25th Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) Conference

The annual EIANZ took place in Sydney on October 24th and 25th under the slogan of “Stronger, Wiser, Bolder”.

The conference was attended by over 220 environmental professionals working across industry, government and consultancy. The mood was one of confidence as the EIANZ reaches 25 years of age and further establishes its role to lead environmental practitioners, set standards for best available environmental practices, support and enable practitioners to promote and achieve a sustainable and equitable management of the environment.

Edge Environment presented its work with the Australian Resilience Taskforce (ART) as part of the ‘Stronger’ session. The presentation profiled how the ART has evolved to become a new entity to address resilience issues in the built environment, the challenges and opportunities faced as environmental professionals delivering the suite of projects. In particular the presentation described how the ART was conceived in response to the need for a “home” for the Building Resilience Rating Tool and associated initiatives which were projects drawing on scientific skills, and how we had to draw upon many different skillsets across disciplines to build the ART and its initiatives.

In addition to the Australian Resilience Taskforce project, Edge’s work with Transport for NSW, Inghams, Green Cross Australia and the Australian Green Infrastructure Council was profiled as strong responses to addressing environmental issues.

On a separate note, the Event’s Keynote speaker, Professor Garnaut delivered a clear message. He described that, “in the 20 years since rational people recognised climate change as an issue, there has been and continues to be good progress towards addressing climate change”. Garnaut cautioned the audience about expecting too much in a relatively short period. He stated that the consequences of failing to respond to Climate Change strongly will be severely disruptive at the benign end, and catastrophic on the severe end.

Edge Environment staff continue to enjoy membership of EIANZ and support its continuing efforts through National and Divisional positions.

Congratulations to EIANZ for delivering a successful 2012 Conference!

 

Edge Environment – Presentation abstract

Australia has a long history of extreme weather events, some of which are likely to become more frequent and intense as a consequence of climate change. Combined with growing density and population the case is urgent for more climate-adapted cities.

A climate adapted built environment must be resilient to extreme weather in order to provide safety for communities and reduce economic, social and environmental costs of natural disasters. There is a growing recognition that adaptation of the built environment requires a more consistent framework for action, whilst allowing for local variation in priorities, initiatives and policies.

Edge Environment is developing a Building Resilience Rating Tool (BRRT) that provides guidance on a building’s vulnerability and resilience to extreme weather events and has the ability to support adaptation responses that are tailored to local needs. The BRRT includes information on the resilience of building materials and sets the architecture for assimilating future research as it becomes available. Building material information is combined with location specific hazard risk data and material codependency calculations to produce vulnerability and risk ratings.

The BRRT is a demonstration of pioneering work in adaptation to climate change and Edge Environment’s experience with this project highlights both the challenges and opportunities that are available for environmental professionals in this field. Challenges for environmental professionals exist around access to reliable and robust information, decision-making and policy advocacy when faced with uncertainty, and balancing mitigation and adaptation considerations. Conversely, the opportunities for environmental professionals are considerable. A shift of attention toward adaptation allows for a full appreciation of life-cycle impacts, adaptation is encouraging new clients to consider environmental issues, and professionals who can demonstrate knowledge and skills in this area will be in high demand in this young market.

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