The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the form of disruptions and emergency events, such as an increase in extreme weather events. As the climate changes in the years and decades to come, adaptation will be required from all levels of society. As hyper local, place-based agencies, neighbourhood houses already play a key role in supporting individuals and families in need, reducing isolation and building social connectedness. And more frequently, these organisations are often at the frontline supporting community during and after climate disruptions and disasters.
The resources below may be helpful in supporting your neighbourhood houses/community centre to have conversations with community members about how they are preparing for a changing climate; to prepare your own organisations internally; to collaborate with others to take action that will support you to deal with the impacts of a changing climate; and to include a climate resilience lens in existing activities at your centre.
Guidance on climate action and resilience planning for neighbourhood house networks
In 2022 the Centre for Just Places worked with the Darebin Neighborhood House Network to develop a collaborative Climate Action and Resilience Plan. Using learnings from that process, they have developed a guide to support other neighbourhood house networks to go though a similar process of identifying priorities and opportunities to collaborate to build sustainable and resilient houses and local communities.
Find out more HERE, or download the supporting documents via the links below:
Preparing for an emergency
There are many resources out there to help individuals and households prepare for an emergency situation. We may not know what the type or scale of an emergency or disruption may be, but there are things we can all do to help mitigate the impact of emergencies (such as heatwaves, flood, storms, fire and power outages).
- Emergency Preparedness Website – developed by a collaboration of federal, state and local government departments, including emergency service providers, this site provides clear guidance on how to prepare, includes interactive features and it available in over 100 languages. Perfect to use with an EAL class!
- Vic Emergency App – Victoria’s combined source of emergency information and warnings, helping the community to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies across the state. Very useful app for anyone living in or travelling through Victoria.
- Red Cross resources – many toolkits, guides, templates and factsheets prepared for families, communities, teachers and carers.
Other useful links and ideas to help your organisation and community prepare for disruptions and emergencies:
- Invite The Water Well Project to deliver an interactive session in your community. TWWP partners with community groups to facilitate tailored health sessions to people from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. The free and interactive sessions are delivered by volunteer healthcare professionals. You can also access and share their great Climate and Health Resilience Resource Report.
- Follow the Climate-Ready Communities: A Guide to getting started, to support your neighbourhood to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The document guides you though a four-stage process and includes information, worksheets and activity guides.
- Host a ‘Disasterous’ Dinner event – follow this guide to host a dinner party to ensure your friends and family are the most prepared you can be should a disaster situation strike.
- Support community members to create an emergency kit – essentials to grab if power goes out or evacuation is necessary. Here are some resources to support this activity:
Dealing with extreme heat
Climate change means longer, hotter summers in Australia. Heatwaves cause more deaths than any other extreme weather event combined, including bushfires, floods and cyclones. It is important for community members to understand the health impacts of extreme heat, and how we can plan to minimise the negative impacts of heatwaves on our health and wellbeing. Check out the links below for information about heat-related health problems and useful tips for staying cool as temperatures continue to rise.
- Better Health Channel – Extreme Heat
- Survive the heat – social media campaign toolkit
- Health Translations – Beat the heat booklet in multiple languages other than English
- Victorian Department of Health – Heat health planning guide for health and community services
Research and Reports
The following research and reports may support your funding applications for projects addressing climate resilience and climate justice.
- Feeling The Heat VCOSS (May 2021)
- First Nations Climate Justice: Written summary of the online public panel, Climate Council & Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (June 2021)
- Mobilising Climate Just and Resilient Communities in Melbourne’s West: Collaborative Action Plan, Jesuit Social Services’ Centre for Just Places (Nov 2022)
- Greater Melbourne Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
- Heatwave Disaster Scenario Event: Report, Greater Melbourne Heat Alliance (Nov 2023)
- Sweltering Cities Extreme Heat Presentation to the VCOSS Climate Network (Dec 2023)