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What conversations need more attention?

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Networks drive innovation around climate change, and we can power up those networks by knowing the conversations that need more attention.

CLEA's brief for 2020 is to develop a method to strengthen networks in the community environment sector. The focus is the North East region + climate adaptation. I'm on the hunt for people who want to understand the connections around adaptation to climate change, and make more of them.

Climate change demands deep shifts in business-as-usual. People have their own focus and networks, but far do these reach, and how do these intersect? Could we make more of our connections? Networks make a difference. I'm starting with four questions:

  1. What’s one shift you're involved with around climate change?

  2. Who do you talk to about this?

  3. What’s one conversation you think needs more attention?

  4. Who do you want in that conversation?

I am putting these four questions to twelve people in the NE region, invite them to read what each other says, then jointly consider what this says about the conversations that need more attention. Then I'll work out with those twelve what they think is needed next. I will help this along qualitative analysis of themes, and by documenting conclusions as we go.

My hunch is that if people know what others are interested in, they can give more attention to the conversations they want to have. They can ask to join conversations that are already going on that they didn't know about. They can start conversations they've been wanting to have but didn't know who else was interested. They can invite others into conversations.

I've started with Jane Carney from the Ovens Valley. She's agreed to let me post her answers here, to give the idea of what we're doing. Jane is part of Mudgegonga Landcare Group and the Ovens Landcare Network, and she's also a member of Farmers For Climate Action.

What’s one of the shifts you're involved with around climate change?

Finding a way for people to tune into what’s changing and see what people are doing already to adapt to those changes.

Who do you talk to about that?

Whoever I can! I read a lot and I listen to the radio, I pick up my ideas all over the place. I then talk to people about what I’m thinking and what I want to happen and mostly they agree! But then I run out of steam writing submissions to get the funding to actually convert the idea into an action!

What’s the conversation you think needs more attention?

The conversation I think needs to happen is about our strategies in engaging with communities. There are lots of different initiatives that we’re each driving, many that are relevant to climate change adaptation, which is great. But the organisers of those initiatives don’t necessarily talk to each other, and we have similar activities running. The target audience haven’t got the time to attend every event and can be put off by not knowing which one is best for their needs. If you keep sending out invitations to activities that are not targeted then people will tune out.

We can’t afford to waste our resources. We need to be more organised and efficient by networking more effectively and collaborating on the overall strategy and initiatives. It would be great to know what other groups are wanting to do before you see it advertised! Why they are wanting to run that event, who they are targeting/want to connect to and what outcomes they are hoping to achieve. Then after the event finding out how it went. What were the learnings and what was the feedback from participants?

Who do you want in that conversation?

The quarterly Landcare Executives meetings hosted by the Landcare Coordinator at NECMA would be a good place to start. This involves representatives from each of the Landcare networks within the North East CMA region.

I am pushing a bit of a barrow here, but we need to be more strategic. I’d like to see an event that might be run in one place, but set up so that it could be readily picked up and run at other places by other groups. This applies to projects and trials as well, we could reduce the workload and overhead by sharing concepts and project plans. We could then adjust the activity to suit the community and types of landholders we/the group are wanting to engage.

At a minimum, it would be really good to talk about what initiatives are underway or planned, and who we are trying to connect to. We have to start thinking strategically about our engagement.

Thanks Jane. If you come across this, and what to join in, call Ross Colliver, 0411 226 519.

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