A key research group within Griffith’s Climate Action Beacon used the backdrop of a popular Gold Coast arts event to ask the community big questions about how climate change will impact their favourite recreational activities.

Associate Professor Kerrie Foxwell-Norton is behind the ‘Altered Tides: Creative coastal recreation in a climate changed future series’ hosted by Griffith’s Climate Action Beacon.

This series featured a community event at the 2022 Swell Sculpture Festival, held annually along the Currumbin beachfront, that focused on coastal recreation activities and the impacts climate change could have on them.

“It’s sometimes easy to slip into the thinking that climate change is something that affects our planet or only certain parts of it in certain ways,” she said.

“But we are seeing the impacts of global warming right here on our doorstep, on the very beaches on which we play and stay.

“For beachgoers, those impacts are felt differently. Those who fish may see more of species they don’t usually or catch less of the ones that they’re used to.

“For surfers, this could mean more dramatic wave conditions due to altered currents pushing sand into different areas and affecting their local breaks.

“Even for those beachgoers who just love an afternoon stroll along the sand, an increase in climate-driven destructive weather systems could mean that their favourite coastline is heavily eroded and difficult to access.”

Sea Changes: Finding new fish in the warming waters of South East Queensland was presented by University of Tasmania marine ecologist Professor Gretta Pecl, who focused on our marine environment and climate changed futures, followed by an in-conversation with local experts including Griffith’s Professor Rodger Tomlinson, Professor Kylie Pitt and PhD Candidate Maggie Muurmans, and community leaders.

Representatives from the Gold Coast surfing, fishing, diving, surf lifesaving and indigenous communities also attended to discuss the big question: What can we do to ready ourselves — and our weekends — for climate altered futures?

The public lecture was opened with Glenn Barry (Gamilraay), Griffith Council of Elders and PhD candidate and SWELL Board of Directors, playing didgeridoo with an acknowledgement of country.

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