Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Dr Gillian Sparkes was a panellist at the Disaster resilience and the future of sustainability webinar hosted by Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne on 29 September 2020. Dr Sparkes was joined by Director of Sustainability MSE Professor Abbas Rajabifard; FoS Deputy Dean, Indigenous, Associate Professor Michael Shawn Fletcher and Head of National Resilience Taskforce and Senior Advisor to KPMG Mark Crosweller. Moderated by Senior Manager, Gifts in Wills, University of Melbourne, Jennifer Henry, the panel was asked to discuss how the current interest in science and data related to #COVID‐19 epidemiology can be harnessed and encourage its use in climate change and environmental sustainability actions.
For Dr Sparkes, the strong interest in science is not confined to COVID-19 research and developments. “We understand the use of science for immediate action (for fire, air, stormwater etcetera),” she said. “The big challenge is to get people to understand it in the nature of long-term predictive science.” Dr Sparkes cited the DELWP Land monitoring time series as an important development. “We now have spatial data on how the Victorian landscape has changed from 1987 to 2019,” she said. “This is new science that has been released this year since the COVID-19 pandemic, and new since the summer bushfires. It is a really important milestone for land cover information gathering and how we view, interpret and analyse Victoria’s vegetation.”
Did you know that Victoria is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the ACT) with an independent Commissioner charged with periodic State of the Environment reporting? Read about Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.