Join Ben Habib in this episode of the Edge Dwellers Café Podcast as he sits down with environmental scientist and sustainability expert Dr Alison Mitchell to discuss the pressing question: “What is sustainability asking of us?” We discuss Ali’s personal journey from environmental science to education for sustainability, exploring a wide range of topics including the role of sustainability professionals as knowledge brokers, eco-anxiety, citizen science, environmental reporting, risk management, energy system transitions, climate politics and more.
See original episode audio and show notes on Podbean.
00:03:44 Ali’s career journey from environmental science to education for sustainability.
00:10:12 Sustainability professionals as knowledge brokers and disciplinary interpreters.
00:12:02 Ali’s ‘oh shit’ realisation about the environmental crisis and finite Earth.
00:13:47 Eco-anxiety and grounded hope.
00:16:39 Citizen science as mindful connection with environment.
00:19:28 What does sustainability ask of us as consumers?
00:22:25 Sustainability in business strategies, production systems and supply chain management.
00:25:53 Sustainability and risk management.
00:28:07 Rapid evolution of climate-related risk management.
00:33:35 Standardising environmental measurement and reporting metrics.
00:36:10 Engaging with the complexities of energy system transitions.
00:40:44 Chaotic politics of energy system transitions.
00:43:51 Resisting the allure of simplistic doomerism.
00:46:21 Networked community groups and the rise of independent representation in Indi.
00:51:59 Political psychology and behaviour change in sustainability work.
00:56:12 Psychology of greed and the escape fantasies of the rich.
00:59:39 Systems mapping and complex systems thinking for sustainability professionals.
01:04:57 The illusion of absolute freedom in a world of complex interdependence.
01:10:18 Potential dangers of xenophobic localisation as globalisastion breaks down.
01:12:33 Message of hope and encouragement for young people in the face of eco-anxiety and rapid change.
- NSW TAFE Diploma of Sustainable Practice.
- “Friends of Willow Park: An interview with Julie Hind and Alison Mitchell.” Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga. 20 February 2011.
- Ecoportal. http://ecoportal.net.au/
- Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures.
- Douglas Rushkoff. (2022). Survival of the Richest: The Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires. Norton.
- Leyla Acaroglu. “Tools for Systems Thinkers: Systems Mapping.” Medium. 21 September 2017.
- Donella Meadows. “Leverage points: Places to intervene in a system.” Academy for Systems Change.
About Dr Alison Mitchell
Dr Alison Mitchell is the Course Coordinator and Learning Facilitator for the Higher Education Diploma of Sustainable Practice at TAFE NSW. She has worked previously as a sustainability educator at Charles Sturt University and as an environmental scientist at the CSIRO. She has a PhD in Environmental Science (Freshwater Biogeochemistry/Nutrient Cycling, CSU), a Graduate Certificate in Natural Resource Management Policy and Planning (UWA), and a Graduate Certificate in Education and Training for Sustainability (Swinburne). She is a Certified Sustainability Excellence Associate and has been a Board member for North East Catchment Management Authority and Albury-Wodonga Community College. A keen community activist, Ali has initiated the community sustainability group site Ecoportal and has volunteered in various community groups including Landcare and, currently, an Australian Conservation Foundation community group in the Albury-Wodonga region known as ‘ACF-AWR’.
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrAliMitchell
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alison-mitchell-88938042/
About Ben Habib, host of Edge Dwellers Cafe
- Ben@Earth: https://drbenjaminhabib.com/
- LTU staff profile: https://scholars.latrobe.edu.au/bhabib
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrBenjaminHabib
- Mastodon: https://aus.social/@DrBenjaminHabib
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2oPQqZhJ8CAPbNqIDlf8_g
- ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3087-4828
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- Thumbnail artwork developed using Deep Art Effects.
- Intro music: “Lala Bass” by Adele_Newiron from Pixabay.
- Interlude music: “Relax (Drum and Bass)” by vjgalaxy from Pixabay.
- Interlude music: “Centyś – Energy 4” by abctoja from Pixabay.
- Interlude voice-over by Jess Love (https://www.jesslovefilmmaker.com/).
This podcast is broadcast from Naarm/Melbourne on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people. Edge Dwellers Cafe pays respect to their elders past and present.