Arid Edge Environmental Services specialise in design and service solutions for more sustainable arid communities and landscapes.
Life in the desert is being impacted by climate change and Indigenous communities are bearing the brunt of extreme weather, drought and rising temperatures. With only a fraction of government climate finance directed to adaptation, waiting for a government-driven response to the new climate reality in Central Australia was not an option.
Arid Edge Environmental Services, a social enterprise founded by the Arid Lands Environment Centre in 2013, emerged out of this need to address climate risk in desert communities. What sets Arid Edge apart is their community development approach to adaptation and experience partnering with Aboriginal organisations and community members to come up with community-led solutions.
Arid Edge have a wide range of expertise from landscape design and construction, food security and horticulture, land management, sustainability consulting and community development. As well as founding Arid Edge, ALEC is engaged in local and regional partnerships and advocacy to support adaptive action to climate change.
Learn about Arid Edge's projects
Food security in Indigenous communities
Arid Edge deliver a food and nutrition focused program in Indigenous communities designed to tackle food insecurity and poor health through edible gardens and health education. Arid Edge partners with communities to plan and build gardens that provide people with a local source of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables. This is combined with a hands-on gardening, nutrition education, cooking and hygiene program to help creating lasting change to eating behaviour.
The Amern Mwerr Good Food project has been operating in the Utopia Homelands since 2009 and in Alice Springs Town Camps since 2019
Bush care and land management
Arid Edge works on land management and bush regeneration projects to protect and restore biodiversity, and reduce the threat of fire and spread of invasive species. Their model prioritises Indigenous partnerships, training to build a local workforce and engagement with Traditional Owners.
Arid Edge’s bush care crew have been managing sacred and ecologically important sites in and around Alice Springs since 2018. Native rare and threatened flora and fauna species are at risk due to fire impacts and the spread of invasive weeds.
In January 2019, survey data showed an average of just 2.28 native species and 61% cover of buffel grass across 25 monitoring sites. Data collected in 2021 showed an average of 7.92 native species and 33% buffel cover.
Climate risk assessment and remote town planning
Adaptation is now a necessary response to the current and future impacts of climate change. In Central Australia, remote Indigenous communities are recognized as most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which will exacerbate many of the existing inequalities faced by these communities.
Community-led adaptation initiatives are often the most successful and effective, and Arid Edge works with communities to meet the challenge of climate change. Their grassroots, participatory process puts local people in the lead of identifying key climate-related threats and the adaptive strategies needed to overcome them.
Arid Edge recently partnered with MacDonnell Regional Council to create a plan for the Kintore community. They looked at the climate risks now and in the future, and consulted with residents about their needs in order to come up with sustainable, culturally appropriate ways to increase resilience in the face of rising temperatures.