Armajun Aboriginal Health Service GP Dr Sujata Allan, left, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Community Weathering Station convenor Dr Jennifer Hamilton at the Armidale Community Garden.
Tuesday, 25 August 2020
A NEW program aimed at helping Armidale residents ‘weather’ the health challenges posed by climate change has received support from the State Government, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing $25,200 for The Armidale Climate and Health Project.
Mr Marshall said over a 12 month period, a number of focus groups would bring together academics, health services and the public to develop educational materials to help people understand the links between climate and health and form a community-led organisation to tackle the problem together.
“There can be no denying the toll the deadly summer bushfires and prolonged drought have taken on the physical and mental health of people from the region,” Mr Marshall said.
“Through this program, the Armidale-based Community Weathering Station will join with Armajun Aboriginal Health Services, and Sustainable Living Armidale and the University of New England to explore practical changes people can make locally that work to address large scale environmental challenges.
“Over the next year, a series of planning and community workshops will be undertaken to devise ways to practically address climate change and the impact it has on an individual’s health.
“The concept of ‘weathering’ encourages people to think about the changes they can make in their everyday lives, to make them better equipped to deal with the pressures which come from climate driven events.”
Community Weathering Station convener Dr Jennifer Hamilton said the causes of ill health and disadvantage climate change are complex, and responding to them requires new kinds of community collaboration.
“To address climate change requires substantial change, but people are understandably scared, both of climate change and what that change might look like,” Dr Hamilton said.
“We don’t have adapt alone; in fact, we’re more likely to succeed if we both respect our differences and do it together.”
“Through focus groups of between 6 to10 people, we hope to be able to come up with ways which will encourage the wider community to adapt to the changes and do so in ways that make life better and more equitable.
“All up we’re hoping to directly connect with 50-70 people through the workshops, and potentially several hundred at a whole community festival, COVID-19 permitting, and then incidentally different aspects of the community via the website and incidental events.
“The project will launch with a live-streamed concert showcasing musicians from the area in early September and we will round off the project with a festival that showcases all the ideas and new collaborations seeded during the project.”