2010-2019 was confirmed as the warmest decade that scientists have ever recorded. Across the globe during that decade, we experienced hurricanes, droughts, massive wildfires, floods and other climate disasters.Back to Top
Urgent climate action is a shared responsibility that it is important we take on together as a planet as climate change affects every country on every continent. Climate change disrupts all our national economies and affects our livelihoods and health. Weather patterns have changed, sea levels have risen, and weather events have unfortunately become more extreme.
Creating a prosperous future for ourselves and our future generations depends on us making greener planetary decisions about the environment by creating more cycling infrastructure and green spaces, building fewer roads, being better with our waste and recycling, improving our air quality, and building more energy efficient homes.
The UN Secretary-General has outlined six climate-positive actions that our governments can take once they go about building back their economies and societies post-COVID:
To begin truly addressing the climate emergency as a planet, it's important that post-pandemic recovery plans trigger long-term systemic shifts to change the rise of CO2 levels.
Governments all around the world have spent a lot of time and energy to develop plans to ensure a more sustainable future for society. Climate action requires us all to implement these plans and make them successful together.
Ultimately, only by taking global climate action steps to reduce carbon emissions can we make a positive impact on other local community issues, like creating jobs and reducing inequality, and improving air quality and public health.
There are many advantages to us all taking action on climate change, such as improving our family’s health, creating more low-carbon jobs availability, and reducing inequality.
The climate crisis will continue unabated unless we all join together as a global community to mitigate our impact on the environment rather than shy away from the full commitment that is required from us for its reversal. Together, we can impact positive change for climate action!
“Climate change is relevant and happening now.
We need to stand up and make change.
The more you do, the quicker this will no longer be a problem but a solution. This affects your jobs, homes, power, lifestyle.”
“Climate change is REAL. It affects you! What are you going to do about it?”
“Climate change is everyone’s problem. It demands immediate transformation of the way we live. From the bottom up. And responsible, effective policies from our representative governments on clean energy, independence, smart technology and innovation in the sustainability agenda, by people like you.”
“97% of scientists agree that climate change isn’t just a problem for the future – it’s happening here and now. Our current generation needs to support effective climate policy to lower our carbon footprint and protect those we love from the risks of climate change.”
“The effects of climate change on your daily life are more significant than you think. The flooding in your back yard, the changing food prices in the local market and so on. And it will become more extreme with the temperature increase. Take action now to reduce the global emissions. Talk to your local authority to see what you can do for a more sustainable future.”
Young people are ahead of the curve. They are not sitting around debating whether climate change is real or not. They are not interested in engaging the sceptics they want to debate the solutions not the science.
Young people are in a unique position as they face the reality of a changing climate: potentially they are best-placed to push for and define the long-term societal response to climate change, yet they’re also the most vulnerable to the legacy of decisions made by older generations. Although young adults arguably have the most to gain and the most to lose in a changing climate, their voices are not prominent, and engagement with climate change among this crucial demographic is in many ways limited.
Author: Young Voices for the Planet, 2016
Climate change affects us in every country in the world on every continent. Continued carbon pollution from using fossil fuels is warming our globe and throwing natural environments and systems off balance.
The impacts of carbon pollution can be seen from your doorstep wherever you are in the world. Hotter seasonal temperatures, stronger thunderstorms, rising sea levels, and so much more. These impacts endanger our food systems, our health and the livelihoods of our families now as well as the future of those who are growing up amid this reality.
So, what is happening and why? Let’s start with the fundamentals.
Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) create carbon pollution, warming our planet and causing climate change.
The more carbon pollution we create, the more the sun’s energy is trapped as heat. Which means the world will keep getting hotter.
For example, glacial cycles are driven by wobbles in the Earth’s orbit. Greenhouse gases and polar ice sheets respond to this wobble and enhance the warming/cooling cycle of the earth by 2-3°C. Other natural phenomena cause variability at decadal and inter-annual scales: changes in sea surface temperature, ocean currents and the associated changes in the atmospheric circulations (eg. the El Niño-Southern Oscillation). The resultant changes to the climate from these phenomena are considered to be natural variation.
The study of the climate and its variations, extremes and shifts is not a new science; Svante Arrhenius suggested in 1896 that burning of fossil fuels might cause an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and in turn warm the Earth. However, the recent succession of unusually warm years and extreme climatic events has heightened awareness and climate change is now a mainstream media topic, in recent times moving to headline status. The intensity of interest is placing considerable pressure on the capacity of the scientific community to respond to the concerns being raised.
Until very recently much of the media attention centred on the sceptics who put up counter arguments to the existence of climate change, pointing to the 5°C difference in global average temperatures between the glacial and inter-glacial periods (>10,000 year cycles) as evidence that recent temperature trends are within normal variation. These sceptics played a very important role in forcing the scientists to produce evidence of rigorous analysis of their scenarios and projections. If current trends continue, scientists predict temperature rises of up to 5°C over the next century, causing major perturbation of natural and human systems.
Warmer global temperatures have real reverberations for everyone on the planet—not just the polar bears. Rising sea levels around the globe (of nearly 20cm (7.8 inches) since 1901), are swallowing islands and changing the coastlines of populated cities like Melbourne, New York, and Dakar.
We are also seeing more extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, and droughts that are more frequent and intense. Consider the recent events in 2021 that saw a series of powerful tornadoes intensified by severe storms tear across seven central and southern US states.
No doubt you’ve heard of the phrase “global warming”? According to an ongoing temperature study conducted by experts at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature of our world has increased by just over 1° Celsius (2° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Check out this visual interactive of just how the world heat map has changed since the year 2000.
Citation: (Carter, O'Malley, Perkins & Singhal, 2021)
We often refer to “climate change”, the “greenhouse effect”, and “global warming” interchangeably, and while they are profoundly linked, they are not exactly the same thing.
Global warming explicitly indicates the long-term warming of average global surface and ocean temperatures across the entire planet due to multiple factors, including the increase of the naturally occurring greenhouse effect.
Our global temperature has shown a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and notably so since the late 1970s.
The Earth would be much colder if not for the ‘greenhouse’ gases that provide a blanket for us all that warms the atmosphere. Some of the gases in the atmosphere transmit the short-wave radiation from the Sun to the Earth, warming its surface.
Some of this warmth is emitted in the form of long-wave (infrared) radiation from the Earth to the atmosphere and some of the gases in the atmosphere absorb and reemit radiation of this wavelength, effectively enhancing the warming of the lower atmosphere.
These gases are called greenhouse gases because their ‘greenhouse effect’ is similar to the function of a glass greenhouse that heats up as infrared radiation is trapped by the glass.
Author: NASA Climate Change
Climate change is directly caused by the rise in global temperatures that impacts the long-term average weather patterns of a region. Climate change is a broad, all-encompassing term for the consequence of the warming process outlined above.
The term covers everything from the increasing incidence of extreme weather events—including powerful hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe droughts—to the increased frequency and duration of more flooding and heatwaves. In addition, climate change includes the accelerated ice melt that's happening in our polar ice caps and the subsequent rise in global sea levels. It's also the worsening pollen seasons that spread vector-borne diseases and much more.
In 2016, Northlakes High School students took on the challenge of the complex topic of Climate Change and created this magnificent book “Climate Change is a Shared Responsibility” so we could all understand the science and know how to take action.
So, here's what we know for sure:
However! All is not lost. As we also have the ability to be agents of change! It’s clear across the globe that we need to switch to clean, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Renewable energy doesn't add greenhouse gases to our atmosphere and they’re better for our planet and our health.
We can speak up to our families, our schools, our local communities, as well as our local and national companies about actions we can all take together to tackle climate change and become advocates for positive climate action. Depending on who you are keen to raise awareness with and how you wish to start the conversation, you can follow this solutions-driven framework as advocated by Director of WorkForClimate, Lucy Piper in the article below. While she suggests the technique from within a company, you can use the same model to begin a dialogue to promote change.
Use the ‘Feel, Know, Do’ triad to outline your points to your chosen target audience about initiatives they can take:
Read the article below for solutions-inspiration to put the model into practice.
Credit: (Piper, 2022)
Humans do not live on this planet in isolation either, and yet our impacts on climate change are felt by all life on our planet. Earth is composed of many vital biogeochemical systems, which are in delicate balance. However, as humans—due to our rapid population growth and explosive product consumption—we have destabilised many of these Earth processes, endangering not only the stability of our own future generations but those of the many flora and fauna species that inhabit this planet with us.
Johan Rockström, founding director of Sweden’s Stockholm Resilience Centre, gathered together an international, multiskilled team of scientists together in the mid-2000s to collaborate on a single aim. The aim was to define the Earth’s many biosystems that we need to keep balanced for a “safe operating space for humanity” here on Earth. In 2009, the centre shared its work as the Planetary Boundaries Framework, which outlined nine key planetary processes that we must respect and rebalance to keep the planet habitable.
Counterclockwise from top these nine planetary boundaries are:
Together, we need to ensure the stability of the nine planetary processes to maintain the Earth’s ecosystems, atmosphere, and oceans in the delicate balance that has so far allowed humans to thrive. However, these are also the very biosystems that our human activities have impacted most profoundly through climate change.
Citation: (J. Lokrantz/Azote based on Steffen et al., 2015)
Citation: ("About Doughnut Economics | DEAL", 2021)
First published in an Oxfam report by Kate Raworth in 2012, the Doughnut concept expands on the Planetary Boundaries Framework vision and looks at how humanity can thrive in the 21st century.
The Doughnut Economics is the supporting economics model that explores the mindset and approaches that we need to help get us there. Explore the Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist in the below animations!
Citation: ("Get Animated! Introducing the Seven Ways | DEAL", 2021)
The Doughnut Economics proposes a move towards a circular economy. For example, considering not just how we recycle better—but how do we create systems where waste doesn’t exist? Or how do we put processes and technologies in place, so that an output from one user/sector is immediately utilised as a valuable resource by another.
The outcoming process would be circular then in shape, where waste that is created feeds back into the entire system as fuel for an industry and a source of energy rather than becoming an affliction and issue to deal with. Doughnut Economics calls for us to transform our current degenerative economies into regenerative ones, and turn divisive economies into far more distributive ones to reduce our impact on biosystems and human systems alike.
A continued increase of global temperatures to 2°C compared to the temperatures of our planet's pre-industrial times will mean severe negative impacts on the Earth's five natural systems (geosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere) as well as human health and wellbeing. As the infographic depicts below our impact on climate change and its subsequent extreme weather is far reaching.
For this reason, the global community has recognised the need to keep warming well below 2°C and to pursue efforts that limit the rise to 1.5 or 1.75°C at most. Even this will affect us, but not nearly so severely as the infographic below demonstrates.
The main purpose of the COP conference in Poland was to finalise the Paris agreement and set objectives to achieve that goal. The hope is that with the right amount of climate action together towards change, global warming will not rise by 2.0 degrees. Watch this video to learn more about the importance of just 2.0 degrees in temperature has such a significant global impact.
Author: BBC News
The Paris Agreement on climate change and subsequent Paris Agreement work programme (PAWP) was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Paris Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) 21, on 12 December 2015. A groundbreaking global achievement, the Paris Agreement united governments and political leaders all over the world to increase the ambition of their emissions cuts.
France's Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said this "ambitious and balanced" plan was an "historic turning point" in the goal of reducing global warming. However, some others criticised the fact that significant sections are "promises" or aims and not firm commitments by the countries. ("2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference - Wikipedia", 2021)
"The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius." ("Key aspects of the Paris Agreement", 2021)
For more information on the Paris COP21 Summit visit here.
To gain a good chance of holding the temperature increase down to this level will require zero net global emissions by the middle of the century. Such an aim is not impossible, but it would require many things to go well. We cannot leave problems of climate change to future generations. The whole world, with Australia contributing its full share, would have to move quickly to zero net emissions to meet the climate action challenge of holding the temperature rise to 1.5 or 1.75°C. It’s good to be optimistic about change, but it’s up to us! Watch this video to learn more about why we can dare to dream of a safe and sustainable future planet.
Author: Al Gore | TED 2016
Climate change adaptation and mitigation agricultural systems hold the key for the largest readily achievable contributions to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Worldwide agriculture generates one third of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
A core challenge of the agriculture sector is to feed an ever-increasing global population. However, at every stage of agriculture and food provisioning, the processes involved release large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Farming especially releases significant amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, two potent greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere. While the sector aims to meet the needs of our planet for food, at the same time, climate action requires a significant reduction in agriculture's environmental impact to preserve natural resources for future generations.
Over the last few years, we have seen encouraging signs that the global agriculture sector is capable of meeting its environmental challenge. Farmers worldwide have started to make improvements in the usage and control of pesticides, nutrients, energy sources, and water, using less of these components per land unit. Many farmers have also started to adopt more environmentally friendly farming practises, such as improved manure storage, conservation tillage, or soil nutrient testing.
There is still more to do, though, and policymakers, political leaders, and stakeholders in the agro-food value chain who are all involved in the conversations surrounding this work have an essential role in supporting further green changes in agriculture. Explore this interactive website from the BBC to discover how a ‘transfarmation’ move can help positive climate action.
Citation: (Ro, 2021)
Climate change affects Australia’s natural environment and the human systems it supports. Agriculture in Australia is especially impacted by the changing weather patterns and rising temperatures caused by climate change. The global community appreciates that some countries will take longer than others to achieve its goals of complete decarbonisation. So Australia’s fair share of the global objectives will be zero net emissions before mid-century—earlier still if we start serious reduction slowly, as we have done.
Even 1.75°C on average over the Earth’s surface—the most optimistic outcome of the global mitigation efforts to slow temperature rise— presents a massive adaptation challenge for Australia. However, it is a challenge that we must work together as Australia is one of the most vulnerable to damage from climate change.
According to the United Nations, “Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts. It refers to changes in processes, practises, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change”. ("What does adaptation to climate change and climate resilience mean?", 2021)
Australia was once a global leader for climate change as one of the first countries to invest millions in adaptation, in particular its initiative for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility in 2008.
Unfortunately, a growing politicisation of climate action in the following years meant funding dried up at the government level, and Australia’s national adaptation efforts slowly diminished. In 2021, Australia ranked among 54 nations on its national strategy for dealing with climate change.
There is still a window of opportunity open to Australia to respond urgently to the need to reduce global emissions and support communities to collaborate and respond together to the ongoing climate crisis.
As well as doing our part at a local level, this strategy also requires our government to reinvest in climate adaptation science, to initiate and carry out risk assessments, and to implement policies that will protect our homes and livelihoods from drought, floods, fires, and rising temperatures.
Australia’s long-term strategy and domestic actions are built on a plan that includes emissions monitoring and building accountability systems. The nation is also exploring more environmentally friendly forms of energy sources. One such example is making climate change work for us and taking advantage of the rising temperatures and longer heatwaves to optimise solar energy. Check out the infographic below to see which areas of Australia are leading the charge on renewable energy.
Taking solar one step further, Australia’s most recent and most prominent renewable energy infrastructure project intends to support Singapore with solar energy while at the same time injecting billions of dollars into the economy and creating a significant number of jobs.
The Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) will build a solar energy infrastructure network that will deliver competitively priced, dispatchable, high volume renewable energy to Darwin and Singapore.
Once complete, Sun Cable’s outlined Australian-ASEAN Power Link will prove Australia as a world leader in the transmission of renewable electricity across continents. This initiative will renew our country’s position on the world stage as an energy exporting powerhouse.
Climate change is a challenge for every sector of the Australian economy, especially for those revolving around natural resources, such as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
Just as with the rest of the world, Australia's climate is becoming more unstable. We can directly see the impacts of climate change in the differences we are experiencing in rainfall, temperature and extreme weather events, which have all had significant effects on the farming community across the nation.
There is much uncertainty for everyone involved over the long-run effects of climate change on farm businesses. The infographic below shows the results of ABARES' latest modelling, and it examines the impact of recent—as well as possible future changes—in climate on Australian farm profitability. Productivity trends are also highlighted in the infographic, showing how—by adapting farms to new initiatives—farmers have offset the effects of the hotter and drier conditions occurring so far.
The current adaptation and land management practises that have been adopted by the land sector already play an important role in beginning to increase resilience to and mitigate the physical impacts of climate change.
Taking climate action also provides new opportunities for the land sector, and it will influence our actions, choices and decisions in many areas. For example, there are financial opportunities available for the sector in diversification that can also offer environmental advantages while improving productivity and increasing resilience to climate change.
Companies like CSIRO work with industries, enterprises and communities who are affected by climate change to help them adapt by:
Check out this article by CSIRO to dive into further information on approaches to how communities can support agricultural businesses adapting to climate change.
Authors: Chris Stokes and Mark Howden, CSIRO | Citation: (Stokes & Howden, 2021)
In Australia, livestock gas emissions are responsible for about 70% of greenhouse gas emissions of the agricultural sector and 11% of the total volume for national greenhouse gas emissions. If the herd numbers are able to recover from the recent years of drought, then gas emissions are only projected to increase, potentially reaching 82 million tonnes by the year 2030.
This volume makes Australia's livestock the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the energy and transport sectors. Livestock are the lead source of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), and their 'emissions' account for 56% and 73%, respectively, of Australia's released gases. ("Reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions | Agriculture and Food", 2021)
There are 4 main approaches that farmers can leverage to reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions:
Reducing emissions in the agricultural sector is a win-win for farmers. There are also financial opportunities for the sector that can provide environmental advantages while increasing resilience and improving productivity during this changing climate.
Australian companies like CSIRO are also researching to develop new technologies and agricultural practises that will support land managers and farmers to respond to the changing weather patterns, including increased temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels.
The next decade promises a digital revolution for the agricultural sector in response to climate change. The Crawford Fund, established by The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in June 1987, is a non-profit, non-government organisation leading the charge in agricultural R&D. The Fund aims to raise awareness to increase support for international agricultural research, organise hands-on training for agricultural researchers in developing countries, offer master classes for future research leaders, and support two types of awards, all to raise awareness of the benefits of agricultural research.
Explore the following report from the Crawford Fund’s most recent annual conference, titled ‘Transforming Lives and Livelihoods: The Digital Revolution in Agriculture’, that focuses on the current and future likely impact of a digital revolution for smallholder farmers.
Author: The Crawford Fund | Citation: (The Crawford Fund, 2021)
Australian farmers have demonstrated much resilience in the face of the droughts of the last decade and handling the global pandemic while producing record-breaking output in 2020-21.
But though the pain of the drought experience might have begun to fade for some, the challenge of facing climate change continues to loom ahead. The future will require further innovation and adaptation especially as farmers are first to notice changing weather patterns.
Fortunately, there are many Australian initiatives working alongside farmers’ and combining their community voice together to be heard about action on climate change on a national and state level.
Originally a US-based company, Corteva Agriscience launched itself into Australia in 2019. Corteva drives product development and agriculture research in support of smallholder farmers. The core purpose of Corteva Agriscience is its intent to enrich the lives of food producers and consumers. To achieve this, the company helps farmers to combine the right mix of seeds, crop protection and digital solutions to provide maximum yield, improve output and increase profitability as much as possible.
Corteva recognises that, "We now live in a world where food production and distribution efficiency needs to improve as our global population continues to grow, and a world where consumer expectations for safe, nutritious food have never been higher, and farmers are facing pressure like never before". ("Welcome to Corteva Agriscience'', 2021)
Corteva supports farmers through climate change by researching current trends in plant sciences, examining agricultural big data and digital solutions, and optimising cutting-edge technology for land management uses.
The company also set up its own climate action award; the Climate Positive Leaders Program. This is a global nomination-based recognition program designed to identify and showcase farmers and ranchers across the world who are early adopters of climate positive practises.
A prime example of a leading voice in the Australian agriculture conversation about taking positive climate action is Dr Anika Molesworth. Anika draws on her rich and diverse experiences as a scientist and farmer in her book, Our Sunburnt Country.
Author: Dr Anika Molesworth
Dr Anika Molesworth is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming, environmental conservation and climate change action. Hailing from her family's sheep station near Broken Hill, Anika is an agroecologist with a Masters of Sustainable Agriculture, and a PhD in Agricultural Science. She has been working in international agricultural development for the past six years, giving her a holistic perspective of agricultural issues at global scale. Anika is a founding director of Farmers for Climate Action, she writes frequently on her own website Climate Wise Agriculture and is a prominent youth voice in rural Australia with the Young Farming Champions Leadership Team.
In her book, Our Sunburnt Country, Anika provides ideas and approaches to protect our land, our food producing livelihoods, and our future for the generations that will follow us all. She believes that the possibility to achieve this is within our grasp.
Anika speaks of optimism for the future, and believes it's up to all of us as a collective to harness the courage together to overcome climate change. She addresses the ongoing need to educate, inform, and motivate people to act on the climate issue. She urges us all to be more involved; to add your voice to those speaking up about the lack of political representation for farmers; to better understand the processes involved in the food producing sector; to appreciate the diversity and hard world it takes to grow food, fruit and vegetables in Australia; and to join in the initiatives to reduce waste.
Anika is an advocate of the move towards a circular economy too, supporting the approaches that ask not just how we recycle better? But how do we create systems where waste doesn’t exist? She encourages putting processes and technologies in place, so that an output from one user/sector is immediately utilised as a valuable resource by another. Anika has multiple ‘purposes’ with her book and speaks at conferences around the globe about the same issues she raises within her pages. She discusses educating ourselves and others on what’s happening around the world, taking action on climate change, the health of rural communities, how we can improve nature conservation, supporting farming and farmers, and protecting our wildlife and environment. In short, helping the Earth and all its inhabitants.
Dive into the book below to learn more.
The Australian Farm Institute leads farm policy discussions to ensure a viable future for the Australian agricultural community. The Australian Farm Institute was established to research public policy issues that impact the Australian farm sector, and to highlight policy solutions that facilitate the social and economic wellbeing of farmers. To achieve this, the Institute runs research projects on farm policy issues, to highlight the outcomes of this research to policy-makers.
The Institute’s research program focuses on three core themes:
Farmers for Climate Action is an inclusive movement of Australian farmers leading the way on climate solutions by campaigning for sensible, science-based state and national action on climate change. The movement’s mission is to help organise farmers, graziers and agriculturalists to lead climate solutions on their farms and advocate together to influence the agricultural sector and prompt the government to implement climate policies that reduce pollution and benefit rural communities.
Climate Wise Agriculture is another one of Anika’s many passions, founded by her in the Far West of NSW Australia. Climate Wise Agriculture is a platform jam-packed with climate change information and provides a place for people to share and build a greater understanding as it relates to agricultural industries across the globe. The platform, “seeks to develop a network of well-informed, well-equipped people in agriculture to ensure the best for this industry. Information is always current and credible, and explains drivers of climate change, the impacts upon agriculture, and appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Climate Wise Agriculture shares this knowledge in order to transfer best practises and drive strategy so as to achieve climate-resilient and sustainable agricultural industries.” (Molesworth, 2021)
Landcare Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation founded in 1989 by the late former Prime Minister, the Hon. Bob Hawke AC. Landcare Australia provides strong expertise for community groups to achieve major ecological restoration projects that include large scale revegetation and carbon mitigation at a national level.
Landcare Australia includes over 5,000 groups and 100,000+ volunteer participants with its landcare community projects through organising funding, sharing information, building networks, skill- and knowledge-sharing, and promoting landcare achievements.
Together with the landcare community, our efforts can improve biodiversity, build resilience in Australia’s food and farming systems, and create stronger communities.
The From Paddock to Plate program is the brainchild of Louise FitzRoy, “ founder and director of From Paddock to Plate, is also a Walkley Award–winning journalist, ABC radio presenter, author, food writer and educator, public speaker, local food and sustainability ambassador”. From Paddock to Plate was founded in 2008 to help people make more informed decisions about how and where they source their food which impacts food producers and vicariously the move towards mitigating climate change.
Judge Les Robinson, author of Changeology, announces the finalists for Best Community Action Project 2020. Find out about each school team, their projects and why they were chosen:
In the video below, students from St Paul's Primary School talk about their partnership with Jane Lloyd Jones from the NSW local land services to help them incorporate their ideas into their Science unit.
The team researched the light bulb usage in the school and designed a more energy efficient approach, and then applied for an energy grant to switch out the entire school system to use energy saving LED bulbs. Armed with this information, the students became energy saving experts, created tips for home energy saving usage and participated in Earth Hour.
The Year 5s and 6s identified 12 SDGS that they were interested in exploring. They created symbols for each SDG and painted them onto their koala, which they christened ‘Koala T’, who now sits in their Indigenous Garden to greet the students when they enter. As part of their project, the Robertson Public team are planting trees into their Tiny Forest outdoor classroom project:
Hamilton Public School (HPS) have been incorporating the SDGs into their curriculum for over 3 years now. Primarily, HPS has taken a thematic approach to pedagogy. For example, aligning units of work and even class novels with a different SDG each term. The school also has periods of time (3-4 weeks) where they unite together to all focus on a different SDG.
With the help of a Sustainable School Grant and lots of passionate students and teachers, Hamilton was able to drive the creation of Blue Gate Garden TV. Students created episodes all based around “lessons” on how people can make a positive impact on the climate through water-saving garden beds, soil health, cooking using home–grown garden produce, increasing biodiversity in gardens, and the importance of bees to name just a few.
Check out episodes from Hamilton Public School’s Blue Gate Garden TV created in their very own veggie garden below.
The Year 7 AgSTEM Student Team consists of 9 students who have undertaken a unique learning model as part of their participation in The Archibull Prize. Within their curriculum, they focus all their learning through four lenses; Sustainability, Agriculture, STEM and Aboriginal Knowledges.
They commenced the year participating in a Hackathon with Cotton Australia and Australian Wool Innovation to explore new sustainable futures for the Australian Fibre industries. In this program, the students developed possible alternatives for the transportation of fibres from farms to ports/mills and alternate end of life options for Australian Fibre products to reduce landfills that could be utilised in shopping centres and retail outlets. Following this, the students explored the sustainability and environmental impacts of fibre production in Australian agriculture more deeply. They examined various industry approaches to sustainability and climate change through industry masterclasses and academic research linked to water management, sustainability and biotechnologies.
Their passion for sustainable production evolved into an Archibull project where they developed teaching resources for primary school students about sustainable fibre production in Australia and end of life options for Australian cotton and wool. In completing their project, they have written educational books, learning resources and games for primary aged students. The student team also presented a workshop for primary students across NSW as part of an Ag Week conference, promoting more sustainable end of life options for cotton. They have also reached out to the community to assist in the creation of their educational products through the use of recycled/repurposed wool and cotton products, promoting the benefits of better end of life use rather than increasing landfill.
The student team have also locally partnered with a community based organic garden to develop ideas for improved composting options on the facility. To this end, they worked with local farming enterprises to explore small and large scale composting options and to investigate the benefits of composting to farm soils and general production levels, exploring regenerative agriculture models. As a result, students designed a paper prototype of a new composting system to support the local community garden that utilises end of life fibres such as cotton, local waste from the surrounding campus and green/brown waste from the gardens.
The student teams also entered the NRMA Challenge to explore new sustainable transport options for NorthWest Sydney. In completing their situational analysis, they were disturbed by the lack of electric cars in the area and found that people were nervous about access to charging stations. The team developed a concept of an e-vehicle concierge at the large Tallawong transport hub in Schofields aligned to the Metro as a way of better utilising car parking spaces, the use of solar panels to generate electricity for the e-charging stations, and increasing confidence in users to ensure their vehicles were charged and ready for additional commutes to the regional areas of the Hawkesbury.
In each of these areas, the students continue to further their own learning about climate change and sustainable practises. More importantly, they have increasingly developed the skills to work with people across generationally to engage in these conversations. Their role as educators to support the next generation through primary school program development also promotes opportunities for student voice and advocacy both for our students and their younger peers. Their passion has seen them prepare a formal request to commence a podcasting program through the school to further share their knowledge and raise community awareness of climate change, resilience, local action and sustainable agriculture. This proposal has been approved as a 2022 project for the group.
These resources have been created with funding from the Global Giving Foundation, in partnership with Corteva