Climate change workshop puts the heat on action 


A strong showing from the Alice Springs community ensured the success of a climate change scenario-building workshop in Alice Springs recently.

The workshop is the first hosted by the newly developed Charles Darwin University’s Central Australian Research Network, which was created to pool local research resources and capacities for the benefit of the local community.

Around 20 people from across Alice Springs’ diverse environmental and ecological organisations tackled various climate change scenarios with leading CDU researchers from the Darwin-based School for Environmental Research.

The workshop allowed the audience to examine climate change scenarios from their interest or industry viewpoint, using the researchers’ expertise to develop future plans and ideas. 

Researchers will develop climate change scenarios specific to central Australia based on various climate predictions. These scenarios will be enhanced using direct feedback from the forum audience.

Ongoing workshops will continue to aid residents in their planning and researchers in their data collection.
Professor Stephen Garnett, Director of the School for Environmental Research, Cindy Huchery and Javier Puig attended the half-day event as guests of Professor Rolf Gerritsen, CDU’s Alice Springs-based research leader for Central Australia

Professor Gerritsen said the workshop demonstrated the value of academic research to government and non-government agencies solving real-world issues.

"Central Australians are taking climate change seriously and workshops go beyond lecturers and presentations by giving them tools and ideas to develop future policy and make personal change," he said.

"I see this workshop as the first of many activities in which the CDU-based Central Australian Research Network will collaborate with community and official research workers to provide synergies and to maximize local policy research capacity."

Professor Garnett said he was inspired by the engaged audience.

"We spent the morning with some very clever and committed Alice Springs residents who are keen to envisage their future world and it’s exciting to see them taking such an interest," he said.

Kat Taylor, project manager at Coolmob, said she enjoyed the opportunity to listen to the many views on climate change.

"It allowed the audience to see the broad and varied interpretations of climate change," she said.

The next workshop will be held later this year, when the preliminary models will be presented for local organisations to provide further feedback.