Hart Cohen; Francesca Sidoti; Alison Gill; Abby Mellick Lopes; Maryella Hatfield; Jonathon Allen

Published On


Page Range

pp. 357-398

Print Length

41 pages

14. Sustainability, Living Labs and Repair

Approaches to Climate Change Mitigation

  • Hart Cohen (author)
  • Francesca Sidoti (author)
  • Alison Gill (author)
  • Abby Mellick Lopes (author)
  • Maryella Hatfield (author)
  • Jonathon Allen (author)
The year 2020 started with a massive bushfire crisis in south eastern Australia, resulting in disruption to many communities, the loss of lives and businesses, an estimated loss of a billion animals and the dirtiest air on the planet in the cities of Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra. With record-high temperatures and a punishing draught lasting several years, the Australian bush was primed to explode into flames. With lightning strikes in national parks, the spontaneous eruptions of bushfire spread from the north coast to the south and inland towards the alpine regions of New South Wales and Victoria. With the very hot year of 2019 affecting other parts of the planet in 2020, the Antarctic Peninsula reached a record 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The chapter that follows reflects the new progressive politics of climate change that emerged in 2019 with large mass demonstrations taking place in Australia and around the world and examines the critical role of universities in the mitigation of climate catastrophe. The following interventions are variably focused on the concept of ‘Living Labs’ where thinking is developed within a problem-solving ethos. The three contributions here offer ways to think about sustainability with specific reference to waste recovery, environmental awareness in urban settings and the contribution that a ‘repair’ mentality can make to a shared and re-cycled economy. With a clear-eyed recommendation that mitigation of climate change starts locally, the premise of the paper is that people can work with what is available as local solutions to specific problems. The impact of this approach can be essential to people who sense the impending catastrophe and who may have experienced the crisis directly through compromises in their health outcomes, the experience of trauma and the loss of property and livelihoods, though through no fault of their own. The links through the Western Sydney University campus, common ground to the authors to both its small bushland outpost and further to the local community it serves, suggest that the boundaries of the campus are permeable – and that Living Labs are both a means and metaphor for thinking about how the campus opens learning and knowledge creation about sustainability for its students, staff and community constituents.


Hart Cohen


Francesca Sidoti


Alison Gill


Abby Mellick Lopes


Maryella Hatfield


Jonathon Allen