Pushing the Boundaries, the National Tertiary Education Union National Climate Change conference was held on the 28-29 April 2011. The conference brought together NTEU members from universities around Australia, along with members of other trade unions, and expert speakers on climate change and environmental sustainability.
The conference aimed to ‘push the boundaries’ on the ways Australians are thinking, talking and acting on climate change and environmental sustainability.
“We called the conference Pushing the Boundaries because we believe that as a union of academics, researchers, university professionals and administrators we have a particular role to play in addressing this critical problem of our time,” explained National President Jeannie Rea.
“It is expected that people in universities will come up with the ways to tackle the causes and consequences of global warming, and this work is going on every day in Australian universities. University staff and students are pushing the boundaries of science, engineering, philosophy, politics, economics, psychology and education, and are working together across traditional disciplinary and professional areas.”
“We assert the need to push the boundaries because the frame of the Australian debate is far too narrow and unambitious considering the immensity of the realities facing us,” argued Ms Rea.
The conference focused upon the ongoing ‘debate’ about the science of climate change and the consequences; what needs to change technologically as well as in human attitudes and behaviour. Educating for environmental sustainability is a key theme for educators, as well as for government and industry, charged with changing education and training to meet the challenges of the new thinking and the new jobs needed for a low pollution economy.
Leading commentators, researchers, educators and activists from the NTEU, and other unions and organisations debated and challenged the increasingly narrow framing of the critical issues. Invited speakers included:
The objectives of the conference were to inform, educate and facilitate debate and action amongst the NTEU membership; to provide a platform for informed discussion drawing upon the professional expertise of our membership; and to influence public debate.
The anticipated outcomes included increasing the capability for NTEU to improve our visibility and influence internally and externally; more effectively participate in, and make changes for, environmental sustainability in our workplaces, the broader trade union movement and our communities; and implement NTEU policy and further develop practice.
Conference and workshop reports and proposed ongoing actions will be posted here over the next weeks.
Click here for the introductory speech to the Conference by NTEU National President Jeannie Rea.