Wednesday 24 February 2021

Climate change will be a key priority for Neighbourhood Houses Victoria in 2021 after forging an exciting new partnership with Museums Victoria and The Royal Society of Victoria.

The aim of the Climate Change and Environment Program will be to generate community conversations and greater local action on the issue of climate change in neighbourhood houses across Victoria.

“It’s easy to be daunted by the magnitude of the climate crisis and to think, there’s not much my small organisation can do to make a meaningful difference,” Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO Nicole Battle said.

“We want to change that thought process because there are many opportunities for our houses to influence change. And that’s not just me being an optimist – we have many houses already doing the work. The aim of this program is to expand those efforts and to make climate action a real priority across the sector.

“Australia’s score card on climate change leaves a lot to be desired so while our Federal politicians continue to drag their feet on the issue, it’s up to us as leaders in our communities to show real initiative.

Nicole warned that climate change wasn't a future threat, but a current one already showing devastating consequences.

“You don’t have to be a scientist to understand the impact climate change is having on our environment, our health and liveability. Several of our houses saw first-hand the devastation caused by the 2019/20 bushfire season – the extremity of this was no coincidence. Our summers are getting hotter and dryer. In fact, in 2019 we experienced 43 extremely warm days, more than triple the number in any of the years prior to 2000.”[1]

The program includes a number of components including workshops, webinars and grants to host events during National Science Week.

“We’re very fortunate to be teaming up with experts in this field at Museums Victoria and The Royal Society of Victoria to help bring our sector up to speed and create positive change in our communities,” Nicole said.

Kate Phillips, Senior Curator at Museums Victoria, said there were many ways to actively reduce our climate emissions.

"In addition to all the energy related ones such as solar panels, insulation and draft busting, there are other ways including reducing food waste, active transport such as walking and cycling, repairing things rather than throwing them away and talking about climate action at home and at work," Kate said.

"I have been impressed with the range of wonderful things already happening at neighbourhood houses and through the Thriving Future workshops, I am looking forward to helping them recognise how their existing work contributes to climate action, and to clarify the next steps to enhance their impact."

CEO of The Royal Society of Victoria, Mike Flattley, said he was excited to be working with Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.

"In adopting the Sustainable Development Goals as their own, they have created an ideal opportunity to work with learning communities across the state, helping us care for our country and our people through what is surely the greatest challenge of our age," Mike said.

"Well informed, grass roots, localised action on a global scale offers the best chance for mitigating the most dire climate change scenarios while adapting successfully to emerging conditions that are now essentially unavoidable. The Royal Society of Victoria is really delighted to direct Museum Victoria's resident expertise where it matters most - the communities across our state who can put science to work for our diverse landscapes, biodiversity and primary production."

Find out more about the Climate Change and Environment Program and how your neighbourhood house can get involved.

[1] CSIRO - State of Climate 2020