The South West Science Council, based in the South West region of W.A. and our primary biodiversity hotspot, celebrated its first year of activity in fostering community engagement with science and STEM education with a half–day Symposium on the climate pressures in the region, on its principal natural resources, business activities and social challenges.
Professor Adrian Egan FTSE, Chair of the Council, introduced the symposium with a call for greater uptake of science education and community engagement with science to meet the ever-growing need for sound, evidence-based problem solving and better and more timely decision making.
The nine speakers including Professor Peter Klinken, the Chief Scientist of W.A., covered evidence-based impacts and projected further challenges to be met in this century, emphasizing the need for regional strategic planning and advancing both the need and the opportunities for adaptation. The systems reviewed were fisheries, marine ecology, ecosystem services, forests, agriculture, human health and urban design for regional cities and towns.
A central and recurring theme, strongly developed in the keynote address by Professor Peter Klinken, was the role of science, technology and innovation in identifying threats and risks at an early stage, promoting and utilizing the tools and knowledge already available and discovering new options to meet the emerging challenges.
The Symposium was attended by a large and diverse audience of professionals, science educators, students, farmers, business owners and members of the general public. The symposium concluded with a Q&A Panel discussion, which was very lively and prolonged by demand. This added great value to the day and formal evaluation identified this as a further highlight in extending the informative content of the event. The Symposium also attracted both a very positive article and an Editorial in the regional print media.
Dr Mike Christensen – South West Catchments Council
Incorporating Projected Trends of a Changing Climate into Community-Based Regional-Scale NRM Planning
Dr Nick Caputi – Department of Fisheries Research Laboratories
Climate Change Effects on Fisheries in WA
Dr Kathryn McMahon – Marine Ecosystems research and School of Sciences, ECU
Climate Change –Predictions and Impacts in the Marine Environment and Strategies for Management
Dr Judy Fisher – Ecologist Research Associate, WA Museum
A New Approach to Biodiversity, Local Science Influencing State, National and International Decisions
Dr Katinka Ruthrof – Research Associate Murdoch University
Forests: Consequences of Drought and Heat Events
Professor Adrian Egan – South West Science Council
SW Agriculture and Food Production
Dr Naru Pal- Public Health Physician, WA Country Health Services – South West and Wheatbelt
Health and Climate Change
Dr Mike Mouritz -Director Economic Development, City of Canning
Climate Change : What Does it Have To Do With Cities and Towns ?
Professor Peter Klinken – Chief Scientist of Western Australia
Presentation to the South West Science Symposium