When Billie Giles-Corti first came to Melbourne, she was challenged by her colleague Dr Ian Butterworth to provide evidence that good urban planning is connected to health in a way that could influence policy. They looked into the social determinants of health: the economic, social and political systems that shape conditions of daily life. They believed that health is linked to access to reliable public transport, health food, local parks, places of leisure, and friends and family.
Imagine sweltering through four days of 40°C – 50°C temperatures. Or not being able to get home because flooding has disrupted rail and road networks. With the changing global climate, such scenarios are possible within the next 20 years. The question is: will Victoria be resilient to these challenges? This is the problem senior government officials and researchers gathered together to answer. RSV’s inaugural Future Thinking Forum saw representatives from over 35 agencies, including universities and government, meet to discuss Victoria’s capacity to cope with extreme weather. The proceedings began with the description of two possible extreme weather scenarios: a severe heatwave and an extreme flooding and wind event. These scenarios were not one of a distant future, nor were they from a dystopian, Eco-Disaster novel. They could be Victoria’s reality within the next two decades.