Community perspectives on climate change to shape future action

Tweed Shire Council

Residents interested in connecting over their shared passion for environmentally friendly projects are encouraged to attend the first Community Action Network workshop at Pottsville this Saturday.

The free workshop comes after Tweed Shire Council this week published the final report for the Climate Ready Tweed project which highlighted popular themes from residents keen to take action on climate change.

The report by Griffith University represents the most comprehensive baseline assessment of community perspectives on climate action ever completed in the Tweed Shire.

Funded through a Federal Government grant, the broader project involved an environmental education program for 72 upper primary students, and the Tweed Eco Festival in November 2022, attended by more than 500 people.

From November 2022 to May 2023, Griffith University received 252 responses from Tweed residents on a comprehensive climate action survey and interviewed 29 people to understand their experiences in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, dealing with climate-related disasters and ideas for responding to climate change. Fifty people participated in co-design workshops to develop community-led responses to climate change.

Griffith University’s final report for the project highlighted key barriers to community climate action, namely concern that actions are not able to solve environmental problems, lack of trust in authorities, actions are too expensive and environmentally friendly options are unavailable. Enablers of climate action include climate education, awareness raising, capacity building and collaboration.

Council’s program leader climate and sustainability Debbie Firestone said Council was wasting no time in responding to the recommendations of the report.

“This Saturday (5 August), Council is hosting a Community Action Network event at Pottsville representing a practical opportunity for new and existing community members and groups to share their passions for environmentally friendly projects, collaborate and build our collective capacity for action,” Ms Firestone said.

“It’s also an opportunity to progress ideas developed in Griffith’s co-design sessions. The free workshop will feature guest facilitator Jo Taranto from Good for the Hood, sharing insights about what has been successful in mobilising net zero neighbourhoods and place-based community action.”

The Griffith University report highlighted that tapping into existing networks was a key enabler for engaging the community in a collaborative way for climate action. The Community Action Network intends to connect quarterly in different parts of the Tweed to build on momentum and energy generated by the Climate Ready Tweed project.

“We’re so grateful to have gained a wealth of insight from the community through the Climate Ready Tweed project. What we’ve heard again and again is that people want to make more connections within the community and have opportunities to build on each other’s strengths, skills and appetite for action,” Ms Firestone said.

“In the Griffith University workshops, people began to develop ideas they’re most passionate about – we want to support those community-led ideas and help bring them to life.”

/Public Release. View in full here.