News | 18th Aug, 2010

Speaking the Language of Climate Change

2010 Winner
Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge
Sustainable Living

Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Eureka, Australia Museum

For some people, the problems and possible solutions for climate change are still other people's business. Language, culture and even location can be a barrier to understanding and taking action to prevent further global warming.

In Melbourne, however, one group is doing all it can to share the news and knowledge about carbon pollution and emission reduction.

Environment Victoria, a peak not-for-profit non-government organisation, is coordinating specially tailored programs that provide climate change tips to broad groups of Melbourne's population while reflecting the languages, cultures and even locations in which they are most comfortable – from Saturday morning sports fields to cultural centres.

The innovative suite of programs caters for young people, multicultural groups, low-income families and the elderly, and has won the inaugural NSW Government Eureka Prize for Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge.

"Environment Victoria is actively engaging communities where climate change may still be seldom discussed or considered," says Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum.

"By listening to the communities and packaging the science and advice in accessible terms, the programs are already promoting the broader understanding of this issue that is vital for decisive action at an individual, national and global level."

In the GreenTown program for culturally and linguistically diverse groups, training is provided for a small number of people who become the ‘faces' of the program and are given opportunities to share knowledge with their own community.

Already, representatives from Melbourne's Turkish, Arabic and East African communities have been guided through power plants, landfill sites and water reservoirs. As a result, they have become passionate about conserving the environment, initiating local recycling and re-use programs. For some of those taking part, it is the first time they have heard or seen climate change information in their own language.

In total, nearly 2,000 people participated in Environment Victoria's programs during 2008 and 2009. As new climate change leaders in their respective communities, each of them will play an important role in achieving the organisation's long-term goal to one day have all 5 million Victorians taking green action in their homes and workplaces.

This is the first year the $10,000 Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Knowledge has been awarded. It recognises work that demonstrates achievements in deepening the broader community's understanding of climate change, its impacts and the need for action. The prize is sponsored by the New South Wales Government.

Read our media release here