Each fortnight our group reads through and discusses at least seven well researched media articles selected by our convenor John Lloyd as adding to the knowledge pie on sustainability and climate charge.
In our last class, for example, we discussed articles ‘Climate change sets our hottest October’; ‘Doctors warn of climate risk to children’; ‘Now is the time to put price on carbon world leaders say’; ‘Pacific nation urges Australia to bring forward emissions cuts’; ‘Chief Scientist’s all electric dreams’; ‘Burning question hangs over coal’s future’; ‘Energy – Finkel’s vision ‘long term’, Fossil fuels have role to play still’; ‘Iron, coal prices up in flames: analysts’; ‘Investors told to query fossil fuel forecasts’; finishing up with a longer article ‘As drought looms, the Murray-Darling is in much healthier shape – just don’t get complacent’.
Class members particularly enjoy reading about positive developments and discussing local and regional issues. A number of participants have been discussing sustainability related issues in the group for some years, so the accumulated environmental wisdom in the class is at a very well informed level, making for very interesting discussions. For example while reading the article ‘Climate change sets new records’, we discussed accrual of heat varying in different places, with warming greater in northern Australia than in Tasmania; the gulf stream having a huge impact on the Arctic; the buffering effect of oceans differing in different locations, and that heating changes synoptic patterns which change prevailing winds which may change cooling patterns e.g. Perth and west coast summers over recent years.
We also watch thought provoking documentaries such as the ABC’s Catalyst program; monitor the monthly Bureau of Meteorology reports shown on Country Wide and have the occasional excursion.
Armchair analysts rather than activists, we are however considering taking on a manageable community awareness raising project in 2016 which contributes towards a sustainable future.
To quote from our course description – ‘No prior knowledge is required, just a general interest in the issues around climate change and sustainability. With discussion of these topics throughout the year you will find that you become better informed about these issues.’