The Climate Change for Good Conference was held on the 1st & 2nd July 2016 at Griffith University Gold Coast campus. Below are the conference speakers and brief biography.

Conference Opening

Click image to read speaker biography.

Key Note Speakers




Government Policies

Urban Places & Spaces

Health & Welfare

Food Security


Sustainable Tourism

Conference Dinner

Speakers Biography

Hon. Dr Stephen Miles

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection – Conference Opening

steven_miles-x300Dr Steven Miles is the Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef.

It was the pending arrival of his first child that led Steven to think more deeply about protecting Queensland’s environment, including the Great Barrier Reef, for future generations. He joined Al Gore’s Climate Leadership Program to tackle climate change and inspire communities to take action.

Prior to entering Parliament as the Member for Mount Coot-tha in 2015, Steven worked as a senior adviser to government, as a senior official of Together and United Voice, and co-founded national parent advocacy organisation The Parenthood before starting his own communications business.

Achievements since becoming a Minister in 2015:
Achievements include:
  • Strengthening the 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef, which UNESCO recognised in its decision to not list the Reef as “in danger”.
  • Developing a climate adaptation strategy and commencing work on a climate transition strategy for Queensland.
  • Passing new chain of responsibility laws to require polluters to pay for rehabilitation of their sites.

Steven has a PhD in Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Queensland. He and his wife Kim are raising their three children Sam, Aidan and Bridie.

Professor Martin Betts

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Engagement) Griffith University

Professor-Martin-Betts Professor Martin Betts previous was Executive Dean of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Science and Engineering Faculty in Brisbane, Australia, one of the University’s largest faculties with fields of research, courses and postgraduate study in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and urban development.

In 2007, Professor Betts was recognised by being nominated by Engineers Australia as one of Australia’s top 100 most influential engineers. He was the founder and President of the Australian Deans of Built Environment and Design and a past coordinator of the International Council of Building Research and Innovation (CIB) Working Commission 78 on IT in Construction and Working Commission 89 concerned with Building Education and Research. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; of the Chartered Institute of Building; of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, UK; and of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

Dr Alexandra Coglan

Senior Lecturer School of Tourism Griffith University

alexandra-coghlanDr Alexandra Coghlan is a Senior Lecturer in tourism. Her primary research interests focus on change processes, and cover four major areas:

  • Sustainable tourism and relationship management for change;
  • Experience design and the affective dimensions of tourism;
  • Tourism and the green economy, and finally;
  • Value adding in philanthropic tourism.

She has published over 40 peer reviewed academic papers in top tourism journals such as Tourism Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Sustainable Tourism and Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing. These cover a broad range of topics including alternative and nature-based tourism experiences, philanthropic travel, environmental education/interpretation, tourism within the green economy, relationship management, governance issues and tourism partnerships. She has also worked with tourism industry and academics in a number of countries including Belgium, Scotland, Spain, Malaysia and of course, Australia, and continues to collaborate with a number of academics both within Australia and internationally.

Presentation Summary:
Making sense of it all – from science to solutions.

In this tourism and climate change workshop we will focus on three key areas;

  1. Dealing with complexity
  2. Making change happen
  3. Finding support

Discussions will focus on the points raised by the key note speaking, Professor Susanne Becken, and will draw on the knowledge of the workshop’s participants to draw up some actionable objectives drawing on the support, knowledge and networks of fellow participants.

Associate Professor Jason Byrne

Urban and Environmental Planning School of Environment GU

ap-jason-byrneDr Jason Byrne is an Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning with the Griffith School of Environment, where he has taught since 2006. A geographer, anthropologist and planner by training, Jason’s research interests include climate change adaptation and climate justice, urban nature and green-space, and environmental equity. Jason is specifically interested in how social differences (e.g. race, class, gender, education etc.) configure how vulnerable communities can access to environmental benefits (e.g. parks) and are exposed to environmental harms (e.g. pollution, heatwaves). Jason received his PhD from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he was a research fellow in the Center for Sustainable Cities. Jason previously worked as a planning officer, environmental officer, and policy writer with the Western Australian government, in water resource, land use planning, and environmental management portfolios. He has written government reports and policies on development control, environmental protection, and resource management and has over 90 scholarly publications including co-edited books, peer-reviewed journal papers and encyclopaedia entries.

Jason’s Memberships & affiliations include the Planning Institute of Australia; Association of American Geographers; Institute of Australian Geographers; International Society for Human Ecology, and International Urban Fellows Association.

He has received recognition & awards from Planning Institute of Australia (2014) Award for Planning Excellence – Cutting Edge Research and Teaching; Pro Vice Chancellors Excellence Award (2014) for Excellence in Teaching, and a Griffith Science Group Learning and Teaching Citation (2014). Jason is also a member of two teams that have won Australian Research Council nationally competitive grants for: Climate Change Adaptation and Greenspace and Health.

Jason’s research expertise is in the areas of Green Infrastructure, Climate Justice, Urban Green Space, Community Gardens, Equity and Fairness in planning (ecological and environmental justice), and Climate Change Adaptation. Projects he is currently involved with include: urban greenspace for climate change adaptation (China and Australia), social innovation and climate justice (Australia), and informal urban green space and eco-gentrification (USA, Japan and Australia).

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary:

Would you like to know more about how Gold Coast City is being affected by climate change? Are you worried about what might happen to your home, business, local school or treasured park? Would you like to know how we can take actions now to make our city and our homes ready for impacts such as heatwaves, floods, cyclones, bush-fire, drought and sea level rise? In this presentation, internationally recognised environmental planning scholar Dr. Jason Byrne overviews the gloom/doom scenarios facing Gold Coast City and shows how we can use human ingenuity, resilience and cooperation to turn these problems into boom-times.

For example, large-scale tree planting can cool our city by up to 6 degrees Celsius and provide new habitat for native animals. Storm-water harvesting can enable urban agriculture. And bio-gas might enable us to turn poo into power! Dr Byrne wryly notes that although some homes and business will intimately be submerged beneath 2 metres of ocean – this will make lovely future coral reefs and dive sites. And if you are a real-estate speculator, you may want to purchase land in the Nerang foothills – so your grand children can enjoy seafront vistas! Combining rigorous scholarship, a good sense of humor, a spirit of hope with easy to understand facts and figures, Dr Byrne will discuss how taking action now can set us up for a brighter future.

Councillor Paul Bishop

Councillor Redland City Council

councillor_bishop_redlandCouncillor Paul Bishop was born in 1966 and was raised and educated in Wynnum until age 15.

His many childhood adventures on pushbike, sailboat and surf-craft in Moreton Bay, Stradbroke Island and SEQ taught him much about the connection between people and place.

Paul has been an actor for community change toward health, wealth and wellbeing since graduating from Brisbane State High in 1984, then QUT with an Associate Diploma in the Arts (Theatre).

He has spent 25 years working with Australia’s major theatre companies, in many films and television roles, earning several awards, including nominations for his role as Sgt. Ben Stewart on ‘Blue Heelers‘.

A resident of Birkdale since 2004, Paul is a father to four children, and has been happily married for over 20 years. Paul has earned a living as an employee, contractor, mentor, entrepreneur, investor, and community enabler.

His recent work includes presenting, performing, social media production, design-thinking and group facilitation. This work has highlighted the importance of common-sense approaches to supporting community resilience and preparation for changing times.

Paul is immensely proud of the opportunity to work with local residents on bringing the democratic vision of the Redlands 2030 Community Plan to life.

By making the most of the present, while honouring our past I am sure we can work towards a vibrant future for the most diverse and beautiful city in Australia. I wish you well on this, our shared journey,” says Paul.

Dan Ware

Coastal Specialist

dan-wareDan Ware is a coastal specialist working on a PhD in coastal management at Griffith University. His research focuses on the implications of coastal management policy for distribution of political power between coastal user groups such as surfers, developers and property owners. Dan also teaches environmental economics and environmental policy development and works as a researcher on climate change adaptation and coastal management projects. An active contributor to the development of Australian coastal management policy and practice, as a researcher and with leadership positions with stakeholder groups.

Dan has strong networks and understanding of current adaptation issues for Australian coastal settlements and environments. Dan holds an applied science degree in coastal management, a multidisciplinary program which covered Oceanography, Hydrology, Geomorphology, Ecology and Planning and an MBA.

Prior to commencing his PhD, Dan worked with State and Local Governments on coastal management policy development and climate change risk and adaptation projects. Currently completing a PhD in institutional responses to coastal development dilemmas.

Memberships & affiliations:

  • Director of Surfrider Foundation Australia;
  • A member of the Queensland Committee of the Australian Coastal Society;
  • President of Gold Coast Surf Council.

Recognition & awards:

  • Awarded most inspiring paper/presentation at the 2013 Queensland Coastal Conference;
  • Top Up scholarship from the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship in 2012.

During his research, Dan has lectured and tutored Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy and Coastal Management subjects as well as managing a review of the use of Queensland’s Storm Tide Warning System by Coastal Local Government Disaster Managers.

David Forrest

Sustainable Agriculture NSW TAFE

dave-forrestDave Forrest has taught sustainable agriculture at NSW TAFE Wollongbar for over 30 years. In addition to Production Horticulture, Integrated Pest Management and Pasture Production, Dave teaches biological and organic farming classes. He is also a farmer (certified organic) growing and value-adding a diverse range of crops including macadamias, ginger, coffee, bush foods, citrus, mixed fruit and vegetables.

Dave is a founding member and officer of TROPO, Tweed Richmond Organic Producers Organisation, a founding member and officer of SoilCare and a founding member and active seller at the Lismore Organic Market and Mullumbimby Farmers Market. He also serves on numerous industry liaison bodies, serves as a Quality Assurance Auditor and consults to farmers in the Northern Rivers and beyond.

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary:

The workshop is to examine the interface of food production, supply chains, food security and climate change. Discussion will include what the weaknesses and opportunities in our current model are and how can this be addressed for better outcomes.

Dr David King

Academic GP School of Medicine UQ

dr-david-kingDr David King is an academic GP at the School of Medicine, UQ, where he is the course co-ordinator of the General Practice clinical rotation and teaches evidence-based medicine. He works clinically as a sessional GP at the Student Health Service, St. Lucia and the Refugee health clinic at Mater Hospital. He has been the Queensland chair of Doctors for the Environment since 2003 and written extensively about the broader aspects of environmental determinants and risks to health.

Dr Michelle Maloney

Environmental Lawyer and Activist

dr-michelle-maloneyDr Michelle Maloney is an environmental lawyer and activist, and is Co-Founder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance. She is the current AELA representative on the Executive Committee of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the Chairperson of the Queensland Environmental Defender’s Office. She recently completed her PhD in Law at Griffith University and her research interests include the role of law in reducing consumption of natural resources, Earth Jurisprudence and the nexus between sustainability and social justice. Michelle lives in Brisbane, (Queensland) with her husband, daughter and Raz the Wonderdog.

Dr Moira Williams

Ecologist, Policy maker and Strategist


Dr Moira Williams originally from Sydney, started her career as an ecologist, policy maker and strategist. Her growing passion is to empower people to challenge corporate power and take action for social change. She has been actively involved in grassroots campaigns fighting coal and gas projects across the country for a decade. After spending the last couple of years working in Northern Queensland to build peaceful resistance to the proposed Galilee basin coal mines, she is now based in Brisbane working as a community campaigner with

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary:

The fossil fuel divestment movement is one of the fastest growing social movements happening today. Globally, more than 500 institutions representing more than $3 trillion have divested their assets from coal, oil and gas companies – the industries that are fuelling global warming. Learn how you can move your money for good and start your own divestment campaign in your local area!”

Dr Pascal Scherrer

Senior Lecturer School of Business and Tourism SCU

dr-pascal-scherrer-x300Dr Pascal Scherrer is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Business and Tourism at Southern Cross Univeristy (SCU), New South Wales, Australia. He was awarded the Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence in Community Engagement in 2015. With a background in environmental science and ecotourism, Pascal’s main research interest is in sustainable tourism and visitor management in natural and cultural landscapes, addressing the areas of environmental, social and cultural impacts and their relationship. His research experience spans a variety of contexts, including coastal, island, indigenous, remote and protected area settings. His skills in geographic information systems (GIS) and long term monitoring techniques support both research and management outcomes.

Recent projects include work towards the development of a cultural visitor impact monitoring system for the Kimberley coast; a sustainable visitor capacity assessment of Rottnest Island recreation and tourism use; an assessment of environmental and social impacts of Kimberley expedition cruise tourism, and collaborative projects with social marketing and leisure researchers on health aspects of tourism and leisure. Dr Scherrer has a PhD in Environmental Science from Griffith University and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) with majors in Environmental Science and Ecotourism.

Dr Rob Hales

Program Director of the Griffith Centre for Sustainable Enterprise

dr-rob-halesDr Rob Hales is the Program Director of the Griffith Centre for Sustainable Enterprise. As Program Director his role is to work with staff to achieve the sustainability goals of the Griffith Business School in the areas of: sustainability research; teaching and learning for sustainability; the School’s sustainable operations; and engagement with sustainable enterprises and the business community. He also continues to teach in the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management where he lectures in Sustainable Tourism. His research interests focus on social science issues in a range of contexts that include the green economy, sustainable tourism, outdoor recreation, social movement studies and indigenous studies.

Rob’s most recent project is an examination of the business case for climate change adaptation for organisations in coastal areas of Australia. Rob has completed a wide range of research projects, including: a report on Education About and For Sustainability in Australian Business Schools for the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability; The South East Queensland Outdoor Recreation Demand Study for the Queensland Government; a report on High Impact Recreation Activities for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism; a report for the Queensland Government on the Indigenous Free Prior Informed Consent and its Application for Potential Cape York Peninsula World Heritage Nomination; and research for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility examining Coastal Urban and Peri-urban Indigenous People’s Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change. The central theme running through all his research projects is an emphasis on social and environmental justice issues and public participation. His background in small business operations, environmental science and environmental education informs his research and teaching.

Dr Sally Gillespie

Sustaining Climate Change Engagement

dr-sally-gillespie-x300Dr Sally Gillespie’s doctoral thesis from Western Sydney University, entitled ‘Climate Change and Psyche’, explored the psychological experience of sustained climate change engagement. She is the author of two books on psychotherapy and dreams as well as a number of book chapters, including two in Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, edited by Jonathan Marshall. Sally practised as a Jungian psychotherapist in Sydney for over twenty years, and served as the President of the CG Jung Society of Sydney from 2006 to 2010. She is currently writing a book based on her doctoral research and teaching in the Social Ecology department of Western Sydney University. Sally is a member of both Psychology for a Safe Climate and the Climate Wellbeing Network, and has presented papers and facilitated workshops on climate change psychology at numerous conferences as well as for the general public.

Presentation Summary:
Sustaining Climate Change Engagement:

Climate change and other environmental crises presents us with a range of emotional and existential dilemmas, which are both psychologically challenging and stimulating. In this workshop we will discuss ways in which groups and communities that are engaged with global warming issues can become more sustainable and resilient, through addressing psychological issues associated with climate change awareness. We also will discuss possible ways to initiate community conversations about climate change that will encourage engagement by acknowledging the underlying feelings that often inhibit, or even undermine, action.

Dr Steven Gration

President of Save Our Spit Alliance

dr-steve-grationDr Steven Gration has a B.Ed in Drama/Media Studies/Music (Melbourne) and a PhD from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Griffith). He has taught in Post-Primary schools and lectured in Tertiary Institutions in Victoria, NSW, NT, SA and Queensland. A resident of the Gold Coast since 1995, Steve was President of Main Beach Progress Association (2005) and has been the President of the community action group, Save Our Spit Alliance (SOSA), since 2006. SOSA is a volunteer community alliance of Gold Coast residents, community groups, tourism operators, recreational users and small businesses committed to the preservation of the Gold Coast Spit & Broadwater as public open space in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Steve is a published author and playwright and was the recipient of a 2015 Jewelled Gecko award for his long-term, volunteer dedication to the Gold Coast community and environment.

Dr Wade Hadwen

Lecturer in Griffith University’s School of Environment

dr-wade-hadwenDr Wade Hadwen is a lecturer in Griffith University’s School of Environment and a researcher working across the Australian Rivers Institute and the Griffith Climate Change Response Group.

Wade is an aquatic ecologist by training, but his research focus is on how human and ecological systems interact. This includes assessments of visitor impacts on rivers, lakes and streams in protected areas, climate change adaptation projects in the tourism and water sectors and, most recently, evaluation of climate change adaptation options in climate-vulnerable communities in the Pacific. The common thread through all of Wade’s research is ‘water’ – especially how it is used, valued, impacted and managed. He adopts a holistic approach and works with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines to understand complex problems and identify sustainable management solutions.

Dr Hadwen currently teaches courses in Science of Water, Catchment and Aquatic Ecosystem Health, and Climate Change Response.

His research expertise includes:

  • Aquatic ecology (freshwater and estuarine)
  • Protected area management
  • Climate change impacts on aquatic ecosystems
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene and sustainable development in developing countries
Presentation Summary:
Water and our adaptation to climate change on the Blue Planet:

Water is fundamental to all life. We say that we are carbon-based life-forms, but perhaps we should refer to ourselves as water-based life-forms. The average adult human body is around 60% water (only 18% of our mass is carbon), so understanding how climate change will affect water is critical to not just our own survival but also for all other species on the planet.

This presentation will provide conference participants with an insight into how climate change will impact the water cycle, and especially freshwater, and how that, in turn, will be critically important to us and our adaptation responses. It will include aspects of the global development agenda, the Paris Agreement, the centrality of water in all that we do and the role that extreme climate events will play in shaping our future. The presentation will conclude with some thought-provoking challenges and opportunities for climate change adaptation and present some conceptual frameworks for thinking through these responses in a holistic and integrated way to highlight how all of our actions are connected, through water.

Dr ZsuZsa Banhalmi-Zakar

Environmental Assessment and Management and Environmental Planning Practicum

dr-zsuzsa-banhalmi-zakarDr ZsuZsa Banhalmi-Zakar is a lecturer at the Griffith School of Environment. Currently she’s teaching courses in Environmental Assessment and Management and in Environmental Planning Practicum.

Her research expertise is the role of the environment in the development process with a focus on:

  • Environmental management practices of commercial and multilateral development banks.
  • Bankers’ understanding and perspectives of the environment.
  • Integration of the environment into bank lending processes.
  • Sustainable municipal waste management practices.
Ella McKinley

Ethics Analyst Australian Ethical Investment

ella-mckinleyElla McKinley is the ethics analyst at superannuation and managed funds company Australian Ethical Investment and oversees their climate change strategy. The company manages $1.5 billion for Australians who want to grow their savings without compromising on their values. On climate change this means investing in climate solutions like renewable energy and staying out of fossil fuel companies and carbon intensive industries.

Ella has worked on climate change from a range of perspectives, including time in Antarctica as a science researcher and working for the Federal Government’s former Department of Climate Change and Climate Council. Most recently, she joined 1 Million Women late last year on a trek in the Sumatran jungle to raise awareness about the impacts of palm oil production.

Fiona Armstrong

Founder and Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance

fiona-armstrongFiona Armstrong works in communications, policy, research and advocacy. She has a background as a health professional, journalist, in public policy analysis and advocacy. A longstanding environmentalist, her current focus is on the health implications of climate and energy policy. She is Founder and Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance, a coalition of health care stakeholders advocating for action on climate change to protect and promote public health, a founding director of CLIMARTE: Arts for a Safe Climate, a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, and an Associate at Melbourne Sustainable Societies Institute. She is based in Melbourne.

Fiona’s interest in climate policy stems from a lifelong awareness of the impact of the human population on the environment and her desire to contribute to ensuring a sustainable future. Her chief interests are in the development and implementation of comprehensive and integrated climate policy in Australia that is consistent with the latest climate science and ensures Australia assumes its fair share of the global obligation to reduce emissions.

Fiona’s health policy interests are in achieving greater equity and fairness in health, improving the quality and safety of health care, addressing inequities in rural and remote health, closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes and life expectancy, improving access to primary health care, and making greater use of the multidisciplinary health care team.

Recent publications include Coal and Health in the Hunter: Lessons from One Valley for the World and Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action, published by the Climate and Health Alliance and The Climate Institute.

Presentation Summary:
Health and Wellbeing Workshop Overview:

Australia’s obligations under the Paris Agreement with respect to health: Should Australia have a national climate and health strategy?

This workshop will stimulate discussion by members of the Gold Coast health and general community regarding Australia’s obligations under the new global climate agreement, the Paris Agreement, to protect its citizens’ “rights to health” and to recognise the health co-benefits associated with strategies to reduce emission when developing climate policy.

The workshop will introduce CAHA (Climate and Health Alliance) and its proposal for a National Strategy on Climate and Health to assist Australia in meeting its global obligations and to ensure a nationally coordinated approach to responding to the health impacts of climate change.

Participants in this Workshop will have an opportunity to respond to and discuss the key ‘themes’ proposed for a national policy framework.

Participants will be encouraged to broadly identify:

  • Key climate health risks for the Gold Coast (e.g. at local individual, communty, health services/ infrastructure levels)
  • Priority climate health action goals and actions for the Gold Coast (eg what themes, settings, populations?)
    (An example of a possible action could be “Gold Coast Hospital investigates/ joins the Global Green and Health Hospital Network”)
  • Co-benefits for health and wellbeing of effective Gold Coast actions
  • “Action team” members and the next steps for the Gold Coast health “actioneers”

In addition, we (at CAHA) would like to learn from this exercise:

  • What would the Gold Coast contribute to / need from a national plan on climate change and health?
  • How would this group contribute to the National Strategy?
Heather Boetta

Ecosocial transformation in Society

heather-boettaHeather Boetta is a lecturer in Social Work and Human Services at Charles Sturt University. She began work in the field of disability in the 1990’s and later practiced in areas of child welfare, school social work, women’s health, and private practice. Heather grew up in rural New South and has maintained an interest in rural social work practice, as well as other areas within a rural context, particularly ecological practice and gender.

Heather began teaching in the Social Work and Human Services discipline at CSU in 2003, initially as a casual lecturer, and since 2008 as a permanent staff member. Heather has taught in a broad range of subject areas, including social work theory and practice, social policy, child welfare, communications, introductory social welfare and fields of practice. Heather has a particular interest in assisting students transition developed knowledge (e.g. values and ethics, theory) into articulated strategies and approaches for practice and provides social work students with supervision when undertaking practicum placements as part of their course work. Heather is also involved in supporting social work students on international study abroad programs to develop knowledge and understanding about the global context of practice issues.

Although Heather has an interest in various research areas, her main focus relates to ecological social work. Heather commenced her PhD in 2013 to explore how ecological approaches can be incorporated into foundations of social work practice, and has published several articles relating to this topic.

Presentation Summary:
Transformative ecosocial change: A holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

The workshop will examine the link between the natural environment and human wellbeing and the need to mobilise people and communities as technical solutions are not sufficient. This will involve a change in human perceptions of themselves in relation to the natural world and a move towards more sustainable lifestyles. The workshop process will examine the key points of the Key Note speaker and discuss ways to advance initiatives currently underway to address mitigation and adaptation.

Heidi Taylor

Managing Director Tangaroa Blue Foundation

heidi-taylorHeidi Taylor, Managing Director, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Port Douglas, QLD Australia. Tangaroa Blue Foundation is a registered charity that coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI). This program is a national network of volunteers, communities, industry and government working on ways of removing marine debris from our coastlines and ocean, and preventing rubbish from entering our waterways in the first place. In 2004, she co-founded Tangaroa Blue Foundation and is currently the Managing Director of the charity and oversee the daily running of the organisation nationally.

Through the AMDI program, Tangaroa Blue Foundation has engaged over 50,000 volunteers, who have removed over 5 million pieces of marine debris and submitted data on what they have collected to our Australian Marine Debris Database. Clean-up activities have taken place at more than 1,600 sites around the country, and assisted in the implementation of 50 Source Reduction Plans which work at mitigating marine debris at the source.

If all we do is clean-up, that’s all we’ll ever do. The Australian Marine Debris Initiative focuses on finding practical ways to prevent marine debris from occurring in the first place.”

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary:

If all we do is clean-up, that’s all we’ll ever do. The Australian Marine Debris Initiative shows that clean-ups are important, but only one step of five that need to happen to actual mitigate marine debris at the source. Through this framework we can create strategic plans that actually reduces marine debris and improves the long term health of our marine and coastal environment.

Hope Evans

Director and Financial Advisor Simply Ethical Advice

hope-evansHope Evans is the Director and Financial Advisor at Simply Ethical Advice, a financial planning company. Licensed under Ethical Investment Advisers, her business specialises in Values Based, Ethical and Responsible Investment. Hope established Simply Ethical Advice because she perceives long term value in Ethical Investment and could not access this through a mainstream financial planning practice.

Hope assists clients in divesting from industries, companies and investments that are not in line with their goals and values. Ethical investment adds an additional layer of risk management onto investments by considering at additional information when making investment decisions. This means that investments are less likely to be exposed to potentially negative social, environmental and corporate government risks.

Hope has worked in financial planning for seven years. She holds a Masters in Environmental Management (Sustainable Development) from Bond University and specialises in ethical and climate-related investments.

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary:

The world is moving towards renewable energy and low carbon power production. Here in Australia we are slow to act. Lack of planning for the transition to renewable energy and replacement of our fossil fuel export income, is likely to cause seriously disrupt our financial markets and therefore our superannuation holdings. There are steps individuals can take to impact this emerging issue.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

Presenter Gardening Australia

jerry-colby-williamsJerry Coleby-Williams is a curator, author, Director of the Seed Saver’s Network, and Patron of Householder’s Options for Protecting the Environment Inc.

Gardening since the age of four, and trained by the world’s foremost botanic garden – the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – and by Royal Horticultural Society – the world’s foremost horticultural society – Jerry is qualified in horticulture, conservation, arboriculture, botanical sciences and management.

A botanical expedition took him to Western Australia where he discovered and documented new plant species and varieties. Impressed, Jerry decided to emigrate.

Jerry has unusually rich professional experience having managed production nurseries, urban forests, heritage parks, one of London’s busiest garden centres, and he helped establish Mt Annan Botanic Garden (NSW). For over eleven years, Jerry managed the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, where he planted the first Wollemi pine.

In 2003 Jerry founded ‘Bellis’, an award-winning, thrifty, sustainable house and garden in Brisbane. His garden, unique in Queensland, is opened to the public each year.

Jerry has been a presenter on ABC TV’s ‘Gardening Australia’ show since 2000, and has been a radio talkback gardening presenter in NSW and Queensland since 1995.

Jim Reeves

Director-General Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

jim-reevesJim Reeves is the Director-General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Previous to his appointment Jim was Director, Operations for the Institute for Future Environments.

Jim has an extensive background in public policy development and implementation and has held senior management roles in state and local government in the areas of urban systems, regional planning and community development.

Prior to joining QUT in 2007 he was the Manager of Brisbane Water, one of Australia’s largest water businesses. During his time at Brisbane Water he managed the ramifications of the worst drought on record. This required the reorientation of the business away from a narrow focus on engineering and asset management to a holistic approach focused on resource management and long term sustainability.

He oversaw a significant capital investment program particularly in the area of waste water treatment. Brisbane now has the most modern fleet of waste water treatment plants in Australia. During 2011–12, Jim was the Director-General of the Department of Environment and Resource Management. He has also held a range of board positions including Chairman of the Brisbane Powerhouse, Board Membership of the Water Services Association of Australia, and the Urban Land Development Authority.

Jim has a Degree in Behavioural Science and Graduate Diploma in Applied Social Psychology.

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary

Climate change brings many challenges for Queensland but also opportunities to transform our economy and lifestyles in ways that reduce emissions and bring co-benefits for our environment.  Jim Reeves will speak to the exciting initiatives occurring across Queensland to shift to renewable energy generation and build clean industries and a low carbon future.  He will also highlight collaborative projects that are assisting communities to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change, reducing future social, environmental and economic costs.

Joel Sutton

Brisbane Volunteer Coordinator for Beyond Zero Emissions

joel-suttonJoel Sutton has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, and works in the rail industry. His ideal job would be involvement in construction of a high speed rail link in Australia. In his spare time, he volunteers for BZE, an organisation he first heard about while at university. In 2015 he stepped up to act as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Brisbane area, and has been involved in organising report launches, training workshops and presenting BZE materials to the wider community.

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary

A summary of BZE’s most recently launched report, Renewable Energy Superpower.

Larissa Baldwin

Seed National Coordinator and AYCC Queensland Campaigner – Keynote Speaker

larissa-baldwinLarissa Baldwin is a Bundjalung woman and the Seed National Coordinator and AYCC Queensland Campaigner. Larissa is passionate about a range of social justice issues facing Indigenous communities and seeks change through self-determination and indigenous youth leadership. Being a descendent of the oldest living culture she knows that we can live sustainably off this land because her ancestors have for over 40,000 years. Larissa continues to work for Oxfam across their Indigenous programs to help young people and women engage with decision makers and advocate on behalf of their families and communities.

Mara Bun

Company Director, Consultant and Moderator of Gatherings with Purpose

mara-bunMara Bun is a Company Director, Consultant and Moderator of gatherings with purpose. She is Chairman of the Board of Gold Coast Waterways Authority, and is a Non-Executive Director of the boards of Australian Ethical Investments and Enova Community Energy.

Previously for 7 years Mara was CEO of Green Cross Australia, a not-for-profit that empowers a resilient Australia through climate adaptation, disaster preparedness and environmental education partnerships. Before joining Green Cross (where she occasionally offers consulting support), Mara had senior executive roles in the finance, research and community sectors. She served as Director of Business Development at CSIRO, Senior Equities Analyst at Macquarie Bank, Director at the Allen Consulting Group, Senior Financial Analyst at Morgan Stanley and Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Choice.

Mara was a Director of the Board of Bush Heritage Australia for ten years from 1996, serving as Treasurer during a time when Bush Heritage scaled its high conservation value reserves nationally. She was a member of the Advisory Council of the NSW Sustainable Energy Development Authority for 6 years, catalysing commercial scale energy efficiency and renewable energy funding programs in the 1990s.

Mayor Simon Richardson

Mayor of Byron Shire Council

mayor-simon-richardsonSimon Richardson, a local high school teacher is the new Mayor of Byron Shire. Simon will be resigning his teaching position and devoting himself full-time to the Mayoral role. He is leading our team because he provides both experience with our local government and commitment to our community. While Simon is committed to upholding Greens values he is also pragmatic about resolving the challenges facing our community.

Simon is husband to Jane, a Father to Frida, aged 3, and Matilda born on Monday 23rd July 2012. He is passionate about our Shire and is keen to preserve the past successes of the Greens in keeping the Shire protected from overdevelopment whilst meeting the challenges ahead with innovation, and intelligence. Simon says

I’m about community, sustainability and integrity. As a teacher and Byron Shire Councillor, I have worked hard to keep Byron Shire liveable and affordable. Now, I am ready to be the Shire’s progressive voice as Mayor. I believe our Shire can lead the world in creating a creative, sustainable and innovative community for the 21st century.“

Simon asserts the magic and uniqueness of the Byron Shire has not just happened by accident, rather it is the result of empowered, active and progressive community members over several decades. Like many others, Simon feels he has a responsibility to ensure his kids are able to live and thrive here.

Ned Wales

Adjunct Assistant Professor in Urban Design and Planning

Ned WalesNed Wales after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, he worked in the City of Oakland as statutory City Planner and then later in San Francisco with the Sassaki Urban Design Group on large master planning projects such as Euro-Disney outside of Paris and the City of San Francisco Specific Plan. While studying at Cornell University, Ned continued his design research in master planning communities in New York City.

Later He moved to Los Angeles where he played a lead role in the urban design of the Sunset Boulevard Specific Plan and Santa Monica Boulevard Streetscape Master Plan. In the mid 1990’s Ned continued his professional practice with Wallace Roberts & Todd in San Diego working on the City of Tucson Air Quality Master Plan. After moving back to the Greater Bay Area, Ned was elected to public office, in Northern California and nominated Treasure of the Petaluma Health Care District for several years supervising the allocation of funds of a multimillion dollar heath care budget.

On returning to Australia he accepted a lecturing role at QUT’s Urban Planning Program while undertaking research evaluating the success of sustainable development practices in Master Planned Communities and local government planning schemes. Later, Ned joined Gold Coast City Council working as the lead urban designer and then coordinating the Environmental Planning and Conservation Unit. For the past several years Ned has returned to academic lecturing and research at Bond University.

Professor Brendan Mackey

Director, Griffith Climate Change Response Program – Keynote Speaker

professor-brendan-mackeyBrendan’s research interests range from:

  • The interactions between climate change, biodiversity and land use; The role of science in policy formulation of environmental regulatory frameworks; The nexus between climate change responses and sustainable development; and Science and policy of ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation and related public policy issues.
  • Brendan is a member of the Global Council for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He also serves on various governmental advisory bodies including the science advisory group to the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative.
  • Brendan has written over 150 academic publications including journal articles, books and books chapter.
  • The full publication list for Brendan Mackey.

His current research grants include:

  • Supporting the Regional Management of Climate Change Information in the Pacific (Pacific iCLIM). Funded by the Government Partnerships for Development Program from the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Further information – Pacific Climate Change Information.
  • Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory. Funded by the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR). Further information – Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory
Professor Catherine Pickering

World Leader Recreation Ecology

professor-catherine-pickeringProfessor Catherine Pickering has over 25 year’s research experience in ecology, including on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in Australia. This includes how climate change affects the distribution of native plants and weeds, and how we can bolster environmental resilience along with assessing the economic, environmental and social limits to some current adaptation strategies. She is a member of international collaborative research programs on climate change, such as the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) program.

Professor Pickering is also a world leader in the area of recreation ecology which assesses the impacts of tourism and recreational use on natural ecosystems. She collaborates with parks agencies in Australia and overseas about how to effectively managing tourism and recreation in natural areas, both from an ecological and social perspective, along with assessing the best ways to manage different types of disturbance such as those associated with climate change. This includes presenting training courses, workshops and seminars to stakeholders, the public and academics nationally and internationally.

Currently, Professor Pickering lectures at the Griffith School of Environment and researches climate change, sustainable tourism and recreation and plant ecology. She has over 250 publications. She is also active in developing technology to promote biodiversity conservation. This includes the free app for smartphones and tablets ‘Grows at Griffith’ that can be used to identify 300 plants found at the five campuses of Griffith University. She is currently collaborating with the environmental consulting company Natura to produce a free app for gardening with natives in South Eastern Queensland for release early in 2017.

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary

The Gold Coast has an amazing diversity of native flora and fauna, with more than 1700 native plants calling the Gold Coast home. Sadly some of our stunning local plants are at increasing risk of extinction due to land clearing, weeds, changed fire regimes, and now the big threat of climate change. In addition to the more general call to action to reduce greenhouse gasses, we can help conserve our flora by changing what we grow in our gardens and landscapes. This can reduce the chance of our garden plants going wild and becoming environmental weeds and replace some of the habitat lost to clearing. At Griffith University we are using technology to help us know more and do more with local plants and animals. We have already produced a free app for smart phones and tablets – ‘Grows at Griffith’ – that can be used identify 300 local plants, and includes 900 stunning images. We are now collaborating with the local environmental company, Natura, to produce a free app – ‘Gardening with Natives’ – with funding from the Queensland Government to help us re-green the Gold Coast using local natives. This will increase the resilience of the local native flora to the direct and indirect impacts of climate change, while also making our city an even greater place to live.

Professor Jean-Marc Hero

Environmental Futures Research Institute Griffith University

professor-jean-marc-heroProfessor Jean-Marc Hero is a member of the Environmental Futures Research Institute at Griffith University. His research focuses primarily on conservation and biodiversity, and he has a well-established national and international reputation as a leading amphibian research scientist. He leads a team focusing on causes of global amphibian declines (disease, habitat loss and pollution), amphibian adaptation, response to climate change, and more recently into the exciting field of conservation physiology looking at how frogs respond to disease (chytridiomycosis) and climate change.

In recent years his research has expanded more broadly into biodiversity conservation, establishing a system of Long-term Ecological Research sites in Australia (within TERN, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network), and in Nepal as part of an international PPBio (Program for Planned Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research) network, for measuring and monitoring the impacts of climate change.

Professor Jean-Marc Hero currently lectures in Vertebrate Biology, Conservation Biology, and an international fieldcourse Conservation in Practice. He is the Secretary General for the World Congress of Herpetology, on the Board of Directors of Save the Bilby Fund, and Save the Frogs, and an active member of the Australian Society of Herpetologists.

His research expertise includes:

  • Long term Biodiversity Assessment and monitoring.
  • Conservation Biology of amphibians and reptiles.
  • Life-history characteristics associated with rarity and extinction.
  • Global amphibian declines.
  • Community ecology of amphibians.
  • Ecological determinants of biodiversity and species richness.
  • Environmental management and impact assessment.
  • Experimental design.
  • Scientific communications
Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary

My talk will focus on likely affects of CC on biodiversity, briefly discuss how fauna could respond to CC (adapt or move), and what we can do to minimize biodiversity loss (e.g. landscape connectivity and assisted migration).

Professor Susanne Becken

Professor of Sustainable Tourism Griffith University

dr-susanne-beckenProfessor Susanne Becken is a Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University, Australia, and an Adjunct Professor at Lincoln University, New Zealand. Susanne is a globally recognized expert in the field of sustainable tourism, in particular climate change, resource management, resilience, and environmental behaviour. Her research, which is published in more than 100 journal papers, reports and books, is widely cited by academics around the world, and has also influenced government policy and industry practice.

Susanne acted as a contributing author to the Fourth and Fifth IPCC Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change and represented Asia-Pacific on the World Meteorological Organisation’s Expert Team on Climate and Tourism. Susanne has undertaken consultancy work for a range of Government organisations, the United Nations and industry and contributed to linking academic theory with sustainable business and tourism management.

Susanne is frequently invited as a keynote speaker at international conference and she is on the editorial boards of Annals of Tourism Research, the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, and Tourism Review. In 2011, her achievements were formally recognised through the Emerging Scholar of Distinction Award from the International Academy of the Study of Tourism.

Presentation Summary:
Sustainable Tourism  and Climate Change:

The presentation will begin by highlighting the importance of travel and tourism not only as an economic activity, but also as a social phenomenon. The links with climate change are summarised and focus on tourism’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, its vulnerability to climate impacts, and its relationship to climate change policies. The presentation will the focus on opportunities that arise from the impending crisis, both in the area of decarbonising tourism and making it more resilient. Practical examples will be given on how progress in energy efficiency, renewable energy and other ways of developing low-carbon tourism will benefit ‘business’. Similarly, best practice examples from climate resilient and disaster-proof tourism businesses or destinations highlight the benefit from planning ahead and adapting to changing climatic conditions. Local examples of leaders in the field will be provided and the presentation concludes with ‘outside the box’ ideas of how tourism can not only transform as an industry, but how it might also have benefits for society more broadly.

Robert Pekin

Executive Director Food Connect Foundation

robert-perkinRobert Pekin, from organic dairy farming to pioneering the community supported agriculture (CSA) movement in Australia, Robert has championed systemic change in agriculture, finance, and culture over the past 20 years using the theories, concepts and principles from Distributionism to Associative Economics, Permaculture to Sociocracy.

After 9 years researching and implementing new models of local food systems across Australia, Robert in 2004 founded Food Connect, a dynamic, multifarmer local food hub social enterprise based in Brisbane. In 2009 the Food Connect model was replicated around Australia and NZ under the Auspices of the Not For Profit, Food Connect Foundation.

Under Roberts leadership the Food Connect Foundation was instrumental in bringing together over 200 diverse organisations and individuals in 2011 to launch the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. Currently a board member of three organisations including the global open source software organisation Open Food Network.

Robert combines his CIEIO role with mentoring and consultancy focusing on bringing together the diverse actors across the food system to collaborate on collective solutions for a better society.

Presentation Summary:
Fair Food Enterprises for A Cooler Planet

Robert will present the opportunities in Food Hubs for Social Enterprises wanting to tackle the systemic issues in the food system contributing to climate change. i.e Short Food chains, ethical aggregation, story telling, ecological processing, fair (true cost) pricing.

Rod Quantock OAM

Conference Dinner Guest Speaker

rod-quantock-01Rod Quantock OAM has been MCing and speaking at conferences, events, rallies, on buses, at schools – and just about every other kind of setting you can imagine – for decades. He’s unflappable, funny, bright and good with people.

Rod Quantock is one of the reasons that Melbourne is the live comedy capital of Australia. As a pioneer of stand up comedy, Rod has more than forty-five years experience working in cabaret, theatre, television and radio. He has not mellowed as he’s aged and has remained sharp, insightful and fiercely political; lobbing Molotov Cocktails of Mirth at politics and society.

Equal parts comedian and environmental activist, Rod was awarded an OAM in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to sustainability and conservation as well as the performing arts. Rod said of the honour,

Half my life is being a comedian and the other half talking about sustainability,” Quantock, 66, says. “I’ve spent 10 years working on climate change and peak oil and doing shows on them.”

Rod began writing and performing comedy at Melbourne University in the late sixties, then graduated to Melbourne’s fledgling – and now legendary – alternative nightspots such as The Flying Trapeze Cafe, Foibles Theatre Restaurant, The Last Laugh & his own venue, The Comedy Cafe & Banana Lounge. He was a weekly columnist for the first five years of the Sunday Age and a founding board member of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Rod’s contribution to Australian cultural life was rewarded when he received a Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award in 2004, putting him in the company of such arts luminaries as Geoffrey Rush, Robyn Nevin, Nick Enright, Lucy Guerin and Paul Grabowsky. His contribution to Australia’s political life has also been rewarded in the form of an Honorary Associate Fellowship at the Institute of Sustainability at Melbourne University.

Roman Spur

Inspirational, Educational and Empowering Presenter

roman-spurRoman Spur is an inspirational, educational and empowering presenter. As a sustainable design engineer, he lives what he preaches. He has transformed an inner city rented property into a productive food source and is living sustainable in complete happiness. He has appeared on the ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, on Bris31 TV’s Blooming in Brisbane and in the Courier Mail

For more details about Roman’s work & his family’s sustainable living story:

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary

Be inspired by guest speaker Roman SPUR who transforms an inner city rented property into a productive food source and living sustainably in complete happiness. You could see him on the ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, Courier Mail or presentations and workshops.

Roman and his family will share how working towards self-sufficiency (growing food, making home produce, up-cycling materials, using urban environment to their benefit and living in a small functional community) make his family less reliant on the society.
There will be plenty of ideas and inventions to show (self-watering planter boxes, homemade laundry Detergent and citrus softener, Solar hot water system made from recycled materials for less than $50 etc.) so do not miss out!

Trevor Berrill

Sustainable Energy Systems Consultant & Educator

trevor-berrillTrevor Berrill is an award winning, private consultant in sustainable energy (SE).

He is the author of “Solar Electricity Consumer Guide” and author/co-author to a range of renewable energy technical training resources books.

Trevor was branch president of the Australian Solar Energy Society and a founding member in Queensland of the Alternative Technology and Wind Energy Associations.

Trevor has worked in both renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) for over 30 years, including:

  • Solar and Wind Energy System design and installation,
  • Energy Efficient Building design,
  • Solar Water Heating design and installation,
  • Energy auditing homes, businesses and schools,
  • RE Research and development at UQ, QUT and GU,
  • RE Technical training,
  • RE Public education and policy.

Trevor is trained in mechanical engineering and energy auditing at QUT and has a Masters of Environmental Education degree from Griffith University.

Trevor lives in a fully solar powered, energy efficient home which includes the first grid connected solar PV system in the Redlands. Trevor windsurfs regularly at Wellington Point, just to test the power of the wind.

Presentation Summary:
Presentation Summary

This presentation will outline the revolution happening in energy generation and use in many countries now, away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and energy efficiency. In particular it will examine the most likely renewable energy options for Queensland, in line with meeting the State Government’s goal of 50 percent electricity generation from renewable energy by 2030. It will give an estimate of potential investment required and job creation and skills. A smart distributed electricity grid is part of this energy revolution. This transition provides many opportunities for new innovative skills and technology, as well as forms of social organisation and control. It will include the potential impacts on transportation and personal mobility as well.

The workshop will work in groups to examine and report on the potential development and application of skills and technology to mitigate and adapt to global warming, and to provide a more resilient, democratic and equitable energy system.