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September 13, 2015 | by  | in News |
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University remains cool in the face of global warming

A Victoria-directed film has been nominated for the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 2015.

The film Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science, co-directed by Victoria’s Associate Professor of Geophysics Simon Lamb and staff at Oxford University, is a rebuttal to growing, and disturbing, criticisms that not only is global warming a hoax, but that the very study of climate change science is a waste of time and money.

David Sington, Lamb’s co-director and fellow environmentalist, was hesitant at first to work on a project of this size but with the now-finished product being screened around the world, he claims “the final result is probably the most scientifically informative documentary ever made about climate change”.

The film was screened in New Zealand last Sunday in Auckland.

This is just one example of the work Victoria University does to combat climate change. Victoria University can lay claim to very intelligent and engaged professors who work hard to preserve and better understand the environment.

Vic is an official signatory to the Talloires Declaration, an official commitment made by university administrators in 1990 to environmental stability in higher education.

Before the film, which was initially released at Earth Day 2012, Vic established the Climate Change Research Institute in 2008, who work with “world class researchers to better understand and inform the decision real people are facing regarding climate change”. They are also a founding member of the New Zealand Climate Change Centre.

Only a few weeks ago, on 19 August, a free public lecture was held at Vic by Professor Tim Naish (who also worked on Thin Ice) and Dr Marc Wilson from the School of Psychology. During the lecture Dr Wilson discussed factors associated with climate change, also the biases that make up both sides of arguments on the subject.

This Tuesday (15 September) a climate change lecture will be held in the Hunter Council Chamber. Oceanographer and climate scientist Dr Stephen Rintoul will speak about changing ocean patterns, in regards to the East Antarctic ice sheets erosion. Dr Rintoul is a member of the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart.

VUWSA has also embarked on a number of initiatives to reduce the University’s carbon footprint, with this year’s Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer Rory Lenihan-Ikin submitting on the region’s climate strategy and implementing programmes like the campus-based vegetable market which opens this week.

In 2013 VUWSA passed motions at their IGM stating “THAT VUWSA acknowledges the current and future impacts of climate change on students and society and the need for an urgent and comprehensive response. And, THAT VUWSA takes appropriate action where possible to support the transition to a prosperous and equitable low-carbon economy.”

When students were asked whether actions taken by Victoria are significant enough to tackle climate change, the response was very positive—“climate change will always be an issue if we don’t educate ourselves and understand how to make a positive change”. Some students had no idea that any action had been taken in the first place, but they put it down to their own ignorance—“if I had known it was happening [free public lectures/international study] then I would be right behind it”.

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