Shortly after reading about school design I was on my way to Canberra listening to Radio National. Michael Dunlop was Cameron Wilson’s guest on Bush Telegraph. The trail for the conversation was:
A new CSIRO study shows that ecosystems we grew up with will be changed so much as a result of climate change that they will look, sound and smell completely different in years to come. The study is the first Australia-wide assessment of the magnitude of the ecological impact that climate change could have on biodiversity. It says the scale of the problem could have major implications for conservation policy and the management of Australia’s system of national parks and reserves. The report predicts that by 2070 most places in Australia will have environments that are more ecologically different from current conditions than they are similar.
Shortly after interviewing Michael, Cameron spoke with Danica Leys. She is a co-founder of the social media platform AgChatOz, a community forum for rural Australians to connect and discuss issues affecting their lives. AgChatOz hosts a weekly discussion on Twitter on Tuesday nights from 8-10pm. This week there was a live event in Canberra.
The great thing about #AgChatOZ is that allows farmers to tell their side of any story. It is breaking down barriers of rural isolation and allowing for consumers to engage with farmers and understand the inner workings of a farm and rural environment.
With more than 50% of the world’s population under 30 years old, more than 80% of online Australians familiar with Twitter, and Facebook reaching nearly 1 billion users, it is no surprise that social media is one of the most powerful communication tools of the 21st century.
Social media has allowed users of the AgChatOZ platform to have a global reach with relative ease. Our discussions have trended globally on Twitter more than twice, which has been one element of measuring our success. The calibre of groups and individuals participating and continue to engage also prove we are reaching the right audience, not purely “preaching to the converted”. We often engage with; Ministers, peak farm lobby groups, environmental groups, farmers and city consumers to name a few.
Social media can empower and connect country people, it can assist in bridging the gap between “country and city” and it allows for the paddock to plate story to be told. It is vital and crucial in building relationships and forming a better understanding of the diversity of rural people, their lives and industry.
Most importantly, it is crucial to remember that social media is simply a tool in the process of communication. Social media is not a “silver bullet” to the issues the industry faces and will continue to face, but it does provide a free, powerful and limitless platform to be heard.
My environment day ended with showing a friend the INSPIRE Centre on the University of Canberra campus. It has been built with sustainable principles and supports approaches to learning evident in Swedish plans and #tag conversations.