By Mark Caddey, President

It’s Conference time!

This is the exciting time in the 2-yearly cycle for the Association as we approach our Biennial conference. It is with great to read through the draft program a couple of days ago and see the diverse, interesting and in some cases challenging workshops and presentations.  The skill, knowledge and leadership in our members shines through in the presentation titles and event before the conference starts I’d like to thank everyone for their contribution to such a great program and as I have said before our strategic direction of Connection Members is all about giving time and opportunity for our members to share this.

Creating Capacity for Change

This year’s theme “creating capacity for change’ really does capture one of the key ideas behind AAEE – that our sharing, events and professional learning are key activities that help skill and inspire our members to be the catalysts for change. The conference team in QLD have created a program with something for all people attending the conference. The AAEE Executive will also be sharing the progress of a partnership and curriculum project and announcing the World Environment Day projects proposed by members that AAEE is supporting.

Research Symposium

The Research Symposium held on the Sunday, enables AAEE to more deeply embed the link between educational research and practice.  The day brings researchers and practitioners together to progress our knowledge, understanding and implementation of strategies and to share, discuss and analyses the evidence. For me, it is also a deep dive into the thinking around improved environmental education practice.

Executive Retreat

The AAEE Executive team also hold a planning day where key strategic actions to help the direction and management of the Association are developed. The invitation is open to any member wishing to become more actively involved in the management of the Association at a national level.

Reconnect and feed your mind

Conference is also a time to meet new people, reconnect and rekindle old friendships and feed your mind and imagination.  For those attending, it looks like we’re going to have a great time, for those still undecided take a peek at the program, see what might be in store for your and come alone!

A final word as President

As this is my last piece in ozEEnews as President I would like to reflect on some recent national issues and highlight the role of your work in progressing community knowledge and attitudes.  In the last few weeks we have seen a stalling and failure of another national policy focussing on energy and that includes action on climate change. This is the latest of a long line of failed energy policies in Australia. The reason I find this interesting is that at almost exactly the same time I was reading ‘The annual Climate of the Nation’ which tracks the Australian communities’ attitudes on climate change.

It is a positive reflection on the work of climate scientists, educators and communicators that we now see significant and recent shifts in Australians wanting clear and decisive action for climate change including:

  • 73% of Australians are concerned about climate change, up from 66% in 2017;
  • 70% of Australians agree that the Government needs to implement a plan to ensure the orderly closure of old coal plants and their replacement with clean energy;
  • 67% want to end coal-fired power within the next 20 years, up from 61% in 2017; and
  • Majority of Australians (52%) blame the privatisation of electricity generation and supply for increasing electricity prices.

And bringing in a party-political dimension:

  • 15% of Nationals voters do not think climate change is occurring (down from 29% in 2017); and
  • 45% of One Nation voters agree the seriousness of climate change is exaggerated, down from 56% in 2017.

Please continue your support

So if national policy is failing, we should take heart that some of our States and Territories have clear energy and climate change policy, businesses and organisations are entering into energy supply contacts with large scale solar and wind and individual house owners are still installing solar (and now battery storage) in large numbers. We have a better-informed community with higher expectations and many of our members have contributed to this.

I ask you to renew your membership at this time of year and thank you for your continued support of the AAEE organisation.