Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change

Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change by reducing fossil fuel emissions.

That’s the message esteemed Professor Mark Howden will deliver in his keynote speech to next week’s Building Climate Resilience event at Birchip.

Prof Howden, who is director of the Australian National University Climate Change Institute, a Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has dedicated more than 30 years to working on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues.

Prof Howden said Australia had amongst the world’s highest greenhouse gas emissions per head of population.

“Ultimately, these can be sheeted home to every one of us,” he said. “There are many ways to reduce these emissions – some of which may be costly and inconvenient and others not. And there are several new opportunities that could arise from this for farmers and rural business and communities.”

Prof Howden said the first step was for people, industries and communities to be “clear on our values and goals” and then to become well-informed so good decisions could be made that supported those values and goals.

Birchip Cropping Group board member Caroline Welsh said the aim of the Building Climate Resilience event on Tuesday, October 29, was two-fold.

“We wanted to give people a better understanding of how the climate is changing – the facts from some of the people who know,” she said. “And to provide some inspiration from people who are currently working with their communities successfully to improve their resilience.”

Ms Welsh said local speakers also would provide examples of practical actions that people in the region could take and “give people some ideas or the confidence to do it themselves”.

This includes Wilkur farmer Craig Henderson, who has taken his broiler chicken sheds off the grid, and GWM Water chairman Peter Vogel discussing unrealised opportunities from the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline to supply water for intensive agriculture.

The event will begin with breakfast and a keynote speech from Gabrielle Chan, a political journalist who married into a farming family and last year published the acclaimed book Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up.

It will be followed by updates on the climate outlook, risk, and regional responses to drought.

The afternoon program offers workshops on a wide range of topics, including diversification, farming and small business innovation, running a carbon neutral event, technology, improving connectivity, and opportunities in energy and environmental services.

Entry to all sessions is free, but registrations are essential for catering purposes.

More information is available at www.bcg.org.au/events

The Building Climate Resilience event is a joint initiative of the Buloke Shire Council, Birchip Cropping Group, North Central Catchment Management Authority and Mallee Catchment Management Authority, with funding through the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program.

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