wetland close by, a great view over a landscape empty of man-made structures, and a spot for my camper trailer to be pitched.

I am fortunate to have a family and friends who love driving out into far-flung places and who revel with me in the space and enormity of Australia.

I find that when I look out into the vastness that is the Australian landscape, my life gets put into perspective. I feel the demands and expectations start to lessen, and a sense of connection and contentment starts to grow.

It is a gift that nature provides for free, and I try to access it as much as I can.

So, there is no one place for me, rather it is a combination of having my husband Tom and son Finn with me, my close friends, and an opportunity to sit, gaze out, breathe and enjoy all that nature offers.

How often do you go there?

As often as we can pack the camper trailer up and head out into the bush, or, if we only have a weekend, a local river or creek.

When work and school gets busy, we walk up onto Mount Ainslie to try and capture some of that sense of space and connection to nature that we get when we go camping.

Most years, we have a long trip of at least two weeks where we go into the outback, with our recent trip taking us to the Flinders Ranges, Strezlecki Track and onto Innamincka and Thargominda, where we stayed on cattle stations and appreciated a totally different life to the one we live in Canberra.

Our next trip will be to Lake Mungo and the Menindee Lakes... there is always one being planned, and Australia is so amazing. There are so many places to go.

How do you feel when you are there?

When I reflect on my life, I realise how fortunate I am to work, rest and play along rivers, creeks and wetlands.

I am privileged to work with people across Australia and, while we might not always agree on how we should manage water to meet different needs, I have found that if you take the time to build a relationship, have a conversation, and consider each other’s point of view, you find more that you agree than not. A common love for the river facilitates finding solutions, rather than focusing on who is right and who is wrong.

Being near water does that to you. Our bodies become more relaxed, our thinking is clearer and we are more creative.

I believe that if we had more meetings in boats and kayaks, floating downstream and appreciating each other’s views, we would do even better at sharing and managing our wonderful life-giving rivers.

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