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.
On 8 October, a group of about 16 people, including the Society’s Councillors, the senior team from Grocon and the leaders of Decibel Architecture, convened in the historic Burke & Wills Room to sign a Heads of Agreement, setting out the scope of our collaboration for our proposed Magic Project. In this place of deep significance to Victoria’s rich history of scientific endeavour, we took a major step on the path to realising a future vision for Victoria’s scientific capabilities. In exploring the boundaries of what we can achieve on our small, CBD site, we embark on a new expedition; to be well planned, and with the appropriate expertise in the mix to lead us through as a community of members and supporters. This is substantially new work in the development sector, and will require a translational research approach – the opportunities for involvement by some of Victoria’s outstanding scholars in the broad field of sustainable urban development are plain to see.
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.