The Reporting Climate Change and the Environment Workshop organised by the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre was a good experience for me personally as I got to meet other journalists from around the region, share stories and experiences, talk to the scientists and experts involved in organisations concerned with the issue of climate change and visit some of the sites within Melbourne and Tasmania.
The first week was quite effective in helping us to prepare for the four weeks ahead, involving personal and leadership skills. I discovered a lot about my personality and how I do things at work. Also learning about how to manage stress and how to become a better negotiator by influencing others at work. I also found that mentoring skills were useful to resolve problems I might be dealing with at work.
During the second week I was nervous as I didn’t know what to expect discussing climate change but Philip Chubb was quite helpful in providing a basic introduction into the topic first by telling us about Australia’s position on climate change with the passing of Australia’s legislation in parliament on carbon tax. Also guest speakers from The Age, Oxfam, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and Monash University gave a better insight into climate change effects happening globally and ways to report it.
The visit to the Melbourne Zoo was enjoyable as we got to see the animals but were also informed of the conservation areas around the world and extinct species under protection programs. Going to the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation was quite eye opening and interesting as I got to learn about the science of climate change and being able to get a report on Samoa under the Pacific Climate Change Science Program which is something I would like to follow up when I get home.
By the second week I learned to create a blog and I found it a nifty way to get my news stories out there and is also a good way to keep in touch with the other fellows and get an update on what climate change stories they have written since the workshop.
More discussions followed on climate change during the following week with Phil Chubb before we had to prepare for Hobart. While in Tasmania we met Environment Editor for The Age, Adam Morton and visited Styx Valley. Also met Vica Bayley from the Wilderness Society and two representatives from REDD. Seeing firsthand what had been discussed at APJC, I got to see areas that had been logged and heard from Vica how they were trying to conserve some of the forests that were to be logged. The next day we visited the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park and fed kangaroos which was fun! :)…We then continued on to Port Arthur and took the ferry to the Isle of the Dead to see a mark which measures sea level rise and according to John Hunter from the Institute for the Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania the sea level has risen by 13cm during a certain period since they conducted their research.
We also visited the Environmental Defenders Office to talk about the environmental policies in Tasmania and the Australia Antarctic Division which I found interesting how Dr Rob King explained how they were conducting a special research on krill from the Antarctic. The symposium at the University of Tasmania gave us all the opportunity to share the experience of reporting climate change within the Asia Pacific Region. I thought the group did really well in answering questions from the audience and they were just as impressed too. It was sad to leave Hobart as it was such a nice quiet place and we had seen so much but the memories will be with me always.
Returning back to APJC, we have one more week to go and this week will be assigned for work attachment. I have learnt so much during this workshop and am grateful to APJC, AusAid and Cherelle Jackson for this valuable opportunity.