Goal 13: Climate Action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 13: Climate Action.

Our Commitment to climate

UOW is committed to the principles of environmental sustainability and has developed an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to deliver improvements in the use of energy, water, waste management and campus biodiversity.

Research being undertaken at UOW is exploring the causes and impacts of climate change and practical solutions such as sustainable fisheries management, bushfire management and innovations in battery technologies, sustainable buildings and new materials. The University is currently spending approximately $8M installing solar photovoltaic panels and LED lighting to slash energy consumption at its Wollongong and Innovation Campuses. In addition, the University is investing heavily to provide public transport services, including $350,000 per annum to support Wollongong’s free shuttle bus in addition to its own bus routes.

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Youth Climate Statement

A team of students and staff working in collaboration with the University of Wollongong (UOW) are participating in the 16th Conference of Youth on Climate Change (COY16), which is the precursor to the UN 26th Conference of Parties (COP26). As part of the conference, our team has developed a Youth Climate Statement in consultation with students, academics, and members of Wollongong’s wider community. The statement establishes a set of climate change commitments of the University, as well as demands on a local, national, and global level. These commitments and demands will be presented as a part of COY’s statement to the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties in Glasgow on the 31st of October-12th November 2021.  

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Blue Carbon Futures

UOW researchers have been investigating how mangroves have responded to sea-level rise in the past, providing us with crucial information about how our shorelines will change in the future with climate change. The team received a Eureka Prize for Environmental Research in 2019.

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Global Climate Change Week

Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) was established when academics and students at UOW got together to talk about climate change action and solutions. Now, each year, academics, professional staff and local communities around the world come together to save the planet in a global movement The week involves a range of activities including open lectures, discussion panels, environmental lifestyle workshops and other events at UOW’s Wollongong campuses and venues around the city of Wollongong. The events are aimed at capturing the attention of students, policy-makers, and the wider community, demonstrating the need to take action against climate change. In 2019, 20 events took place in Wollongong for GCCW.

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ECO Antarctica

The ECO Antarctica project has established a new trans-Tasman network of Antarctic researchers with a wide range of expertise. These include marine and terrestrial ecologists, data scientists, environmental toxicologists, climate scientists and modellers, and experts in Antarctic and environmental law and policy. In 2019, the team showcased the wonder and science of Antarctica in a public exhibition called Antarctic Footprints. This allowed the public to explore some of the challenges that Antarctica’s coastal and near-shore marine systems face. This team has also drafted recommended protocols for uniformly monitoring and comparing terrestrial and marine zones for both climate and health of biodiversity around the coast of Antarctica. Collecting local climate and biodiversity data in a uniform way will contribute to science projects and national programs, resulting in informed conservation and environmental management throughout the Antarctic.

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Petajakarta.org

Working with Jakarta’s government disaster management agency and Twitter, UOW researchers developed an open source platform, Petajakarta.org, to crowd-source and automate flood reporting. This technology reduced the time and cost of situational awareness, empowered citizens to report flood information through social media, and improved human adaptability to environmental disasters. The tool saved lives by enabling community and first responders to avoid and navigate safely through flood zones. Economic benefits were realised through cost savings from manual reporting and reductions in flood-related injury, property damage and disease. This model for emergency response is now seen as best practice by international agencies and has been further adopted by seven cities in four countries.

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When disaster strikes: Under-insurance in an age of volatility

There is a growing concern in Australia and internationally of the extensive social and economic costs of disasters, which are increasing due to the impact of climate change. In the ten years leading up to 2016, the total cost of ‘natural’ disasters in Australia averaged $18.2 billion per annum. When disasters strike, home and contents insurance provides a safety net but many households are under-insured or not insured at all. The average uninsured loss for each ‘natural’ disaster in Australia between 2004 and 2011 is estimated at almost $1 billion. Little is known about the factors that contribute to these rates of inadequate insurance cover. Researchers at UOW are attempting to bridge this knowledge gap by examining perceptions of risk and insurance amongst residents both with and without direct personal experience of bushfires. The research strives to assist the development of insurance policies and implementation strategies that meet the needs of residents.

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Disaster and crisis in our region

In the summer of 2019-20, our region experienced catestrophic drought and bushfires, and now the world is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. UOW's Global Challenges Program brought together teams of interdisciplinary researchers from UOW and the broader community to investigate disaster and crisis resilience in our region.

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Subjects and courses for SDG 13

Subject description

This subject provides an introduction to the topic areas of cell biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, genetics, microbiology and immunology. During this subject you will look closely at the links between structure and function in cells and important biological molecules whilst investigating cellular division and mechanisms to control the cell cycle and prevent cancer. You will hear about techniques in genetic engineering and break throughs in biotechnology. You will learn about different microorganisms and their role in human, animal and/or plant health and explore the physiology of the immune system. Through engagement in group research projects you will develop skills in effective research and communication, teamwork, self-reflection and peer assessment whilst developing your digital literacy skills in presenting your research through PowerPoint (or similar tools) and generation of an electronic Portfolio. Find out more.

This subject is working towards:

All 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health

Degrees

General Schedule of electives, Bachelor of Bionanotechnology (Honours), Bachelor of Bionanotechnology (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours), Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Exercise Science, Bachelor of Exercise Science and Rehabilitation, Bachelor of Marine Science, Bachelor of Marine Science (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Medical and Health Sciences, Bachelor of Medical and Health Sciences (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology (Honours), Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), BAachelor of Medicinal Chemistry (Honours), Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours), Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Nutrition Sciene, Bachelor of Pre-Medicine, Science and Health, Bachelor of Science

Subject description

The science of how the solid Earth works is essential to overcome great challenges presently facing our society: monitoring and mitigating climate change, protecting the natural environment and sustainably resourcing our future. This subject provides an introduction to Earth science by considering topics related to the solid Earth: deep time, our place in space, plate tectonics, the rock cycle, crystal growth, groundwater, palaeoenvironments, volcanic eruptions and magmatic plumbing systems, earthquakes, mountain building, mass extinctions, critical minerals required for a low-carbon future, landscape evolution, and archaeology. This subject consists of two parts. In the first half of this subject you will learn to ‘read’ minerals and rocks to understand the evolution of landscapes, unravelling thousands to billions of years of Earth’s history. In the second half of this subject you will apply this knowledge to conduct your own fieldwork, creating a map and technical field report to discover what the Illawarra region looked like millions of years ago. Find out more.

This subject is working towards: 

Goal 13: Climate action    Goal 14: Life Below Water    Goal 15: Life on Land     

Faculty

Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

Degrees

Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours), Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Marine Science, Bachelor of Marine Science (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Science

Subject description

This subject will examine the drivers, feedbacks and responses to global change over the past c. 2 million years. It will examine major drivers of global climate change/variability and feedbacks between these drivers and other components of Earth’s systems (e.g. climatic/atmospheric, oceanic hydrologic and biologic). It will also examine recent changes to Earth’s systems and put them in context on long term variability. In addition, the subject will examine the methods by which past climates/earth surface processes reconstructed and in doing so will identify key knowledge and data gaps. Find out more.

This subject is working towards:

Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing    Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation    Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy  

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production    Goal 15: Life on Land  

 

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health

Degrees

Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours), Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Marine Science, Bachelor of Marine Science (Honours) (Dean's Scholar), Bachelor of Science

 

Subject description

This subject examines the complex topic of climate change. It explores the basis for current and potential future climate change within the context of the historical and pre-historical records of climate change. The principal drivers (forcing functions) of climate change and their responses are examined critically. After surveying some fundamental concepts in climate science and the Earth’s climate system today, the subject briefly reviews ‘deep time’ perspectives of climate change to assess the magnitude of responses to climate change in Earth surface environments. It is shown that subtle changes in temperature can have profound environmental responses. The ramifications of climate change are also discussed in terms of physical landscape responses and the human dimension of climate change as shown by archaeological records. The role of the four main ‘greenhouse gases’, water vapor, carbon dioxide methane and nitrous oxide are examined in the context of anthropogenically-enhanced greenhouse warming. The major sources and sinks of these gases are described. Past interactions between CO2 and climate, and how projections of future change are developed are also considered. Global warming may induce a variety environmental changes that will confront future societies such as the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal landscape change, general climate state, agriculture and food security. Find out more.

This subject is working towards:

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy    Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production    Goal 13: Climate action    

Goal 15: Life on Land

 

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health

Degrees

Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours), Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours) (Dean's Scholar)

Subject description

This capstone subject will provide students with an opportunity to consolidate their knowledge, skills and attributes required for safe, competent practice as beginning registered nurses. Students will explore global issues in healthcare and how they can impact local change as registered nurses. Students will propose and complete a capstone learning project through which they demonstrate their abilities to integrate, analyse, synthesise and apply knowledge and skills relevant to their professional interests. The project will focus on a relevant scholarly, professional or practice issue \that impacts their local community utilising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework. Students will complete a critical reflection of the work undertaken during their degree that includes their state of readiness to undertake the role of a registered nurse within the workplace and how they may impact local and global challenges within this role. Find out more.

This subject is working towards:

All 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health

Degrees

Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing (Conversion)

Latest news for SDG 13

PhD Candidate, Aaron Hodges, from UOW’s Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) in the lab.