Veronica Ho from NBRS+PARTNERS attended the University of Melbourne’s annual Festival of Ideas’ Environment Day. This day consisted of numerous inspiring talks about current and potential environmental issues. Many of the themes addressed were well aligned with our research publication 2050 Beyond the Third Workplace, rethinking the future of workplaces and cities.
The first talk, Imagine 2033: How we achieve a healthy post-carbon world discussed very realistic changes that could be implemented to achieve a post-carbon world. Author, activist and environmentalist, Anna Rose discussed the need to remove both economic and social licensing to fossil fuelling. Miriam Lyons, Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Development pointed out renewable energy as the fastest growing sector and the trend in consuming services. Professor Chris Ryan, Director of Eco-Innovation Lab encouraged the need for change. He mentioned that positive change requires three things: disruptions, complex interactions and social and technical systems. He emphasised the need to “promote globally a culture of rational expectation that transition can and will occur”. Simon McKeon, Executive Chairman of Macquarie Group’s Melbourne office focused the need to change culture and our attitude in order to create positive change. Overall, this talk highlighted the power of mindset, culture and attitude in implementing positive change for our environment.
The Liveable City discussed what it means to make a city liveable and ways to achieve this. David Burney, Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction promoted the Active Design Guidelines and emphasised health as a significant aspect of liveability. CEO of CoDesign Studio, Lucinda Hartley shared her expertise in creating better ‘software’ for the city. Whilst liveability is highly affected by urban planning, the atmosphere of the city streets also play a significant role. The Director of City Design of the City of Melbourne, Rob Adams mentioned the change from mono to multifunctional as a means of increasing liveability. The ideas shared by these speakers focused on small changes that we could make to increase liveability.
The final talk for Environment Day, Country, Place and Wellbeing discussed the need to respect and look after our indigenous community and asylum seekers. Marcia Langton, Chair of Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne emphasised the need to provide choice and access to the Aboriginal community. Similarly, Papaarangi Reid, Mauri Health researcher used her personal experiences to discuss the need to respect and protect indigenous culture. Kon Karapanagiotidis, CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre passionately spoke about asylum seekers’ role in community and their current lack of input compared with their potential. This particular talk raised awareness to minority groups in our community and the need to look after their culture and their health in order to protect our environment.
Environment Day was a thought-provoking event which called for a rethink in the current ways we address our environment. The speakers in these three talks were able to convey current and potential future environmental concerns if our society is to continue its current progression. We applaud the University of Melbourne for hosting this innovative and necessary discussion.