The race between education and catastrophe: creating climate-sensitive cities

Davis, Donnell R. (2019) The race between education and catastrophe: creating climate-sensitive cities. Doctorate (other than PhD) thesis, University of Southern Queensland. (Unpublished)

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‘History is a race between education and catastrophe’ (Gurría, 2013). This is the essence of the climate-change dilemma in human settlements today. How can cities act effectively to live with climate change?

After a century, the world is bracing for a perfect storm with burgeoning populations drifting to the cities, resulting in anthropogenic greenhouse gases multiplying exponentially. Rapid urban development breaks down natural systems that sequester greenhouse gases, making cities unhealthy, unbalanced, and undesirable (Blakely & Carbonell, 2012). It is reported that ‘more people are killed from poor urban design and climate-change than terrorism’ (Birkeland, 2008), which is an immense ethical problem.

My focus is on creating resilient Climate-Sensitive-Cities®. This approach to tackling the urgency of climate change in cities is five-fold:

1. It audits vulnerability and coping capacity.
2. It addresses audit gaps by investing in accelerated learning for professions and communities to build capacity for resilience.
3. It appreciates that every individual can make a unique contribution to interdisciplinary capacity-building for addressing climate education through their own organisations and regions.
4. It realises that accelerated learning for the long-term investment in individuals within organisations includes collaborative coaching and partnering.
5. It recognises that optimism for a preferred future can be achieved in a world full of perverse incentives.

Although there are many perspectives and prescribed actions from each discipline, my approach is founded on meta-scanning, with principle-based options that emerge from broad lessons from international and local successes. The crucial part of my work is to convert research into desirable actions in a way that demonstrates learning for better climate governance. The results of my endeavours include influence of policy and practices in fourteen countries and through professional bodies across disciplines. My contribution to transformational guidelines for international climate action transparency is recognised widely.

This thesis comprises an exploration of philosophies, revisiting values, seeking answers to four research questions, a new lens with three perspectives, and project design to ensure higher fidelity with my statement of intent. My Doctorate establishes a framework that enables individuals to lead the way in climate-change practices. I intend to be a living example of such frameworks.

The thesis concludes with new definitions for Climate-Sensitive-Cities® and Accelerated Learning. It also overlays triple loop policy development with the Climate Policy in Practice Cycle® as a means for funding and evaluating action. Finally, a manual for Master Classes delivered across fourteen countries works with a transformational change trajectory that articulates the journey from passive bystanding, to advocacy, to tipping points, to coping with success.

Independent evaluations accelerate the uptake of these skills in governments, communities, professions, and most importantly, individuals. We need to learn, question old thinking, and relearn in order to adapt and live with the many facets of climate-change. Based on this rationale, I have structured my Doctorate to advance a deeper understanding of the technical, intellectual, and interpersonal skills required of an effective Sustainability Commissioner.

Alvin Toffler stated ‘the illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn’ (ISLS, 2013). This is how we win the race of education over catastrophe.

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Item Type: Thesis (Non-Research) (Doctorate (other than PhD))
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Supervisors: Peach, Neil; Clarke, Ralph (decd)
Qualification: Doctorate of Professional Studies (DPST)
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2019 05:53
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2023 04:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: participatory action research; learning for climate governance; interdisciplinary innovation; urban governance; climate justice; ethical decision frameworks; climate sensitive cities
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes

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