Investigating whiteness and research fatigue in the study of Pacific climate change: A three part series

Post written by Dr Anja Kanngieser

Part 1: Whiteness and research practices

In this three part series I examine the impact of whiteness and research fatigue when considering climate change in the Pacific, and some directions from Pacific Studies on how to address it. Over three posts I will introduce the ways in which I have witnessed and been told about manifestations of whiteness in academic research; how lived experiences and perspectives push against academic inquiry and theorisations of resilience; and some tactics from Pacific Studies and Pacific Research Protocols for building reciprocity and exchange in climate change research. Continue reading

The everyday lives of climate change: Encounters in Kiribati

Post written by Dr Anja Kanngieser

Kiribati, one of the large ocean states most immediately threatened by the effects of climate change, is as remote as it is expansive. Comprising 33 atolls and reef islands, which have a combined landmass of around 313 square miles, Kiribati spreads over 3.5 million square miles uniquely reaching across all four global hemispheres. The population is estimated at around 118, 000 with over 50, 000 people living in the capital South Tarawa alone (around 9, 500 or so people per square mile) – an urban density to rival London or Hong Kong but clustered into small villages and communities rather than channeled upwards into high rises. Sitting at only 2 meters above sea level and with an average width of under 500 meters, the archipelago is defined by its waters – you are quite literally in eye line of both the ocean and the lagoon at almost all times. This is where myself and University of the South Pacific marine conservation student, Krystelle Lavaki, stayed when we went to speak with I-Kiribati climate justice advocates and educators about the impacts of rising sea levels, inundation and coastal erosion. Along with speaking to activists, we planned to listen to and record the marine and coastal environments. Continue reading

Climate change responses in the Pacific

Post written by Dr Theresa Harada

I have just returned from Fiji where I was working with colleague Anja Kanngieser looking at on-the-ground responses to climate change in the region. It has been an amazing experience at the personal level as well as at the academic and professional level. Given the latest announcements about funding from UOW’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) and the Australian government of $10 million that aims to promote the sustainability of the fisheries, I thought it was timely to share some of the experiences of the Pacific with AUSCCER friends. Continue reading

Postcard from the Pacific

Post by Dr Theresa Harada

I am here in Fiji doing fieldwork on community led response to climate change and climate justice. For many of us in Australia, Fiji conjures up images of swaying palm trees, white beaches, romantic sunsets and friendly smiling locals. This is the tourist experience that is marketed successfully by foreign corporations in prime real estate on the north-western coast of the main island of Viti Levu, and offer exclusive resort retreats on the smaller islands close to the mainland. Denarau and Sigatoka on the main island have a large number of high end hotels which focus on cloistering guests, providing goods and services at inflated prices, providing ‘cultural’ displays and privately-operated tours. Continue reading

Getting families moving: what makes a pedestrian friendly city for families?

By Susannah Clement & Gordon Waitt

In an age of sedentarism, obesity epidemics and increasing carbon emissions, public health experts and transport planners advocate for us to walk more for the good of our health and that of the planet. The Heart Foundation of Australia’s campaign currently gracing our television screens, radio and billboards is a prime example of this. As the ads suggest ‘to walk yourself happy, all you need is your feet’. Continue reading

New media for transmitting Pacific stories: podcasting and audio recording

Post written by Dr Anja Kanngieser

On the 5th and 6th of January, Climates of Listening held a podcasting workshop in collaboration with the Poetry Shop Fiji and the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies. The two-day workshop saw the production of four initial podcasts, which were met with enthusiastic response from around Oceania.

The use of media, particularly radio, casts a long, popular and expansive legacy across the Pacific; as a means for news reporting, in warning systems, for low fi communication and as a fixture in arts and culture. More recently, attention has been on the possibilities of social media for transmitting stories about climate change, community organizing and resistance. Given this history and connection to broadcasting, and the strong role of storytelling and narrative in Fijian and wider Pasifika cultures, podcasting and audio recording follows a substantial lineage of practices. Podcasting, quite simply, a digital audio recorded file that is placed online, most often made into a series which people can subscribe to, is commonly linked to the move from analogue to digital radio. It is also a cheap and relatively easy means to record and transmit audio even with intermittent or slow Internet, an issue faced across the region. Continue reading

Leisure and pleasure: the only sustainable solution to stress

The festive season is almost upon us but many of us will find it surprisingly difficult to switch off and have a real break. E-mails, text messages, social media and all the other digital ways we are linked in, make it hard to step back and focus on what really matters – our health. Continue reading

AUSCCER Retreat Wrap-Up

Two weeks ago twenty-five AUSCCER staff and postgrads attended a postgraduate retreat at Kioloa’s ANU coastal field campus, on the New South Wales south coast. The three days were jam packed with advice and ideas for the PhD process: topics ranging from managing stress, networking, writing tips, and post-PhD trajectories. With the new faculty emerging and seven new PhD students attending (you can ‘meet’ some by clicking here), this was a great chance to take stock of AUSCCER’s present and future.

More importantly Kioloa was an environment for socialising outside the University walls, allowing everyone a chance to get to know the people behind the PhDs and research projects. Days were broken up with some creative icebreakers (adeptly handled by Ananth and Justin), and walks to the bush and the beach. The night activities – Ellen’s trivia designed exclusively for geographers on Tuesday, and a sell-out Wednesday crowd for the faculty band Highfalutin’ – were particular highlights!

Below are a few pictures from the day’s events. A huge thanks to Leah for the idea, initiative and leadership to put the event together, to the staff who made the trip, and everyone who organised sessions throughout the days and nights. Continue reading

Talking research through photographs: notes from the Geographical Society of NSW’s Postgraduate Networking Day

Introduction by Ellen van Holstein

Each year the Geographical Society of New South Wales invites postgraduate students from all over New South Wales to meet up and talk research. Students were invited to bring a picture and briefly present their work based on that image. The event also encouraged the exchange of advice about how to manage a PhD and how to do conferences. The University of Wollongong cohort of postgraduates was represented with ten candidates. The event was an excellent opportunity to think about the core messages of our research projects and to reflect on what it is that makes our geographical minds tick. Having ten new postgraduates start PhDs in geography at the University of Wollongong this year, it was also a great opportunities for old and new AUSCCER postgraduates to get to know each other better and to revel once again in the great wealth of research diversity that AUSCCER accommodates. To get a glimpse of that diversity please click through the photos of the ten AUSCCERites who attended the Geographical Society of New South Wales postgraduate meeting.

Ellen's photo Continue reading

Pregnancy, motherhood and firefighting

“When I decided to make this profession my career I cried because at that point in time [early 1980s] every woman who got pregnant or got married left the profession. Then I had to deal personally with accepting that I also was gay. That was a whole other crying moment because it’s like, okay, I chose a profession over what society says you’ve got to have—family.” Continue reading