Ovens & Murray Advertiser

Local profession­al advocates for a change in climate change language

- By CORAL COOKSLEY

A LOCAL environmen­tal profession­al with nearly 30 years experience working with Australian and Canadian government­s with a focus on climate change for the past 12 of believes language around the subject needs to change.

Beechworth resident and Regional Climate Change director Narelle Martin, who recently completed a degree in Applied Positive Psychology, presented her case as a conversati­on starter for the local Beechworth Rotary Club at the end of last year.

The club was one of the first of a number of different organisati­ons to be delivered the outcome of her recent university study that looked at climate change and hope.

The profession­al with her interest in how climate change impacted people, said she was looking to work with groups across the region.

Ms Martin has argued that climate change is driven by physics, with the foundation for science on climate change establishe­d from 1824.

“French physicist Jean-Baptiste Fourier undertook research into solar energy difference­s in and out of the atmosphere in that year; Irish physicist John Tyndall in 1859 tested the theory that different gases absorbed varying amounts of radiation; and Swedish scientist Arrhenius in 1896 calculated how changes in carbon dioxide concentrat­ion could lead to changes in average surface temperatur­e of the earth,” she said.

With the earth already one degree hotter, Ms Martin said climate change impacts included health, business, economics, and many infrastruc­tures.

“There’s good science undertaken by organisati­ons like the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorolog­y (BOM) undertakin­g regular research as well as the World Health Organisati­on,” she said.

Ms Martin said the way climate change messages were framed had a huge impact on how people perceived informatio­n.

“Framing refers to the choices of language or emphasis where different framing means climate change topics are emphasised or made less obvious,” she said.

Building on her recent studies, Ms Martin’s business project strategies include developing a pilot program of building hope.

“Hope has three elements - having a goal, a way of achieving a goal, and ways to overcome barriers,” she said.

“There continues to be many examples of people undertakin­g action with positive impacts for climate change.”

Ms Martin said she had noted a shift in emphasis around climate change with a clearer understand­ing that it impacted businesses.

She said the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA)- which oversees banking, insurance and superannua­tion industries - was a great example.

“It’s a game-changer as APRA has identified climate change as a current risk to business requiring companies to rethink their exposure and business risk to climate change and requires these businesses to identify what the risks are and how they will reduce the risk,” Ms Martin said.

“This means company directors in this sector have been put on notice.

“The Reserve Bank has also used the term ‘ weight of money’ where they have identified that investment­s are shifting away from carbon intensive assets.”

Ms Martin said building community resilience through connection­s and conversati­ons between people were important.

“Many people already undertake actions which reduce emissions but may not see the connection - there are many initiative­s around food,” she said.

“For example, growing your own vegetables, or buying directly from local farmers are examples of reducing food miles.”

Ms Martin, who is interested in undertakin­g kitche table conversati­ons, said research indicated the majority of Australian­s showed concern about climate change with deniers around five percent of the population.

Beechworth Rotary Club president Jim Fiford said he found Narelle’s presentati­on impressive, with its focus on the need to achieve co-operation by communitie­s, businesses and organisati­ons to overcome present divisions in society over climate change.

“We can work together to find solutions to all complex factors involved with the need to look not just at environmen­tal impacts but include the financial and emotional impacts on our whole society,” he said.

“Co-operation and meaningful conversati­ons give us hope to overcome barriers and achieve solutions to the crises we are facing if we continue our polarised approach.”

 ?? PHOTO: Coral Cooksley ?? GAME-CHANGER: Regional Climate Change director Narelle Martin delivered a presentati­on on changing climate change language to Beechworth Rotary Club members. She is pictured with secretary George Browne (left) and president Jim Fiford.
PHOTO: Coral Cooksley GAME-CHANGER: Regional Climate Change director Narelle Martin delivered a presentati­on on changing climate change language to Beechworth Rotary Club members. She is pictured with secretary George Browne (left) and president Jim Fiford.

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