The Armidale Climate and Health Project

How can we build community connections and resilience in the face of climate change, improve our health and put Indigenous knowledge at the centre? We’re running a series of workshops and a community festival addressing this question, and building local knowledge and skills. The challenge of this project is how to keep the big scale picture in view when addressing the small scale issue, and vice versa. Given this is a community project with limited resources, we are primarily guided by the concerns of Aboriginal people and frontline Aboriginal health care workers. The workshops will be:

  1. Deconstructing Fences: Decolonising property and the conservation estate by opening new pathways for access to Country.
  2. Food Justice for Armidale: Designing an environmental justice-based food movement in Armidale and centring Aboriginal health issues and self-determination.
  3. Environmental Education for Future Medical Professionals: A year-long UNE student medical challenge to get students dreaming about future community-scaled climate and health project.
  4. Walking Armidale’s Urban Waterways: connecting with healthy and sick local water systems and common lands, and learn about local pre- and post-colonial hydrological history in a series of community walks.
  5. Supporting Armajun Health Service’s Employment Programs: Supporting frontline healthcare workers to connect rehab and work training programs with environmental rehabilitation and caring for Country.

This is a partnership between the Community Weathering Station, Armajun Aboriginal Health Service, University of New England and Sustainable Living Armidale. It’s made possible by an AdaptNSW – Increasing Resilience to Climate Change community grant. Facilitated by Dr Jennifer Hamilton (PhD) and Dr Sujata Allan (MBBS, FRAGCP). With key community collaborators including: Uncle Steve Widders, Callum Clayton Dixon, Tanya Howard, New England Regional Art Museum and Winter Blooming Festival, Black Gully Festival, UNE’s School of Rural Health and School of Humanites, Arts and Social Sciences.

We had a small COVID-Safe and COVID-limited launch on a freezing cold day in late September 2020. The program is downloadable here! This began to mobilise the community around the idea. Photos below by Patsy Asch.

Published by JMH

A blog by Jennifer Mae Hamilton.

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