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Introducing Future Earth Australia

This article is adopted from the news originally posted to the Future Earth website on 19 June 2018 by Future Earth Australia.

Future Earth hosted an introductory national event on 5 June at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Chaired by Professor Karen Hussy from the University of Queensland, the open forum, Introducing Future Earth Australia, showcased the progress of current initiatives in the region and abroad.

Attendees heard from panelists, Professor Tim Smith, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), Professor David Hamilton, Deputy Director and Professor at the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University, and Tayanah O’Donnell, Director of Future Earth Australia.

The forum focused on the activities of Future Earth’s global network by bringing together and showcasing three key initiatives: Future Earth Australia, Water Futures, and Future Earth Coasts.

Future Earth Australia, led by Tayanah O’Donnell and hosted by the Australian Academy of Science, is a partnership between Australian universities and research institutes and industry, government and civil society, with the goal of advancing sustainability and equality in Australia and the region.

Professor David Hamilton shared his vision to link local initiatives with Future Earth’s Water Future programme. His address highlighted the importance of ensuring lakes are included in broader assessments of planetary freshwater resources.

Water Future is a global platform for the facilitation of international scientific collaboration to find solutions to the world’s water problems.

Attendees were also updated on the progress of activities undertaken by Future Earth Coasts. Professor Tim Smith highlighted the importance of Future Earth Coasts’ initiatives and reaffirmed the importance of the relationship between people and coastal management, particularly in Australia. “Coasts are the canary in the coal mine, particularly in Australia, where 85% of our population live within 50km of the coast,” he said.

Become part of our global community

  • Future Earth Australia, the Australian-Oceanic hub for Future Earth activities.
  • Water Futures, a Global Research Project now based at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Future Earth Coasts, a project to support sustainability and adaptation to global change in the coastal zone.

About the Panelists

Professor Tim Smith is the Executive Dean for the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). His research is focused on the relationships between people, place and change, particularly in relation to climate change adaptation, coastal management, and water governance. Prior research scientist with the CSIRO. He is a lead author for the upcoming IPCC assessment report, an Adjunct Professor at Brock University, Canada, a Senior Research Associate at Uppsala University, Sweden, and part of the international scientific steering committee for Future Earth Coasts.

Professor David Hamilton is Deputy Director and a Professor in the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University. Before re-locating to Brisbane in 2017 he held an endowed chair for 15 years at the University of Waikato in New Zealand – the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair in Lake Restoration – and prior to that was based in the Centre for Water Research at the University of Western Australia. Hamilton is passionate about ensuring lakes are included in broader assessments of planetary freshwater resources; hence his interest in linking with Water Future.

Tayanah O’Donnell is the Director of Future Earth Australia based at the Australian Academy of Science. Her research focusses on the legal and regulatory aspects of climate change adaptation with a particular interest in the legal, political, and cultural aspects of coastal adaptation. She is a qualified lawyer and social scientist, and was recently awarded her PhD in legal geography from the Institute of Culture and Society at Western Sydney University.