USC lecture on changes affecting coastal communities

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USC lecture on changes affecting coastal communities


29 May 2013

The increasing vulnerability of coastal communities to hardship caused by changes in natural systems will be outlined by a University of the Sunshine Coast researcher at a festival dedicated to the global environment.

Associate Professor for Heritage Resource Management Dr Bill Carter will be one of the speakers at the Sunshine Coast World Environment Day Festival, to be held at USC’s Sippy Downs campus on Sunday 9 June from 10am to 4pm.

USC has partnered with the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and Sunshine Coast Council to present the annual festival, expected to attract thousands of people as the biggest event of its kind in south-east Queensland.

Dr Carter, who is Associate Director of the University’s Sustainability Research Centre, said the issues facing management of coastal zones were similar world-wide.

“The compounding effects of over-exploitation of fisheries, habitat loss to development for food production, residences and industry, pollution of water systems, and now the projected impacts of climate change are shifting natural systems in a direction and at a rate that make coastal communities increasingly vulnerable to hardship, in multiple forms,” he said.

“The capacity of the environment to provide services at no cost to humanity is diminishing.

“Change is occurring in natural systems that will require coastal communities to adjust their lifestyles and livelihoods and how they perceive the coastal landscape and its resources.”

Dr Carter said there was general recognition that solutions included integrated coastal zone management planning and adaptive approaches, but these were being thwarted by entrenched commitments to current land use patterns.

He said the challenge was to overcome “intractable attitudes” that use uncertainty about resources alongside economic cost and development goals as justification to delay remedial action.

“There is great need to work collaboratively with the levels of government and with communities of place and interest to reduce natural and human community vulnerability to the changes already occurring,” he said.

The World Environment Day Festival will be a free, family, fun and educational day celebrating the environment and community.

It will include food, music, entertainment, talks by high-profile presenters, workshops, displays ranging from wildlife to cooking, craft and games.

For more information go to the World Environment Day Festival website.

— Julie Schomberg

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