Picture: Teaching is my super power. Credit: Allie Smith (Unsplash).

by Ian Macadam
Those of you who have been with CLEX for a while will no doubt be somewhat tired of me trying to explain what a Knowledge Broker is and what the CLEX Knowledge Brokerage Team does. You’ll be relieved to hear that I won’t use this newsletter article to go into this again! If you’re new, or still unsure about who we are and/or what we do, our webpage is there to help. If it doesn’t, contact me at i.macadam@unsw.edu.au. Since government is a key audience for the team’s activities, we also now have a page setting out what CLEX can offer government a page setting out what CLEX can offer government.

One of the avenues that CLEX uses to reach out to both governments and the private sector is its series of short briefing notes. Each of these tells a story around a key piece of CLEX-related science. As well as highlighting key research findings, they emphasise the context around the research (e.g. How might the research benefit Australia? How do different scientific publications relate to each other? Where is the research heading next, and why?). These are posted on the Centre’s website and also emailed to a distribution list. The list has been growing steadily as I encounter more and more individuals who express an interest in CLEX’s research. For example, briefing notes are now sent to individuals in all Australian State governments and, although they are targeted at governments and businesses, several teachers’ associations. The most recent briefing note, highlighting some of the CLEX research that appeared in last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on “Climate Change and Land”, was released in December.

In 2020, the work of the Knowledge Brokerage Team got off to a flying start when the team supported the “Climate Across the Curriculum” workshop held at the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) 2020 conference in Fremantle in February. This brought teachers from around Fremantle and scientists from the conference together to develop educational resources on climate science for secondary school teachers.

The idea was to create lesson plans that could be used by teachers to simultaneously address points in the curriculum and educate their students about the climate. The workshop was very successful, with CLEX making a major contribution to the organisation of the workshop, – via Angela Maharaj, Sanaa Hobeichi, Linden Ashcroft, Robyn Schofield and myself – and through the contributions of these individuals and others from CLEX to the lesson plans themselves. A number of draft lesson plans were produced that we will be working on with teachers, AMOS, the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub and the international TROP ICSU project to refine and complete. You can read more about the workshop in the March 2020 edition of the AMOS bulletin.

Looking forward to the rest of the year, it’s clear that a team whose purpose is to engage with and facilitate interaction between CLEX and the wider world will face significant challenges. Having said that, the team remains keen to support CLEXers in their interactions with stakeholders in government, businesses, and schools to the extent possible. However, I understand that many of you in CLEX and many of our stakeholders will rightly have other priorities during this trying time. Stay safe!