The home of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot once stretched from Melbourne to the South Australian border. In the 1970’s, the population dropped to around 1000 and then, within a decade, there were only 150 left. The last refuge of the EBBs was in Hamilton – one of the last places in Victoria they could be found in the wild. In 1988, the EBB Recovery Team was formed to respond to the continued population decline, and they had to act quickly.
Following the United Nations Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report, Professor Brendan Wintle discussed and celebrated the crucial role that ecologists can play (and are playing) in co-designing and implementing solutions to the extinction crisis, in partnership with private land conservation organisations, Indigenous land managers, developers, and governments.
A multi-disciplinary panel gathered to discuss what they see as inspirational for scientists, governments and communities to take action in response to COVID-19, devastating bushfires, and systemic racism and social unrest. Before the pandemic we were amongst the unbridled fires, lush landscapes were blistering, and communities came together to offer donations and support to rebuild towns that were destroyed. During the pandemic and in lockdown we feel as if we’re in a snow dome. Gaps in wealth, age, sex, age and disability became highlighted and people marched forcefully with thunder in response to social injustice. Once we emerge, we hope to have better communication with scientists and vigorously carve out a new equilibrium.
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.
I’ve been alerted to a number of concerns held by those attending the peaceful protest action at the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) last Friday afternoon for the cancellation of DELWP’s community consultation and subsequent closure of the Society’s building. This statement is provided at my earliest opportunity to help clarify matters from the Society’s perspective. As an independent organisation, the Society’s relationship with government is complex. In some cases we act as a partner, in some as a service provider, and in others as a venue provider.