DesertSMART Ecofair Sustainable Living Festival & Ecomarkets

This year the desertSMART Ecofair Sustainable Living Festival and Ecomarkets will be held on Sunday August 14th in the Alice Springs Desert Park Courtyard and will feature guest speakers Professor Lesley Hughes from the Climate Council and Claire O’Rourke from Solar Citizens.

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 and she will be delivering the keynote presentation, ‘Climate Science and Communicating Change’, at 12pm in the Alice Springs Desert Park Theatre.

Claire O’Rourke is the National Director of Solar Citizens, a national solar advocacy group that has just released the Home Grown Power Plan. Her presentation, ‘Solar Technology and the Energy Revolution’, will provide detail on the comprehensive blueprint for repowering Australia’s homes and businesses with 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The presentation is at 11am in the theatre.

Ecofair Ambassador, Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) will be sharing his social media expertise in a presentation at 10.15am, ‘The Science of Social Media’. Costa will also be leading a bike ride to the Alice Springs Desert Park on Sunday via the new bicycle track, leaving at 8am from the Arid Lands Environment Centre at 90 Gap Road.

Another feature presentation on the day, ‘Ninu Festival and Bilby conservation in the Kiwirrkurra Indigenous Protected Area’, details the success of the recent Ninu Festival and the concentrated effort to protect the bilby in Kiwirrkurra. Kiwirrkurra rangers will also be sharing the techniques they use in bilby conservation in a workshop at 11.30am in the Old Entry Station.

“The Sunday Sustainable Living Festival & Eco-markets is the feature event for desertSMART EcoFair, and this year is at the new venue of the Alice Springs Desert Park Courtyard. Beyond the feature presentations with high profile science and sustainability advocates, the event features a number of workshops including bush medicine making, arid zone bicycle maintenance and how to build a floating platform with Engineers Without Borders,” said desertSMART EcoFair organiser Nicole Pietsch.

“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.”

“It’s about our community coming together and being part of the conversation about how we make our future more sustainable, and learning more about the role that science has to play in that. It’s a great program this year, with food, music, kids activities and markets and we encourage community members and visitors to join us, and be part of that conversation in a great community atmosphere and setting.”

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