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Who should govern environmental disasters, and how?

Effective governance for extreme weather events
As global warming rapidly heats up our planet, the likelihood and frequency of environmental disasters caused by extreme weather events - from bushfires to floods - rises substantially. But are we equipped to manage these disasters?

Event details
Date and time:
 Thursday 21 November, 6 – 7.30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 200, Social Sciences Building
The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential

Bushfires, hurricanes, life-threatening heatwaves and floods have ravaged our planet in recent years. There is a mounting pool of evidence that climate change, including global warming, is a major cause of these extreme weather events.

This Sydney Ideas event brings together scholars working on environmental disasters from a range of disciplines, issue areas, and countries to grapple with the following questions: what we need to do to govern such disasters effectively? Who should govern environmental disasters and how?

To create an effective governance framework we need to be sensitive to local conditions and to recognise the commonalities of addressing such disasters globally.

Are there gaps in environmental disaster governance and can we ensure that attempts to address environmental disasters also protect people and ecosystems who are in the danger zones, in both the short term and the long term?

This event is part of the Environmental Disasters Symposium (21-22 November), a collaboration between Sydney Social and Humanities Advanced Research Centre, Sydney Environment Institute and the University of Sydney Office of Global Engagement.

The speakers

Linda combines research and postgraduate supervision at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University. She is one of 25 chief investigators on the six-university ARC Centre for Excellence in Electromaterials Science (2015-21).

Her current research focuses on: ethics and policy related to the analysis of power and interests in public policy; ethical issues concerning materials used in fossil fuel and renewable energy (RE); critical infrastructure;  just/ethical energy transitions; ethical security analysis of transnational energy supply chains; circular economy; and energy system disaster resilience.

Susan is an Associate Professor in International Relations and a research affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. She focuses on how state and non-state actors use formal and informal influence to make the Multilateral Development Banks greener and more accountable.

Susan has published in numerous journals, most recently in the Review of International Political Economy. Her latest book is International Organisations and Global Problems: Theories and Explanations (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Susan is an Associate Editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics and is Co-Convenor with Dr Teresa Kramarz (University of Toronto) of the Earth Systems Governance (ESG) Task Force ‘Accountability in Global Environmental Governance.’ 

Francisco is a researcher at CIGIDEN, Research Centre for Integrated Disaster Risk Management and co-founder of Estado Local. He holds a PhD in Human Geography (Kings College London), a master in Anthropology and Development (University of Chile) and a first degree in Sociology (Diego Portales University).

Since 2007 he has been doing research in the Chilean Altiplano with Atacamenian communities and since 2016, with Mapuche Lafkenche communities in the Budi Lake (Southern Chile). Currently he is working in the way local knowledge dialogues with current structures oriented to disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Chile and developing research that analyses the relation between socionatural disasters regarding water and the way local knowledge emerge, through an ethnography of everyday experiences with nature.

Abbas is a writer and an academic. He is Professor of Environmental Engineering at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney, where he runs the GeoEnvironmental Laboratory. He is chief investigator on several Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery and Linkage grants and has published widely on soil hydrology, carbon cycle in soils and vulnerability to climate change. 

Abbas advises the Environmental Defenders Office and contributes regularly to print and audio-visual media. His memoir, Leave to Remain, was published in 2010 and won a NSW Premier literary award. His latest book, The Secret Maker of the World, is a collection of short stories published by the University of Queensland Press.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 15 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides wheelchair access, hearing loop and infrared hearing system.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email with 'Access | Nov 21 – Environmental disasters' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

This event takes place at SSB Lecture Theatre 200, which is on Level 2 of the Social Sciences Building (enter via Science Road). 

There will be directional signage on the day leading to the theatre. You may also refer to the map on this page. 

Public Transport

To help you plan your trip, visit


Buses to the University are readily available from Railway Square, Central Station (Broadway). Please use the campus maps tool and tick the ‘State transit bus stops’ box under the ‘Amenities’ column to view all possible bus stops.

  • via Parramatta Road: Take one of these buses: 412, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 480, 483, m10, L38 or L39 and alight at the Footbridge on Parramatta Road. It's roughly a five-minute walk to the venue.
  • via City Road: Take one of these buses: 352, 370, 422, 423, 426, 428, m30, L23 or L28 and alight at the footbridge before Butlin Avenue. Cross the road or go across the bridge and take Eastern Avenue towards the Quadrangle, and turn into Science Road. It's roughly a 12-minute walk to the venue.

The venue is roughly 30 minutes walk from Redfern Station. Catch a train to Redfern Station and take Lawson Street up to Abercrombie Street. At the roundabout, follow Codrington Street up to Butlin Avenue. Follow Butlin Avenue through to the campus and up Eastern Avenue towards the Quadrangle and turn into Science Road. Keep walking along there – the venue will be on the right.

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Social Sciences Building'. 

Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

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