A disused shopping trolley in a burnt out forest following the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis

Staff and students raise awareness of climate change action and solutions

Staff and students raise awareness of climate change action and solutions

Virtual and live events planned for Global Climate Change Week 2020

Events for Global Climate Change Week 2020 (19-25 October) at the University of Wollongong include tree plantings, a clean-up of ocean plastic at City Beach, online discussions and forums, a film festival and a virtual eco food challenge.

Now in its sixth year, Global Climate Change Week began in 2015 when a group of UOW academics got together to discuss what they could do to raise awareness about climate change action and solutions. It has since expanded around the world and this year will see hundreds of events take place in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Global Climate Change Week provides an open-ended framework for voluntary activities aimed at raising awareness, inspiring behaviour change, and driving political transformation in relation to climate policy.

GCCW co-founder and president Dr Keith Horton from UOW’s School of Humanities and Social Inquiry said the past 12 months – with the Illawarra and South Coast suffering through drought, bushfire and floods – had brought home the need for urgent action to address climate change.

“There’s been so much bad news – and it's going to get much worse unless we step up action on climate change. It's astonishing to me how little has been done in most countries around the world, and Australia is one of the worst,” Dr Horton said.

“If you start to lose heart, it's always encouraging to see these staff and students at UOW who are determined to keep trying to put the message across. A little source of hope.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Climate Change Week 2020 will include a mix of online and on-site events. 

“There are lots of great events this year,” Dr Horton said. “One of the main ones is the panel discussion organised by the Global Challenges Program, Climate, Disaster and Mental Health on Wednesday at 12.30.”*

The discussion will look at the connection between climate change and disaster and the impact of climate anxiety and ongoing disaster on our mental health. Panellists will also discuss what we can do to recover, heal and build resilience.

“I'm also looking forward to the Wetland Walk and Talk with Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow Dr Jeff Kelleway on Wednesday* at 9.30am at Stuart Park in Wollongong, discussing the impacts of climate change on coastal wetlands, and the unique role wetlands can play in climate mitigation.

“And I'm particularly pleased that the Australian Youth Climate Coalition has organised a Climate Change Film Festival on Friday, starting at 6pm on UOW’s main Wollongong campus.”

For more details and a full list of events, go to https://www.facebook.com/gccwatuow/events

Everyone is welcome and all events are free, although there are limited places available for some events.

Correction: The 'Climate, Disaster and Mental Health' panel discussion and 'Wetland Walk and Talk' took place on Wednesday not on Thursday as originally published.