The Wheeler Centre
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Witnessing Climate Change
Climate change is too often discussed in the abstract – in terms of graphs, statistics and future projections. So what does climate change look like today, across the globe? How is it affecting the daily lives of people, plants and animals? What are the obstacles – in political systems and in language – that hinder change and can we overcome them?
At the Athenaeum Theatre, we hear moving words and performances from Marshall Islands spoken-word artist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and activist Ursula Rakova from Papua New Guinea as well as New York Times science writer Jim Robbins and Melbourne-based author and environmentalist Tony Birch.
Andi Horvath has been commenting on science and culture online, on air and on the go since she was let out of the lab. Ask her about her latest podcasting adventures. She was a science broadcaster on 3RRR for over 20 years, alongside appearances on ABC TV and radio. She has developed major exhibitions for Museum Victoria and lectured and trained researchers in communications and podcast training.
Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is a poet and climate change activist from the Marshall Islands, who first came to international acclaim through her performance at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York in 2014. Her first collection of poems, Iep Jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter, was released in 2017.
Jim Robbins has written for the New York Times for more than 35 years, as well as numerous other magazines including Audubon, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian and Vanity Fair. He is the author of several books including The Man Who Planted Trees and Last Refuge: The Environmental Showdown in the American West.
Ursula Rakova is a pioneer in Papua New Guinea’s environmental movement and international campaigner for the survival of her people and homeland. She is the Executive Director of Tulele Peisa, a local community organisation in Papua New Guinea trying to relocate small island communities affected by the impacts of climate change.
Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.
In 2017 Tony was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2021 he will release two new books, a poetry collection, Whisper Songs, and a new short story collection, Dark as Last Night. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.