The iDEA23 “Surviving and Thriving”

To survive and thrive, deep systemic and societal change is required; our transition to a greener future should be equitable and ethical.

At iDEA23 we explored the intersection of environmental advocacy across a range of spheres including healthcare, economics, and law.

Although the situation is dire, we showcased proven strategies and mobilised hope for the future in a way that leaves us connected to our community and paves the way for us to act!

This highly anticipated weekend conference was held at the beautiful University of Queensland St. Lucia Campus in Mianjin/Brisbane and online.

We heard from Australian and international speakers who shared practical knowledge from their fields of expertise to help us adapt to the inevitable challenges of climate change while cultivating hope for the wellbeing of our planet and its people.

Highlights of iDEA available soon.

iDEA 2023 Program

Friday 14th July 2023 - Day One

UQ St Lucia – Advanced Engineering Building – Room 313A

2.30pm - 5.30pm  Media Skills Workshop

  • Climate Media Centre
    The Climate Media Centre's signature media training.
    This is a Media 101 training session, designed for those with little or no media experience, and for those who are looking for a refresher in communicating climate and doing media interviews.The workshop will help participants develop a deeper understanding of where Australian attitudes and perceptions are in the race to decarbonisation, learn how to communicate to different audiences on climate change and energy, and find out more about what makes journalists tick. Participants will also receive a structure for developing strong messages, plenty of tips and tricks for nailing an interview and a chance to practise interview skills.


Friday Night Catch-Up

Flying Colours – 63 Vulture St, West End QLD

7.00pm   Informal social gathering - All attendees welcome



Saturday 15th July 2023 - Day Two

UQ St Lucia – Advanced Engineering Building Auditorium


8.00am - 8.30am   Check In

8:50am  Welcome to Country

9.00am - 10.30am    Session 1: Plenary

    • Dr Lachlan McIver (joining online from Geneva) - The Ultimate Emergency: Why we need to treat the planet as a patient to save the human race.
      Dr Lachlan McIver is a rural generalist, public health physician and planetary health advisor for Médecins San Frontières. He will be joining us from Geneva to discuss the “ultimate emergency” and guide us in the steps we can collectively take in a changing climate.
    • Prof Ian Lowe (joining online from the UK) - The complex environmental factors influencing public health.
      Drawing on a life-time of interdisciplinary research and advisory roles, Prof Ian Lowe (AO) will share poignant insights into environmental factors on human health. Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University he has published prolifically. His latest book released May 2023 is Australia on the Brink: Avoiding Environmental Ruin.
    • Francis Nona - Knowledge Holders within Indigenous communities whose footprints are not to be erased by the impacts of climate change
      From the Torres Strait, Francis Nonna is a proud Badu and Sabailaig man, and  a lecturer and researcher at the university of Queensland's School of Public Health. His work is informed by his strong cultural upbringing, balanced with a career as a Registered Nurse and Director of an Indigenous community controlled health service. Francis will give a plenary on the impact of climate change throughout Australia and in  the Torres Strait and how we can mobilise indigenous knowledge to help heal country and improve equity for First Nations people.

11.00am - 12.30pm    Session 2: Health Care Sustainability

    • David Walker- Health Infrastructure Sustainability.
      Executive Director of Sustainable Assets and Infrastructure for Australia’s largest health district, David Walker, will provide us with strategic and technical knowledge needed to make the green transition and electrify a health service.
    • Dr Ben Dunne - Embedding sustainability in hospitals and health services.
      How do we make healthcare sustainable in a changing Climate? Dr Ben Dunne, co-convenor of DEA’s Sustainable Healthcare SIG, will discuss the building movement within the healthcare sector to address the urgent issues of climate change; from the development of national Sustainable Healthcare Unit to Green College guidelines, all electric hospital builds, and a net zero emissions target.
    • Dr Richard Yin - Sustainable general practice - a platform for advocacy?
      DEA’s deputy chair Dr Richard Yin has been tireless since his retirement from General Practice in his advocacy work for planetary health. In his presentation he invites us to consider our responsibilities and opportunities as medical practitioners not only to practise sustainable health care, but to educate our patients in models of preventative healthcare and to consider the social and environmental dimensions of health.
    • Trevor Berrill - Healthy GP Clinics, Healthy People, Healthy Planet.
      Bringing a plethora of experience from 40 years in sustainable energy, Trevor will look at to how energy systems such as renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) can transform the way GP clinics get and use energy whilst looking after the planet.

1.30pm - 3.00pm   Session 3: Workshops

Choose one of the following workshops:

Cultivating Hope in the Time of the Climate Emergency

UQ St Lucia – Advanced Engineering Building – Room 301

This is an experiential workshop to help people air some of the painful feelings they have about the climate crisis, and to learn techniques for making room for uncomfortable feelings, cultivate a perspective of active hope, and increase one's capacity to be present and focus on what matters in the context of the climate emergency. (1.5 hours)

Facilitated by Dr Susie Burke

The Doctor as Advocate: Introduction to Campaigning

UQ St Lucia – Advanced Engineering Building – Room 316A

Come along to this interactive workshop as we explore the background to advocacy, touch on DEA goals and discuss what it takes to run a successful campaign. Whether your interest lies in small scale shift in your workplace, or tackling political reform, this workshop will provide a framework for making change happen. (1.5 hours)

Facilitated by Dr Kate Wylie and Dr Richard Yin

Designing a carbon literacy program for climate-mitigation in healthcare

UQ St Lucia – Advanced Engineering Building – Room 313A

A workshop providing a shared understanding of the polycrisis that the world is facing and examining the key components of and pathways to developing a carbon literacy program for the Australian healthcare sector based on the Carbon Literacy Project learning framework. (1.5 hours)

Facilitated by Roxane Valier-Brasier

Doctor, heal thyself

Find out about nature prescriptions through a guided nature connection experience in the beautiful grounds of UQ. (45minutes)

Facilitated by Dr Dimity Williams

Endangered Generation Documentary 

Narrated by Laura Dern, the film is guided by intrepid scientists, activists, artists and First Nations leaders, whose voices and lived experiences provoke a deeper understanding of our physical, psychological, and spiritual connection to our world. The film seeks to remind us that diversity and cooperation are the most effective way to create a resilient future, that First Nations speakers are crucial experts, and that art is one of the most powerful tools we have in creating a shared story of human survival. It's a moving, and surprisingly joyous, exploration of who we are and how we relate to the natural world that defines us. (Available for in person and online viewing) 


3.30pm - 5.00pm   Session 4: Ecology

    • Prof Richard Fuller - Biodiversity, Health and Connection to Nature.
      Passionate conservation biologist Prof. Richard Fuller has done extensive interdisciplinary work to answer fundamental questions around a sustainable environmental future. His studies encompass impacts of people on the environment, and what can be done to mitigate those impacts. Richard has also been researching the benefits of nature to human mental and physical health, and what makes people seek a connection with nature and its protection.
    • Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg - Will the Great Barrier Reef survive and thrive under extreme climate change?
      UQ Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will use his extensive experience and internationally recognised work on the impacts of climate change on complex ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs, to address the issue of the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef and what can we do to protect one of the world's most important natural assets.
    • Prof Susanne Schmidt - Healthy landscapes, plants and people.
      UQ professor of agriculture and soil scientist, Professor Susanne Schmidt will guide us through the restoration of degraded landscapes, restorative agricultural practices, and sustainable uses of Australia's native plants to support the bio-economy and production of healthy food.


Saturday night social event 

UQ Anthropology Museum - UQ St Lucia - Level 1, Michie Building 

5.30pm   Social Cocktail event at UQ Anthropology Museum



Sunday 16th July 2023 - Day Three

UQ St Lucia – Advanced Engineering Building Auditorium


6.30am - 8.00am   Bird Walk

  • Prof Hugh Possingham (Oxley Creek Common)
    Whether you are an interstate visitor or longstanding local, there is no better way to discover the amazing diversity of birdlife at Brisbane’s Oxley Common than in an early morning walk guided by Prof Hugh Possingham. His intimate knowledge of habitats, bird behaviour and calls opens up a fascinating glimpse into the rich woodland, open grassland, mangrove and wetland birdlife of Oxley Common. Hugh is a leading Australian ecologist and conservation biologist, Professor of Mathematics as well as Zoology at UQ, Queensland Chief Scientist 2020-2022, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy 2016 - 2020, advisor to multiple government and non-government science and nature conservation agencies.

8.30am - 10.00am    Session 1: Ethics and Justice

    • Elise West - War and Warming: Connecting the Dots.
      Increasingly, climate change is being used as an excuse for conflict around the world. CEO of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Elise West, will provide us the facts of the matter and guide us on the steps we can take to assist humanity in a restless world.
    • Dr Michelle Maloney (joining online from Brisbane) - Rethinking Australia’s governance system – bioregional stewardship and the Greenprints approach.
      With academic credentials of a BA in Political Science and History, and Honours and PhD in Law, Dr Michelle Maloney moved into Ecological law. This led her on a journey of cross-cultural learning. She has been affiliated with multiple ecological law organisations, such as chairing Environment Defenders Office QLD 2013-17. Her presentation asks us rethink our legal, political, economic and governance systems so that they support, rather than undermine, the integrity and health of the Earth.
    • Murrawah Johnson - An Indigenous Strength-based Approach to Climate Action and Litigation: Protection of Country, Culture and Climate in utilising the QLD Human Rights Act to resist new mega fossil fuel projects.
      Wirdi woman, Murrawah Johnson, is a giant in environmental advocacy. Her fight for First Nations people to have sovereign decision-making power over traditional lands and lead action on climate change is an inspiration to all. Murrawah will guide us on her work fighting for a future in which we can all thrive.

10.30am - 12.00pm    Session 2: Members Assembly

The DEA members assembly is a members only part of our program and is an opportunity for members to hear from the board and the executive and discuss the future work and direction of DEA.


1.00pm - 2.30pm   Session 3: Personal and Community Solutions

    • Dr Moira Williams - Building people power to tackle the climate crisis.
      For over a decade Moira has been a leader in the grassroots climate movement. She will share from her experience in environmental activism insights into how to engage people, keep them engaged and motivated, and be effective in fighting the climate crisis.
    • Dr Nina Lansbury - Protecting health in a changing climate: From the IPCC ivory tower to on-ground in a remote community.

      UQ research academic Dr Nina Lansbury draws on her diverse research and advisory roles spanning Indigenous health, climate change and health, women’s health and sustainable development to share challenges and paths to solutions.

    • Prof Matthew Hornsey - A toolkit for understanding and addressing climate inaction.
      Have you ever wondered why some people reject seemingly rational messaging? UQ Professor of psychology Matthew Hornsey will help us build an understanding of people’s motivations to reject scientific consensus around climate change and give us a toolkit to address climate inaction.

3.00pm - 4.30pm  Session 4: Environment and Society

    • Joanna Zhou - Breakthroughs in climate law and policy – why we should remain optimistic about the future.
      What legal and policy options do we have to mitigate climate change? It's not just litigation. Executive Director of climate change advisory and investment firm Pollination, Joanna Zhou, will give an update on the work she is doing in Australia and abroad to harness the power of law and policy.
    • Dr Anya (Anna) Phelan - Circular ecosystem innovation and remote communities.
      Griffith senior lecturer, Dr Anya Phelan, will help us understand how entrepreneurial action and social enterprise can tackle complex social and environmental issues. Her work in Cape York, Far North Queensland, is an example for all of how local communities can combat already evident climate changes.
  • Prof John Quiggin (joining online) - Climate Change, Despair and Mental Health: What can Behavioural Economics tell us?
    Professor of Economics at UQ, John is a highly celebrated contributor in his field, having twice received Federation Fellowships from the Australian Research Council and produced over 2000 publications. He will present a fascinating look at the interplay between behavioural economics and climate change and how the former can be utilised as tool to for climate action and to support mental health.

iDEA23 Organising Committee Members


Isaac Tranter


Peta Higgs


Mia Wong


David King


Linda Selvey


Olivia Williams


Lana Del Vecchio


Jenni Ng


Albert Qui


Karin Kochmann


Pieter Jansen

iDEA would like to thank our Sponsors


Companies that exhibit or sponsor DEA events are those who want to connect with our audience. Their presence does not indicate an endorsement of their views, products or services by DEA