This project provides links between RMIT academics working on climate change with civil society groups and individuals whose work has a similar focus.
The purpose is to enhance the climate change work of both groups. The Climate Change Transformation group of academics and the Climate Change Exchange are key RMIT partners. Civil society groups include both traditional long-term players in this policy area such as the ACF, Environment Victoria and Friends of the Earth, as well as newer groups that reflect the increasing diversity of players in this area – Democracy in Colour, Climate for Change, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Tipping Point, Environmental Justice Australia and Market Forces.
The outcome is to ensure that academic work on climate is grounded in the day to day experience of civil society players, and that civil society has access to the latest research in a wide range of climate related areas.
Outputs to date are the delivery of 9 training sessions providing the historical context of Australian climate politics, as part of the Community Organising Fellowship from 2017 to 2019. The Fellowship, provides training to community organisers, the majority of whom are working on climate change in community settings and is sponsored by the Australian Change Agency and the US Sierra Club. www.thechangeagency.org>community-organising-fellowship>
Mentoring of numerous civil society leaders is continuing throughout the project in both informal and formal settings.
Government measures attempting to restrict free speech and the right of civil society to organise have become more targeted towards environment groups as the climate crisis deepens. A number of popular articles have been published describing this phenomenon and supporting a democratic model inclusive of civil society advocacy. For example, see here. Also see joanstaples.org/publications for a comprehensive list of articles.