SRI2021 showcases Oceania's best in sustainability


SRI2021 saw a great cross-section of sustainability science, practice, and passion from the Oceania region connected with a global community. 

From 12-15 June, people across the world came together virtually and in-person in Brisbane to urge momentum and action on our most pressing sustainability issues. SRI2021 was the first global, transdisciplinary sustainability congress which created a unique space for people working across the sustainability landscape in different sectors, knowledge communities, geographies and career stages to come together. 

Welcome to Country
Welcome to Country by Ash and Aaron from Nunukul Yuggera.

The congress opened with a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by representatives of the Yuggera People, Traditional Owners of the land where Brisbane is found. A range of perspectives informed the congress opening and the flavour of the event. Sharan Burrow (International Trade Union Confederation), Dr Meg Parsons (University of Auckland) and Josh Gilbert (Woromi man and agriculturalist) drew attention to the need for us to incorporate a range of knowledge perspectives in framing the priority issues which are elevated in the sustainability agenda and the need for just transition to a fairer, greener world economy. 

Originally slated for mid-2020, the congress was postponed to 2021 to ensure that as many people could attend as possible. SRI2021 had 2009 total registrants, with the largest portion of registrants hailing from Australia. However, it was a truly international meeting with 100 countries represented among the attendees. It was also a place in which people at all stages of their career came together with even numbers of early, mid, and later career attendees and a good showing of students.

The program was comprised of over 100 formal sessions, 700+ speakers, over 20 project meetings, 20 social activities and 13 on-site activities, along with the associated Science and Sustainability Showcase public engagement day hosted by the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist which saw more than 3000 people pass through.

SRI Executive
SRI2021's Executive open the congress with Stan Grant as MC.

Along with leading the hosting consortium, FEA hosted their own sessions. We launched our Sustainable Oceans and Coasts Strategy with Dr Beth Fulton (CSIRO), Russell Reichelt (Great Barrier Reef Foundation) and Professor Martin Nakata (JCU). We facilitated a panel and workshop for early career people on achieving policy impact in sustainability, where a number of participants experienced their first capacity building opportunity. We hosted a panel on the importance of gender diverse leadership for enabling sustainability which attendees came to view as one of the most pressing issues for developing the sustainability community. We also collaborated with the Office for Indigenous Engagement at CSIRO to convene two special sessions on knowledge and best practice frameworks for centreing First People's approaches in sustainability. 

In the coming months we will also be developing the Brisbane Message Stick; an enduring artefact passed between SRI hosts to carry the most important actions for advancing sustainability practice. 

The Local Organising Committee members celebrating SRI2021
The Local Organising Committee members celebrating SRI2021.