Advocating for the natural world

Professor Kath Bowmer

Professor Kath Bowmer

by Institute Advisory Board member Prof Kathleen Bowmer

Now I’ve finally retired from the academic and scientific rat-race I have the luxury of reflecting on a career of over forty years in natural resource management. It’s been a roller-coaster ride to maintain the energy and credibility needed to support my region and its communities in water science and policy. Fortunately several colleagues, particularly Geoff Syme and Blair Nancarrow, provided early grounding in socio-economic disciplines to add to my background in biophysical sciences; and chairing a river management committee over five years ensured some close encounters with a diversity of stakeholders. Read more of this post

The fast and the few; connecting science and policy in a rapidly changing world

Opinion 
by Paul Ryan
Director, Australian Resilience Centre and ILWS Advisory Board Member

Paul Ryan Director, Australian Resilience Centre and ILWS Advisory Board Member

Paul Ryan
Director, Australian Resilience Centre and ILWS Advisory Board Member

Over the past few months I have had the good fortune of working with a range of dedicated staff from state agencies, utilities and NGOs informing policies and strategies relating to water, local food, climate and biodiversity. What struck me about the discussions these different groups are having is the distinct lack of a broader narrative around sustainability and land use to provide context for their planning processes. What’s the vision we are working towards? This lack of vision and a contextualising narrative about sustainability means at best policy making becomes inconsistent, at worst ad hoc, despite the best intentions of many policy makers.

The uncertainty surrounding a clear national direction for the sustainability of the most basic issues any society must address: food supply, water provision, clean air, protection of productive agricultural land and support for communities that manage those landscapes, and the protection and management of the biodiversity we know is critical for provision and maintenance of life sustaining services, means that all the layers of formal and informal institutions that aggregate at different scales around these issues become similarly disorganised.

Read more of this post

Regional rail freight – rationalising the debate

 Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray

Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray

Australians like trains, but their governments seem not to. At least the Commonwealth and States, that is. Many local councils would like more train services, but have not been in a position to obtain them. Since undertaking a research project on regional passenger trains for what was then the New South Wales Local Government and Shires Associations 10 years ago, I have been working with and near local government in its attempts to investigate and promote rail freight. They have made progress, but it has been slow and very difficult to achieve.

Read more of this post

Management of the Coal Seam Gas Industry in NSW – the Science and the Law

john_williams

Professor John Williams

Opinion Piece by Adjunct Professor John Williams, Chair, ILWS Board

The science and the law surrounding the development of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry are issues of high public interest in NSW. To foster better understanding of the science and the law a Steering Committee composed of rural landholders, organizational and community representatives and a planning consultant engaged independent experts to contribute to an Independent Coal Seam Gas Science Forum held in Sydney at NSW Parliament House on 25th March, 2014. Read more of this post

Call for ‘urgent overhaul’ of bushfire management

Professor Allan Curtis

Professor Allan Curtis

With the immediate threat of the recent NSW bushfires abated, ILWS social scientist, Professor Allan Curtis, shares his views about how those living in South East Australia could better prepare for the increased risks to life and property from bushfires.

Professor Curtis is engaged in international research examining community responses to wildfires in the USA, Canada and Australia. He also draws on his own experience as owner of a rural property at the farm/forest interface which was burnt in the 2009 fires.

Despite the loss of lives and property in recent years, the devastation of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria in 2009 and the Canberra bushfires in 2003 suggests that we have been relatively unscathed.

For me, the possibilities of major losses of life, property, animals and plants in major fires over the next 20 years are really frightening.

Read more of this post

How might ILWS find its role in sustainable development of regional Australia?

john_williams

Dr John Williams

Opinion Piece Dr John Williams – Chair ILWS Advisory Board

In our Strategic Plan CSU is called to be a university whose courses, graduates and research help our regional communities to thrive and prosper economically, socially and environmentally. How can and does ILWS marshal the horsepower of CSU to make all that happen? This was a question we struggled with at the ILWS forum in July and one which merits increasing attention with the election of our new Australian government.

Read more of this post

Sturt's Notebook

Research, opinion and news from graduate students at the School of Environmental Science, Charles Sturt University

River Ecology and Research

Understanding how rivers function

Ian Lunt's Ecological Research Site

Vegetation Ecology for Southern Australia