Global climate students get a local message
  • Friday 01 April 2011

While climate change is acknowledged as a world-wide phenomenon., it was a global audience that arrived last week to ask what role Sunshine Coast Council plays in dealing with its challenges.

A partnership between University of the Sunshine Coast and council took on an international face when post-graduate students met with council officers who are working on the Climate Change Strategy and the Energy Transition Plan.

Currently studying Masters degrees in Climate Change and Environmental Change Management, the students from nations as diverse as England, Sweden, Nepal and Colombia, heard how the council’s ground-breaking Climate Change Strategy was developed and endorsed, with an emphasis on how the community contributed.

The strategy addresses both climate change and peak oil as twin issues; the solutions for one issue improve the other.

The Energy Transition Plan, which maps the path to new energy resources for the region, is part of the council Strategy and was also discussed with students asking practical questions about how it would be implemented, as well as how the council worked with a range of stakeholders.

USC lecturer Kate English, an expert in climate change studies, organised the get-together, while council’s sustainability and innovation Officer, Elizabeth Stubbs hosted the session.

"It was inspiring to hear how much work our own staff team has done on moving us forwards for climate change and energy transition," Ms Stubbs said.

"Hearing about the experiences from the students’ different countries made me appreciate what we are doing well, as well as what we could do better – and the students were really excited to get a realistic idea of how they too can contribute to sustainability when they graduate."

Swedish student, Lene Lund Knudsen, said she was very impressed by council project officers who took part in the presentation. .

"What I was mostly astonished about was the ‘fight’ that they, and guys like them, have to put up, to get their messages out," Ms Knudsen said.

"It was great to see their passion and determination despite all the hurdles, walls and ignorance they meet on their way."