Australia in 2050
Towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable way of living
The complex challenges of environmental sustainability and social equity have become increasingly important for Australia’s future. How science and scientists can contribute to considering and addressing these complex challenges has been the focus of an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Academy project – Towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable way of living. This three year project, commenced in mid-2010, has two main phases, the first of which has now concluded.
Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 is a two volume book that is the culmination of the project’s first phase. Volumes one and two are the result of a five day residential workshop held in Bowral in 2011. Negotiating our future’s first volume contains a series of chapters that synthesise group discussions on the challenges of environmental sustainability and social equity. Each group used different foci (system resilience, social and cultural perspectives, scenarios for Australian futures or quantitative models) to consider these complex challenges. Using the five days of vibrant workshop discussions, and resultant book chapters, a synthesis was developed. The key idea resulting from the workshop and summarised in the first synthesis chapter is an exciting proposal for national foresighting through the development of Living scenarios.
The second volume contains the pre-workshop, background papers that attendees and guest authors were invited to prepare. The purpose of these papers was to provide workshop attendees with brief background and contextual information on a series of key topics.
Her Excellency, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO launched Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050 on 21 February 2013 at an event at the Shine Dome. Media Release.
Academy Fellows and other Australian scientists (physical, biological and social) with internationally recognised expertise in their disciplines attended the workshop and contributed to the preparation of the two volumes. Each of the authors, but particularly the project Steering Committee (Michael R Raupach FAA FTSE (Chair), Anthony J McMichael AO FTSE, John J. Finnigan FAA, Lenore Manderson FASSA and Brian Walker FTSE), demonstrated a high level of dedication to working in interdisciplinary teams in order to address complex challenges to Australia’s future.
Work on Phase II has commenced and more information about the implementation of ‘Living scenarios’ will be available during the coming months.