I want to bring to your attention a very important meeting happening at the Callaghan Campus of UON on Friday with the hope that you or a representative of your organisation might attend.
Community group Newcastle Climate Change Response, which involves people from all walks of life committed to preventing the worst impacts of climate change, has organised the community-driven, cross-sectoral one-day Hunter Climate Summit.
The summit is intended to bring together diverse organisations to collaborate on a new, broad, inclusive and solution-oriented conversation in the region about how to best address the climate emergency.
The climate crisis is an issue we hear about daily - actually, it is now a climate emergency as we approach the tipping points that will soon come - and is something that will affect us all deeply. But many of us are yet to really consider how it will affect our workplace and our home life.
Climate change is a wicked problem partly because it has such a long lead-time and is hard to imagine, and therefore "make real". Climate change will affect all population groups in all locations, yet some will be far more vulnerable to its impacts than others. Those experiencing various forms of social exclusion and disadvantage will fare disproportionately the worst from climate change, because adaptive capacity and resilience is dependent on access to financial, material and social resources - climate change will discriminate between communities based on their socio-economic status.
A recent survey on coastal adaptation to climate change and sea level rise found that the greatest challenges for organisations responsible for managing and adapting to these impacts were: engaging with the community; and conflict between decision-makers and the coastal community (think Stockton). The purpose of the Hunter Climate Summit is to launch the genuinely cross-sectoral conversation needed to progress action on adapting to the climate emergency on a local level, and to work towards ensuring the range of voices and perspectives driving the climate adaptation discussion includes those most vulnerable to it.
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts is from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle.