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Lifelong learning for
a fairer Australia

Lifelong learning for
a fairer Australia

Online forum: Adult learning education on climate justice

Presenter: Various
When: 20 September 2023 | 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm AEST
Duration: 90 minutes
Cost: Free


In recent years, the importance of adult learning education focused on climate justice has gained momentum in Australia and the world. In Australia, we have seen the impact of climate disruption with more frequent catastrophic weather events such as floods and fires contributing to the displacement of people from housing and local communities and the subsequent effects on the environment and non-human species. In 2021, the Australian Journal of Adult Learning (AJAL) engaged prominent researchers in this area, Associate Professor Hilary Whitehouse and Professor Bob Stevenson to edit a special edition focusing on climate justice education and how adult learning education is currently responding to the call for action on climate change. As they noted in their editorial … “In her recent book Humanity’s Moment, Australian scientist Joëlle Gergis (2022), a lead author of the 2022 Sixth IPCC Report, documents the overwhelming scientific evidence of a rapidly worsening ecological crisis” (Whitehouse and Stevenson, 2022). The special edition of AJAL highlights research and scholarship from Australia and a South African-led international collaboration responding to the impact of climate change, from issues related to popular education and social movement activism on climate change to affective dimensions of grappling with the social trauma of the climate crisis and the need for an emergent curriculum on climate justice education for educators and activists. The special edition includes practice-based papers on teaching climate justice in the classroom and working with discomfort and emotions using pedagogies that engage students and teachers in dialogue on climate justice.


The seminar aims to bring adult educators together to engage on matters of climate justice education and to hear about current scholarship and practices from the authors of the special edition.

Hilary Whitehouse, Associate Professor, James Cook University

Robert B. Stevenson, Adjunct Professor, James Cook University


Shirley Walters is Professor Emerita of adult and continuing education at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

She is an African ecofeminist popular educator, activist and scholar. She was founding director of the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE) and Division for Lifelong Learning (DLL) at UWC over 35 years. She has been active within justice oriented civil society organisations and movements for over 40 years both locally and globally. She is President of the international network, PIMA, which has climate justice education as a critical focus area.


Annette Gough OAM is professor emerita of science and environmental education in the School of Education at RMIT University. She has been writing, researching and teaching environmental education since conducting Australia’s first needs for environmental education survey for the national Curriculum Development Centre in 1974. She was the first female president of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (1984-1986) and was made life fellow in 1992. Her publications include Environmental Education Teachers’ Handbook (Longman Cheshire, 1978), Education and the Environment: Policy, Trends and the Problems of Marginalisation (ACER, 1997), Green Schools Globally (Springer, 2020), and numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Dr Larraine J. Larri is a Cairns Institute Research Fellow at James Cook University and an activist, researcher, and program evaluation expert specialising in environmental adult education and citizenship. Dr Larri publishes work from her doctoral studies on adult social movement learning (ASML) within the Australian Knitting Nannas environmental activist movement. This transdisciplinary research drew on gender, critical feminist educational gerontology, environmental climate activism, new and traditional media, and craftivism. In her post-doctoral work, Dr Larri supports and investigates community resilience, recovery, and adaptation in the face of climate change challenges.

Dr Tania Leimbach is Research Associate in the Climate-Society Environment Research Centre, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney. She is a transdisciplinary academic with research interests spanning climate change education, environmental communication, climate psychology, science and technology studies (STS) and social movement theory.

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Adult Learning Australia

Adult Learning Australia