Upcoming forum to explore resilience in the Hawkesbury

Residents of the Hawkesbury are invited to join an upcoming forum presented by Western Sydney University and partners, that will explore community resilience to climate events, including fire, drought, heat waves and floods.

The online event, 12noon, Thursday, 26 November, will launch the Hawkesbury Resilience Project — an education program that aims to engage and empower the local community to respond to growing climate challenges in the Hawkesbury.

According to Brittany Hardiman, a Sustainability Officer at Western Sydney University, the Hawkesbury Resilience Forum is the first step in strengthening and engaging the local community.

“Climate change impacts us all, and these impacts are emerging as a major liveability issue for the communities of western Sydney,” said Ms Hardiman.

“This forum is an opportunity for Hawkesbury residents to learn more about the changes we are experiencing and to collaborate on ways we can tackle them together.”

Tanya Ritchie, community partner and Colo resident, said the project was developed following a community climate forum held in August last year.

“We, the project partners, decided to create a more interactive and resident driven approach to climate awareness – more ‘conversation and action’ and less ‘show and tell’. This project is all about Hawkesbury residents creating the future we want for ourselves and our children,” said Ms Ritchie.

“The forum will also celebrate the amazing network of protection and care that we already provide for each other here in the Hawkesbury. I live at Colo and without the Firies, my incredible neighbours and the support provided through local Facebook groups, I may not have survived last summer.”

Led by the Western Sydney University in partnership with Hawkesbury City Council, Hawkesbury Environment Network, Macquarie Electorate Student Climate Activists, Penrith-Hawkesbury Environmental Educators Network, and RCE Greater Western Sydney, the program has several aims over the next eighteen months. These include:

  • Developing a digital map that identifies local groups and organisations contributing to resilience in the Hawkesbury.
  • Hosting one-on-one conversations with residents to understand their concerns about our changing climate and to offer potential pathways to help address those concerns.
  • Facilitating neighbourhood level community workshops to identify actions individuals and the community can take to learn about, help prevent or prepare for increasingly severe weather.
  • Developing forums for the community to come together to share stories and discuss opportunities to build resilience.
  • Developing a vision for a resilient Hawkesbury, depicted in a painting and developed through ideas put forward by the community.
  • A community grants program to support new initiatives.

The Hawkesbury Resilience Project is funded through an AdaptNSW Community Grant (opens in a new window) from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

For more information on the initiative, please visit the Western Sydney University website (opens in a new window). To RSVP to the Hawkesbury Resilience Forum, click here (opens in a new window).


23 November 2020

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer