Extreme events are becoming more devastating and more frequent. Communities, economies and ecosystems have increasingly less time to bounce back between them. How do we build resilience for the future? This summer’s devastating bushfires and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic have given Australians an alarming insight to the sustained uncertainty we will be facing under a rapidly changing climate. Mike Flattley (Royal Society of Victoria) and Anthony Boxshall (Science Into Action) invited a number of speakers to discuss how we can build resilience into our planning strategies for water, agriculture and biodiversity. Featuring David McKenzie and Claire Flanagan-Smith on the Goulburn Murray Resilience Strategy, Lauren Rickards on Climate Change and Systems Transformation, Brendan Wintle on Decision Making for Biodiversity, Briony Rogers on Preparing the Water Sector for Transition, Richard Eckard on the Transition of the Agricultural Sector, and Sarah Bekessy on Building Community Ownership and Agency in the process.
Our climate is already changing. Under the Paris Agreement, Australia and the world’s great nations have committed to reducing global temperatures to a 1.5-2°C rise over pre-industrial levels. Should this exercise prove successful, a 2°C rise will still have far-reaching climate effects, with major implications for the State of Victoria. This panel of senior scientists were gathered together by the Governor of Victoria to showcase some of the work in climate adaptation produced in our state and, most importantly, share actions we could all take in our personal and professional lives to adapt to the “new normal.”
A breakthrough in disease prediction saved canola farmers on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, at least $18 million in 2012. The major threat to canola, Australia’s third most valuable grain crop, is a fungal disease named blackleg, which causes cankers at the base of the canola stem. Over the last decade, a team led by Professor Barbara Howlett, School of Botany, the University of Melbourne, and funded by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), has used traditional and molecular genetic techniques to monitor blackleg resistance of canola varieties sown across Australia. Professor Howlett’s scientific research underpins advice to farmers on best management practices to minimise losses in crop yield due to blackleg infections.