Trees are juxtaposed next to the chimneys

There’s only one Earth left – UOW’s Global Climate Change Week opens up with a bang

There’s only one Earth left – UOW’s Global Climate Change Week opens up with a bang

UOW students and academics share ideas and sustainable solutions on tackling climate change.

The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made for some scary headlines in August, leaving many people stressed and overwhelmed over the implications of global climate change.

Yet, ahead of Global Climate Change Week (GCCW), the academic community at the University of Wollongong (UOW) is adamant that there’s still plenty of action that can be taken to put our environmental issues front and centre while also accelerating change.

Global Climate Change Week is an annual event that encourages academics, students and local communities to share ideas, seek solutions and take action on climate change.

Happening from Monday 18 October to Friday 22 October, this year’s UOW GCCW is organised in partnership with Wollongong City Council and features a series of exciting online workshops, lectures with key speakers and events to inspire the local community to get involved in the conversations around climate change.

The main theme of the event is: “Climate, Health, Action!” The program will focus on the impact that our changing climate has on human and environmental health, with the events exploring sustainable living solutions, from eating healthily to greening our health systems. 

“We tend to think of climate change as just an environmental issue, which is understandable. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that climate change is the biggest threat to health in the 21st century,” explained Dr Belinda Gibbons, UOW’s lead researcher on the Global Challenges’ Global Goals, Local Level project and Australia and New Zealand Chapter Coordinator for Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME).

UOW academic and sustainability advocate

“Climate change has driven an increase in the number and intensity of extreme weather events. In Australia, we see first-hand the direct impact of heat, fire and floods on our physical and mental health.

“Fires and smoke aggregate heart and lung conditions. Droughts curb our ability to sustain healthy crops and put food security at risk. And as the recent pandemic has shown, when our health is threatened, our usual ways of life come to a standstill.

“In a way, we need to start discussing climate as much as we are talking about COVID-19,” Dr Gibbons added.

The UOW academic also shared her tips on making sustainability a part of our daily lives: “Our actions can be small but powerful: walk or cycle instead of driving, eat local fruit and veggies, drink tap water, and reduce processed and packaged foods.”

Hosted entirely online and free for all, UOW GCCW will be filled with aspirations and inspiring stories, ideas and knowledge-sharing, as well as pragmatic discussions on actions to protect our health and our planet.

You can find out more and see the full list of events here.


Welcome to Global Climate Change Week 2021, Monday 18 October, 12 to 1pm

This session will kick off with Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong, Professor Patricia Davidson introducing the events for the week. You will hear from Professor Tim McCarthy, Chair of recently established UOW Sustainable Futures Committee, students climate ambassadors: Grace Mahon and Ben Hamill talking on the 16th Conference of Youth on Climate Change (COY16) and Dr George Takacs discussing 'Active Transport Solutions for a Climate Emergency'.

Wollongong Botanic Garden: Koalas at the Cross-Roads

Take an all-ages, self-guided koala walk around the Discovery Centre at the Wollongong Botanic Garden and learn about the impact of climate change on these cuddly creatures.

Sustainable, healthy eating, Tuesday 19 October, 1 to 2pm

Join Professor Karen Charlton and Dr Anne McMahon as they cook up a storm with local food from Flame Tree Community Coop, Thirroul, and introduce yourself to the beautiful UOW Community Gardens. A practical session that talks about sustainable and equitable food systems.

Sustainability impact in our region, Wednesday 20 October, 12 to 1pm

In this fast-paced, action-focussed session, Professor Jennifer L Martin will introduce short talks from a wide range of climate impact warriors, including Josie Atkinson, Gumbaynggirr woman and UOW Masters Candidate, Professor Thomas Astell-Burt, Director of UOW Powerlab, Jenny Haining, Environmental Sustainability Officer at Wollongong City Council, Dr Nick Deutscher from Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, Jason Graham-Nye, Co-founder and Chair of gDiapers, Dr Marcella Bernado PapiniSMART Infrastructure Facility and Dr Joshua Lobb, Snr Lecturer in Creative Writing.

Bicycles create change – Disability rights in the context of climate action, Thursday 21 October, 1 to 2pm

For this session, we will be joined by Edward Birt, Chief Operating Officer for the Disability Trust and successful solo unsupported rider across the 5,500km Indian Pacific Wheel.

Sustainable Building Research Centre Initiatives, Friday 22 October, 11 to 12pm

The SBRC will present an exciting lecture on the topics of energy efficiency in schools and the Sustainable Homes Challenge: Homes from Waste.

Operation Nappy, Friday 22 October, 10 to 10.30am

Wollongong City Councils’ award-winning Operation Nappy Program aims to reduce the number of disposable nappies entering landfill by changing the behaviour of new and expectant parents. During this hands-on talk, you will learn about the environmental, financial and health benefits of cloth nappies.