Climate Change and Australia: Where to Now?

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Climate change and Australia: Where to now? The Ideas and Society Program has brought together, frontline fighters across the generations to reflect on recent experience of climate change and debate future strategy.

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Tuesday 17 September 2019 06:15 pm until Tuesday 17 September 2019 08:30 pm (Add to calendar)
University Events
Presented by:
Ideas & Society Program: Bob Brown, David Ritter, Dr Amanda Cahill, Maiysha Moin
Type of Event:
Public Lecture
$25 General / $15 Alumni & Staff/ $10 Students

Please note, this event is now sold out. We will be live streaming the event, which will be available for viewing on this page on the night of the event .

The Ideas and Society Program, convened by Professor Robert Manne, is a forum for discussion about the future of Australia and beyond. In 2019 we are hosting a series of discussions regarding some of the most fundamental and polarising issues Australians now face, either between those with fundamentally different points of view or between those with similar points of view but different ideas about strategy and tactics. Our next event is taking place three days before one of the most challenging political events of 2019--the climate change school student strike.

Climate change is regarded by many scientists, policymakers and citizens as the gravest problem humankind has ever faced. Unless fossil fuels are replaced by renewable sources of energy in the next decade or so, future generations will face a ruinous post-industrial revolution rise in global temperature of 3 degree Celsius or something even higher.

Climate change is also an almost uniquely difficult problem. The Paris ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees relies upon a level of international co-operation never before achieved. If humankind fails to take the action now required the consequences will be irreversible. It is no hyperbole to say that the future of the Earth lies in our hands.

What happens in Australia matters greatly. If our domestic energy consumption and our exports of coal, oil and gas are taken into account, we are responsible for 5% of global carbon pollution. Climate Analytics has calculated that if all the fossil fuel developments now proposed were to proceed, Australia would be responsible for a staggering 13% of worldwide carbon emissions.

For those fighting for the radical changes required, climate change poses a daunting political challenge. According to the conventional interpretation, in the recent federal election those Queensland Coalition candidates cheering on the Adani coal mine polled unusually well. In the short term at least, the anti-Adani protest march failed to sway local public opinion.

Climate change is a generational problem. Older Australians took up the struggle. The lives of younger Australians will be shaped by the impact of climate change.

The Ideas and Society Program has brought together, for this reason, front line fighters across the generations to reflect on recent experience and debate future strategy.

  • The former leader of the Greens, Bob Brown, is the revered father of the Australian environmental movement.
  • David Ritter is the leader in Australia and the Pacific of the pioneering world-wide environmental movement, Greenpeace.
  • Dr Amanda Cahill, a Queensland grassroots analyst and activist, is the founder and chief executive of The Next Economy.
  • Maiysha Moin is a leader in Victoria of one of the most hopeful recent climate change developments, the school strike movement that is taking action on September 20.

This debate will be introduced by La Trobe University's Vice President (Strategy and Development), Natalie MacDonald, and moderated by La Trobe University’s Director of the Centre for the Study of the Inland, Professor Katie Holmes.

Watch the Recording

Speaker Bios:

Bob Brown, head of the Bob Brown foundation.Bob Brown

Bob Brown was born and educated in rural NSW and worked as a doctor before becoming the face of the campaign to save the Franklin River in 1982.

He was elected to the Tasmanian state parliament in 1983 and during his tenure most notably advocated for gun law reform, gay law reform and achieved the expansion of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

In 1996 Bob was elected to the Senate, where he led the national debate for 16 years on issues including climate change, democracy, preventative healthcare, conservation, and human rights.

Bob resigned from the Senate in June 2012 to establish the Bob Brown Foundation, a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting action campaigns for the environment in Australia and our region.

He is a published author and acclaimed photographer.

Dr David Ritter from Greenpeace Australia Pacific.David Ritter

David worked as a Native Title lawyer and an academic, before spending five years with Greenpeace UK.

In July 2012 I came back to Australia to head up Greenpeace Australia Pacific, determined to make our campaigns as effective as possible.

His most recent book is The Coal Truth: The Fight to Stop Adani, Defeat the Big Polluters and Reclaim our Democracy.

He has two wonderful & curious daughters and lives in Sydney.

Dr Amanda Cahill, CEO of The Next Economy.Dr Amanda Cahill

Amanda is the CEO of The Next Economy.

Originally trained as an anthropologist, Amanda has spent over two decades working on community development projects across Asia, the Pacific and regional Australia.

The focus of her work at The Next Economy is to support communities to develop more resilient, just and sustainable regional economies.

Most of this work involves supporting regional communities in Australia to transition away from fossil fuels and towards a zero emissions economy.

Amanda has a PhD in Human Geography from the Australian National University and has adjunct positions with The University of Queensland and University of Sydney.

Maiysha Moin from Fintona Girls' School.Maiysha Moin

Maiysha Moin is a Year 12 student at Fintona Girls’ School, located in Melbourne.

Her environmental activism journey came into sharp focus with her interview on the Today Show and various media outlets in promotion of the School Strikes across Australia.

Since then, her passion for climate change and sustainability has manifested in the new initiative, Climate Leaders, and her tenure as Environment Captain at her school.

She continues her advocacy with School Strike 4 Climate as a Melbourne strike organiser and spokesperson.

Maiysha’s interests are not limited to environmental activism, but also extends to women’s rights and social equality.

Venue Accessibility

Wheelchair access is available - please enter via the North Entrance at 180 St Kilda Road. The NGV is also equipped with a hearing loop inside the Auditorium.


The Clemenger Auditorium, National Gallery of Victoria

180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3000



25th Feb 2020 3:51pm

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