Climate science and solar technology to feature at desertSMART Ecofair 2016

Climate science and solar technology will be a feature at desertSMART Ecofair 2016, with Professor Lesley Hughes from the Climate Council and Claire O’Rourke from Solar Citizens being guest speakers at the EcoFair Sustainable Living Festival and Eco-markets on Sunday August 14th, at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

EcoFair is organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre, as part of National Science Week, and is sponsored by the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia Initiative, as well as a range of local community sponsors. The event is a focal point for scientific research and sustainability initiatives that exist in Central Australia, it shares the expertise of high profile science and sustainability guests, and encourages community discussion on how to live together sustainably in the desert.

Lesley Hughes is a Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University. Her research has mainly focused on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. Claire O’Rourke is the National Director of Solar Citizens, a national solar advocacy group that has just released the Home Grown Power Plan – a comprehensive blueprint for repowering Australia’s homes and businesses with 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

Ecofair Ambassador, Costa Georgiadis from Gardening Australia will also be returning for the duration of EcoFair, not only sharing his gardening expertise but also his valuable social media experience through his presentation “The Science of Social Media”.

“One of the great features of the desertSMART EcoFair is the opportunity to listen to the expertise of scientists, local entrepreneurs and change-makers and learn more about how to engage with the forces that shape our world,” said Nicole Pietsch, desertSMART EcoFair.

“Change is happening rapidly and is being fuelled by science, improvements in technology and social entrepreneurs, so much so that communities, local councils and even whole countries are aiming to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2030. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and we are looking forward to our guest speakers sharing their knowledge and expertise in these areas,” said Nicole Pietsch.



desertSMART EcoFair 2016 – Guest Presenter Bios

 Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate Council Councilor

Lesley Hughes is a Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University. Her research has mainly focused on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems.

She is a former federal Climate Commissioner and former Lead Author in the IPCC’s 4th and 5th Assessment Report. She is also a Director for WWF Australia, a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, the Director of the Biodiversity Node for the NSW Adaptation Hub and a member of the expert advisory committee for Future Earth Australia.

Claire O’Rourke, National Director Solar Citizens

Claire’s interest in solar began in 2008 when she installed a solar hot water system as part of a renovation designed to reduce her home’s energy footprint. Claire brings 15 years experience in journalism, communications and campaigning to Solar Citizens. Claire has a broad history of organising and campaigning in the labor movement and organisations of social value, including overseeing communications for the successful Every Australian Counts campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Costa Georgiadis, Gardening Australia

Costa Georgiadis sees the world through different eyes. He lives for connections, creativity and community. From the way we at look and deal with our waste, to the food we produce and share around our tables, it’s what drives our connection to the planet that fuels, feeds and nurtures us. He sees life and hope in the streets, roads and open spaces of our cities and towns, as the living and breathing arteries of community that need to be utilised and celebrated as places to build biodiversity and food security back  into our local landscapes.

Individual health starts in a garden or verge near you. In these times of great change and uncertainty, Costa sees creative opportunity at every corner. We are what we eat and where we live, so lets create a fertile future through our daily actions, no matter how small they may appear to be because as individuals are choices matter.


Lesley Hughes crop

© Arid Lands Environment Centre & Partners 2016. Participate Learn Create.