As I write, smoke haze from unseasonably early bushfires around Drake near Tenterfield blankets the sky. Just last week we saw the devastation of Cyclone Dorian, cutting a swathe through the Bahamas and affecting communities as far north as Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, unprecedented floods in Spain are occurring at the same time that the Amazon rainforest is still on fire.
The weight of lived and scientific evidence points to the fact that we are facing a global ecological and climate crisis.
For all of these reasons, and together with all members of the executive, we support those participating in the worldwide, global action highlighting and combatting the climate crisis – which takes place on Friday 20 September. As an institution dedicated to freedom of intellectual enquiry (as per our founding Act) we have resolved that any staff member or student who wishes to do so will not be placed at a disadvantage and we will not stand in the way of their attendance. Academic arrangements will be made to cater for any teaching or assessment over that period to ensure that no-one will be adversely impacted.
At the same time, we will inaugurate our initial Green Gloves Day – open to all staff, students, and members of the Southern Cross family – on Friday 27 September. It is a tangible example of our voluntary commitment to enhance our beautiful Lismore campus rainforest environment by pruning, removing invasive species of plants, and planting koala-friendly trees in the vicinity of the lake.
Adam Shoemaker, Vice Chancellor
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