Tim Flannery, Adriana Vergés, Rebecca Huntley & Emma Johnston: We Still Need to Talk About Climate Change
In January we watched helplessly as Australia burned. Over 18 million hectares were destroyed, and more than a billion animals were killed. It was clear to those on both sides of politics that Australia needed immediate climate action. Flash forward and the all-encompassing nature of COVID-19 has made it almost impossible to talk about anything else, but the imperatives of climate change have not gone away. So how do we restart the conversation on climate?
In Australia, despite the work of our world-leading scientists, climate change is a vexed political topic, rather than a question of science and policy. As we grapple with the new normal of bushfires and water shortages, on top of pandemic recovery, how can we take the politics out of these important issues? How can we bring communities together to think about change? Join climate scientist and author of The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery, marine ecologist Adriana Vergés, social researcher, author of How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference, Rebecca Huntley and marine biologist and Dean of Science at UNSW Sydney, Emma Johnston to find out how we might turn these pressing climate conversations into climate solutions.
We cannot have climate deniers in the parliament because it is an absolute dereliction of their duty to the community to not believe in climate science and say they represent the interest of the Australian community and the future.
Yes we’ve made a great mess of the planet. We’ve caused this problem, but if we caused it we can fix it.
Over the years the two things which I think have worked most effectively for addressing climate change are: focusing on solutions and engaging with emotions.
Tim Flannery was Australian of the Year 2007, and Australia's Climate Commissioner 2011-2013. He is Chief Councillor and co-founder of the Climate Council. He has published over 30 books, including ecological histories of Europe, Australia and North America, and has discovered and named 30 species of living mammals mostly from Melanesia.
Adriana Vergés is a marine ecologist and conservationist in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UNSW Sydney. Vergés' research focuses on the ecological impacts of climate change and the conservation of the world’s algal forests and seagrass meadows. Much of her research takes place underwater. Vergés is passionate about communicating science to the wider public, especially through films, art and new media.
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia's most experienced social researchers and former director of The Mind and Mood Report, the longest running measure of the nation's attitudes and trends. She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in gender studies, and is a mum to three young children. It was realising she is part of the problem older generation that caused her change of heart and to dedicate herself to researching our attitudes to climate change. She is a member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Corps, carries out social research for NGOs such as The Wilderness Society and WWF, and writes and presents for the ABC.
Professor Emma Johnston AO is a marine scientist at UNSW Sydney and a national advocate for improved environmental management and conservation. Emma studies human impacts in the oceans including pervasive threats such as climate change, plastic pollution, and invasive species. Emma conducts her research in diverse marine environments from the Great Barrier Reef to icy Antarctica and provides management recommendations to industry and government. In recognition of her contributions to environmental science, communications, and management, Emma has received numerous awards including the Australian Academy of Science’s Nancy Millis Medal, the Royal Society of New South Wales Clark Medal, the Eureka prize for Science Communication, and in 2018 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). She is immediate past President of Science & Technology Australia, a current Board Member of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Co-Chief Author of the Australian Government’s State of Environment Report 2021. Emma is a high-profile science communicator and television presenter for the ongoing BBC/Foxtel series, Coast Australia and has appeared multiple times on ABC Catalyst, The Drum and Q&A. Emma is currently Dean of Science and Professor of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology at UNSW Sydney.