The ‘Wollongong, Let’s Get Salty’ Podcast Mission


Featured image: Towradgi Blue, Chilby Photography.


Blend ESQ is an Illawarra-based consultancy specialising in providing Environment, Safety, and Quality (ESQ) management support for businesses. Director Robyn Johnson “aims to energise industry to ‘up’ their sustainability game, and is passionate about scaling improvements for the betterment of regional industry, while positively influencing project outcomes, teams, the community and environment as a whole.”


Why the podcast?

The ‘Wollongong, Let’s Get Salty’ Podcast concept (launched 2 May 2022) came to life surrounded by the underwater sounds of an ocean pool, Robyn’s favourite way to get salty and immerse herself in nature. “I realised that my deep connection with nature and local community were essential precursors to caring for and wanting to protect the environment, and that more is happening within industry than people may perceive. By sharing positive stories we can build momentum for change.” 


A salty conversation

Robyn and Operations Manager, Catherine Wade discuss mission, sustainability, and an actionable agenda to drive global and local change in Season 1, Episode 3 of the podcast. With decades of industry, environmental management, and ESQ experience between them, this salty conversation covers a range of practical and timely topics.

The enthusiastic sustainability advocates discuss what pivoted them towards driving sustainable change in the Wollongong area. They reflect on the work of other passionate change-makers, and how incremental changes at home can make a big difference to the future of our planet.


Photo source: Robyn Johnson


Inspired by future generations

Robyn had an eye-opening moment a couple of years ago, whilst working as the Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a proposed coal mine in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Prompted by questions from year 5 students, Robyn realised that she had become complacent about global environmental issues and progress in technology.

This inspired her to reassess the direction she was heading with her work.

Armed with new curiosity for practical solutions for better environmental management, Robyn and Catherine are shifting their focus from working towards compliance with our inadequate environmental laws to working with businesses that are pushing for more sustainable operations.


Photo source: Venture & Gain Agency.


Reinforced by a life outdoors and a love of nature

Catherine’s passion for nature and experiences as a child have fueled her desire to work with organisations to achieve sustainability goals. “As a child we explored Cape York and all its magnificent wildlife and landscapes. We were lucky enough last year to escape shortly before lockdown and take the kids to all those places I had loved so much. My experiences, immersed in the natural world, increased my love and appreciation for the environment. I hope my children’s experiences will reinforce in them the need to live a sustainable lifestyle to conserve and protect all these amazing places.”


Having a connection with nature is beneficial for the well-being of both humans and the natural world. Read more about ecopsychology in our Connection with Nature article. If people don’t feel connected to their environment, they won’t have a desire to protect it.


Parents can influence their children to have a sense of connection to nature which may be critical for future nature conservation. Catherine believes behavioural change is needed “Each time I look back just 12 months, I can see a trail of behaviours that I’ve learned to change. Our general waste collection each week has shrunk to barely one small biodegradable bag, we walk or ride bikes wherever we can, our red meat consumption has reduced, and we have installed solar, producing more power than we use. Make small and continuous changes to your lifestyle and the difference over time will be immense.”


Photo source: Catherine Wade, Robyn Johnson and landscape by Chilby Photography.


Building momentum for rapid local change

The team at Blend ESQ believe as a community, Wollongong can be an example of how local action by a collection of individuals and business leaders can transform a world-renowned industrial centre into an activated green sustainable city. Robyn says, “Wollongong is unique and we have an opportunity to lead – we have key infrastructure and an industry sector ready for transformational change, a highly engaged university, a forward-thinking local government, and a community that’s passionate about its environment.”


Through the ‘Wollongong, Let’s Get Salty’ Podcast Robyn will be sharing conversations with individuals leading the way, to highlight ideas and actions that build momentum to drive real change. “We can showcase to the world how we can transform an industrial centre into a clean energy precinct and a sustainable city. We have the ability to address our water issues and enhance local flora and fauna, and it’s not binary. We can have a thriving industry and address social inequities whilst protecting our natural environment… I want to motivate people to take those actions.”


Photo source: Robyn Johnson with Catherine Wade, Operations Manager of Blend ESQ, Andy Evans, CEO of Oceanex Energy and Brad Chilby of Chilby Photography


Drawing on environmental management expertise

To Robyn, “Let’s Get Salty” means “immersing myself in the ocean and feeling that deep connection to nature. When I feel that, I really care about the environment, and I want to do more to protect it. Working with Blend ESQ to assist communities and businesses to reach their sustainability outcomes is a great way of achieving those goals and to really make a difference”.


Blend ESQ believes in a culture of cooperation, working in collaboration with a network of specialist consulting firms, industry professionals, and regional partners towards sustainability and strength. Whether you need to extend ESQ capabilities or simply require expert advice and one-off consulting services, get in touch with our Director Robyn Johnson to discuss tailored solutions for your business, industry group, or project.


Graphics/ Photography credits:



Blend ESQ About the author