Griffith University Professor Catherine Pickering is urging Gold Coastresidents to go head-to-head with climate change by growing more local plants in their backyards.

Professor Pickering, who will speak at the Climate Change for Good Conference from 1-2 July at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus, said everyone could play a part in mitigating the impact of climate change in their neighbourhoods.

“We are lucky to live in a city with so many stunning native plants we can use in our gardens, our streets and our parks to make the city even more beautiful, while also helping us deal with climate change,” she said.

“There are more than 1600 native plants from the dunes to the hinterland, which have adapted to a wide range of growing conditions.

Professor Catherine Pickering

Professor Catherine Pickering

Professor Pickering said planting local native vegetation wouldbattle climate change in a number of ways.

“Trees in the street and in our gardens could help offset the impacts of extreme heat events expected in the future, by shading roads and houses,” she said.

“Also when we green the Gold Coast we reduce flooding, as plants reduce surface run off, limit flooding, and transpire water in the soil back into the atmosphere.

Planting our dunes with local plants also protects our beaches from erosion.”

Native plant app

Professor Pickering is leading a team at Griffith University which has started developing an app with local environmental company Natura, called groNative, which is designed to help people select native plants that will suit their gardens.

groNative, which will launch early next year, will list 300 native plants and describe their size, water saving abilities, attractiveness to birds and tolerance.

The group has already produced a popular app, called Grows At Griffith, which identifies and describes the 300 plants on the university’s campuses.

A wide range of topics will be covered at the Climate Change for Good Conference,including conservation, sustainable tourism, health and welfare and food security.

Presentations will be made by a number of speakers including Griffith Climate Change Response Program Professor Brendan Mackey and Professor Will Steffen, from the Climate Council.