Community Solutions in a Changing Climate

Published on 13 August 2019

Around 200 people attended this event at the Burrinja Cultural Centre in Upwey on Friday 9th August.  The event was a cross functional collaboration with Council and community groups assisting in the organising and promotion of the event.

Ellen Kimball founder of the Hills Community for Climate Action was our MC for evening and we heard from 11 year old Maleka Steel from Kick Ass Climate Action – a youth group based out of Yarra Valley ECOSS in Wesburn.

Uncle Dave Wandin provided an excellent Welcome to Country highlighting it is now believed indigenous Australians have lived in this country for some 120,000 years and have seen and adapted to changes in climate during this time.  He said we needed food, water and shelter, the fundamentals for sustaining life.

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Tony Stevenson, was applauded when he announced that at the recent Australian Local Government Association’s assembly in Canberra the overwhelming majority of Council’s represented voted to call on the federal government to declare a national climate emergency.  Cr Stevenson then went on to highlight some of the sustainable achievements Council has made including over 3000 solar panels on 36 Council buildings generating over 1MW of power, 800,000 plants provided in our ribbons of Green program, 2 electric vehicles recently joining the fleet and support for community renewable energy groups.

Our first main speaker was Dr Susie Burke, an environmental psychologist, who presented on “Psychological Strategies to stay engaged and act on Climate Change”(PDF, 1MB)

Our 2nd speaker was Associate Professor Lauren Richards from RMIT who spoke on “Strengthening Community Resilience” (PDF, 3MB)

Cr Stevenson, Uncle Dave Wandin, Dr Susie Burke and A/Prof Lauren Richards formed a panel on stage to answer a host of questions from the audience with the main themes:

  • Shelter and support for vulnerable families on extreme fire danger days
  • Food security in a changing climate
  • Greenhouse emissions from increased tourism
  • Emergency management in the face of a changed climate for both locals and visitors

Many thanks to our guest speakers and to the many supporting community groups that made the event the success that it was.

Images captured on the night