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Experts available to comment on climate march

19 Sep 2019

Experts from USC are available to speak with media about Friday’s global School Strike 4 Climate, on the topics of climate change, communication and education.

School students around the world, including on the Sunshine Coast are striking from school on Friday 20 September, 12 noon at Maroochydore Rotary Club Park at Cotton Tree, calling for political action to address climate change.

USC Senior Lecturer in Education Dr Ali Black said that, as active citizens, children and young people had a basic human right to respond to the issues impacting their lives.

“It’s important that children have a voice and feel like they can bring about positive change,” Dr Black said.

“With social media, our children and young people are very aware. They understand the impact of climate change and are feeling the reality and urgency of this issue.

“Rather than just feel helpless and hopeless about their future this is an empowering opportunity for children and young people to engage as active citizens and safely promote and defend their rights to a sustainable environment.”

USC Lecturer in Communication Dr Noni Keys said scientists and environmentalists had been talking about climate change for decades, but now young voices were trying to communicate in a new way.

“Until we see more effective action, people will be voicing their concerns. Scientists have been publishing observations related to climate change for over 50 years and now it’s time for other voices to get involved and engage with this more creatively,” Dr Keys said.

“Students are voting with their feet and sharing their concerns to the people who have the power to change it.

“Young people are the stakeholders of the future and they want to be involved in the decisions that affect them. We put a high value on critical thinking in our educational institutions, so we can’t be surprised when some of our students are taking it into their own hands,” she said.

In Australia, school strikers are calling for: a stop to new coal, oil and gas projects; a move to renewable energy generation and exports by 2030; and a transition of fossil-fuel workers and communities to new jobs.

Available to comment to media are:

Dr Ali Black, education researcher.

07 5456 5156 or ablack1@usc.edu.au

Relevant research areas: Social cohesion, wellbeing, community connectedness and capacity building.

Dr Noni Keys, communication lecturer.

07 5456 5949 or nkeys@usc.edu.au

Relevant expertise: Communication, sustainability, climate change, adaptive capacity, response capacity, sustainability and individual empowerment.

Dr Graham Ashford, environmental and resource economist.

07 5430 1141 or gashford@usc.edu.au (available Thursday but only via email on Friday).

Relevant expertise: International climate change mitigation policy; climate change adaptation economic analysis; climate modelling; impact and vulnerability analysis.

Dr Helen Fairweather, Environmental engineering lecturer.

07 5456 5564, 0401 839 506 or hfairwea@usc.edu.au

Relevant research areas: Climate change mitigation and adaptation in the coastal zone, adaptation of climate change factors to understand impacts, renewable energy solutions.

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