So What If …
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The experts have spoken – there’s no doubt the water is rising. But what will it mean for Melburnians?
Your suburban backyard might not be growing seaweed, but the effects will be felt across our city as we adapt to new ways of being. What might rising water levels mean for our ports and for waste management? How will our roads and sewage systems be affected? Will we see a new wave of migration from other Australian cities that have been hit even harder? The reality of our future is upon us – how will we stay afloat?
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Knowledge Week.
David Sornig’s Blue Lake: finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp (Scribe, 2018) charts the loss of the wetlands on the western edge of central Melbourne and rise of the rubbish tips and shanties that replaced them. He is the author of the novel Spiel (UWAP, 2009) and his fiction and non-fiction writing has featured in Kill Your Darlings, Harvard Review, Griffith Review, Island and the Age. He is the co-creator of an audio adaptation of Blue Lake for Radio National’s The History Listen which was first broadcast in April 2019.
Karen White is a water professional with a passion for combining science with policy to improve the management of waterways and the wellbeing of communities.
Working locally and internationally, Karen has spent the last 20 years helping governments and businesses understand the water challenges they face due to changing social and environmental conditions.
Her signature projects include the innovative flood resilience solutions for the London 2012 Olympics and and more recently advising on long term environmental plans for Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River.
Dr Erin O’Donnell is a water law and policy specialist and is recognized internationally for her research into the ground-breaking new field of legal rights for rivers and the challenges and opportunities these new rights create for protecting the multiple social, cultural and natural values of rivers.
Her work is informed by comparative analysis across Australia, New Zealand, the USA, India, Colombia, and Chile, and Erin’s book, Legal Rights for Rivers, is available now. Erin is a research fellow at the Melbourne Law School, and in 2018, Erin was appointed to the inaugural Birrarung Council, the voice of the Yarra River.
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.
Swing by the Wheeler Centre in May for a series of lunchtime talks about the future. We promise no hazy trend-forecasting; we’ll stick to specifics. We’ll speculate on social structures and systems – from citizenship and gender to law and order – and discuss how changing things up might change our world. In partnership with Melbourne Knowledge Week, we’ll ask: what's broken, what's working, and what should we leave behind?