Energy, environment & climate
The Wheeler Centre
Tim Flannery: Rays of Hope
Wherever you are in Australia – whether it’s warm or cold, overcast or painfully bright – you are exposed to more sunlight than anywhere else in the world. There is no doubt that this is Australia’s biggest potential resource. The problem? We haven’t really had the technology to harness it as a primary energy source. Until now.
In his latest book, Sunlight and Seaweed, acclaimed climate scientist and author Tim Flannery opens our eyes to some heartening technological breakthroughs. Like how ‘intense heat energy’ use and storage may overcome the thorny issue of producing electricity on overcast days. And how – with temperatures set to rise at alarming rates and carbon removal becoming as important as carbon reduction – a tasty, ribbon-like seaweed may just be the banner of our collective salvation.
Join Tim Flannery for a climate change discussion that offers more than a little ray of hope, hosted by Hilary Harper.
The Wheeler Centre
Question Time: Fast Fashion
The panel: Madeleine Morris, Clare Press, Clara Vuletich, Rebecca Hard and Jessica Perrin
Over the past 20 years, retail giants like Zara, H&M and Topshop, have become incredibly adept at ripping off the latest catwalk looks and offering them to the mass market at affordable prices.
But we’re starting to see a backlash. Many consumers are wising up to some of the unscrupulous labour practices of fast fashion outlets and to the massive amounts of waste this consumption model generates. In Australia, Topshop has gone into voluntary administration. Is fast fashion going out of fashion?
In this Question Time discussion, our panel field questions on the issue from all angles. Does the fast fashion business model preclude ethical or sustainable practices? How might a backlash affect retail workers here in Australia as well as textile workers in developing countries? What are the alternatives to fast fashion – and who can afford them?
The Fifth Estate
The Collapse of American Power in the Middle East
Robert Fisk, Timothy Lynch and Sally Warhaft — Photo: Emily Harms
The Syrian War is the most deadly conflict we’ve seen in the 21st Century so far.
And with 12 million Syrians displaced since 2011 and world powers intervening on all sides – it’s far from a regional problem. The Syrian War is a crisis with ramifications that reach across the globe.
Now in its seventh year, the conflict that began during the Arab Spring has become appallingly complex. The involvement of world and regional powers has served to intensify and prolong the hostilities, turning Syria into a proxy battleground, and casting the possibility of peace further into the distance.
For this Fifth Estate episode, recorded live at the Melbourne Writers Festival, join the Independent’s revered correspondent Robert Fisk and American politics expert Timothy Lynch for a discussion of foreign political involvement in the region. How are the interventions of world and regional powers exacerbating the conflict? Who are the various rebel groups involved and what are their activities in other parts of the region? How are global dynamics shifting – and are we witnessing the collapse of American power in the Middle East?
Can We Escape Fast Fashion?
'Fast fashion' retailers have many of us in a double bind, writes Hannah McCann.
The Wheeler Centre
In 1961, autodidact urbanologist Jane Jacobs forever changed how we understood our cities. ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody,’ she wrote in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, ‘only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.’
More than half a century later, her then-contentious argument – that the real life of a city emerges from the ground up – is a widely accepted wisdom.
Even so, in Melbourne and elsewhere, top-heavy developments are struggling to address urban planning problems like long-term homelessness, under-utilisation of public space and the socioeconomic fracturing of inner-city communities.
However, there are citizens, architects, artists and planners are working to change that. Whether it’s ‘tiny houses’, radically accessible public art spaces or ‘tactical urbanism’, there’s a growing movement devoted to exploring how low-cost, playful, and often impermanent forms of living can improve the lives of city-dwellers in meaningful ways.
RRR broadcaster and former editor of small footprint living bible Assemble Papers Sara Savage is joined by a panel of guests, including Mimi Zeiger, Millie Cattlin and Jessica Christiansen-Franks, for a discussion of engaged, practical city-making with a sense of play.
(Self-Made City is part of the Open House Melbourne program: What Would Jane Do?, and presented in partnership with Open House Melbourne.)
The Wheeler Centre
Boundaries: Mapping Melbourne
'There is always another history or a more private story underneath the public face of any city, of any suburb,' wrote Sophie Cunningham in her acclaimed 2011 book, Melbourne. In Cunningham’s latest project, she continues to excavate these histories, and Melbourne’s shifting boundaries.
What is the history and logic of the current boundaries of the City of Melbourne, and what do we discover when we walk them? Where were the borders, limits and landmarks of the area pre-colonisation, and do they relate in any way to the boundary lines we have today? How do we manage resources, like water, that don’t care about boundaries at all?
Writer Sophie Cunningham and photographer Dianna Wells have been walking and documenting the defining boundaries of the City of Melbourne as part of the city’s Arts Grants program. Join them for a fascinating discussion with historian Gary Presland and water engineer Professor Tony Wong.
Sophie Cunningham, Tony Wong, Dianna Wells and Gary Presland
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