National Science Week 2019: Explore Waste Reduction & Other Sustainability Issues At These Events

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National Science Week is from the 10th until the 18th of August and throughout the week and the rest of August, numerous free science-celebrating events and exhibitions are being held, including ones covering the topics of waste, sustainability, and climate change. We list the best of these in all six states.

There are heaps of incredible happenings over August for National Science Week, Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology, which “provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge” and “aims to encourage an interest in science pursuits among the general public and to encourage younger people to be fascinated by the world we live in”. And we're happy to see that a fair few are focused on waste reduction, the climate crisis, and other environmental and sustainability topics.

You'll find our top picks of these below! 99% of them are free! You can find the entire program, which features over 2 000 seriously interesting events, here.

VIC

Disposable

This exhibition at Science Gallery Melbourne aims to find creative solutions to our throwaway culture. It includes installations, exhibits and events at sites throughout Melbourne, including The University of Melbourne, Testing Grounds and Footscray Community Arts Centre. These include:

  • Trash Robot (28 Jul -  1 Sept) - a rubbish collecting robot will be trawling Melbourne's Yarra River's banks!

  • Plastivore (1 Aug -  18 Aug) - watch mealworms dine on polystyrene! Although non-biodegradable, polystyrene is partially biodegraded by mealworms' gut bacteria, breaking down the plastic and turning it into compost, presenting an interesting possible solution to our waste pollution problems.

  • Urinotron (1 Aug -  18 Aug) - Urinotron transforms urine into a power source for mobile phones, before recycling it back into pure water.

  • P@tch (1 Aug -  18 Aug) - a tracking device that uses self-reporting and environmental sensors to track personal and surrounding pollution.

  • The Sewer Soaperie (5 Aug -  18 Aug) - luxury soaps made from raw sewage and fat!

melbourne.sciencegallery.com/seasons/disposable
1 Aug - 1 Sept
Various locations
Free entry

The Future of Plastic

Panellists from a variety of backgrounds will discuss the long-term environmental impacts of plastic, potential solutions to the plastic waste problem, new and emerging plastics and applications, and health risks from plastics.
www.scienceweek.net.au/the-future-of-plastic/
13 Aug
Parkville
Free

Science in the Park

A day of science at the Coolart Wetlands and Homestead Reserve! There'll be science presentations, eco-tours, science displays and hands-on activities, and wildlife monitoring, with activities catering for all ages. And you can learn how to reduce your waste further by chatting to zero wasters at Zero Waste Victoria's stand.
www.scienceweek.net.au/science-in-the-park/
11 Aug
Somers
Free

Sustainable Shopping Workshop

Learn how to be a more sustainable shopper and how to reduce your waste when shopping and you'll be shown how to make a no sew produce bag.
www.scienceweek.net.au/sustainable-shopping-workshop/
14 Aug
Hastings
Free

2040 Movie Screening

If you haven't seen 2040 yet, we highly recommend seeing it. At this free community screening of the inspiring film, there will also be eco-living stalls and information on local initiatives, as well as refreshments and food available.
www.scienceweek.net.au/2040-community-movie-screening/
16 Aug
Oxley
Free

Cleaning Products Workshop

Make your own cleaning product at this workshop, at which you will also learn about alternative cleaning products, how to use resources from your garden, and how to reduce your waste.
www.scienceweek.net.au/cleaning-products-workshop/
17 Aug
Rosebud
Free

Are You Taking The Piss

Panellists look at the barriers preventing our transformation towards real sustainability and explore innovative solutions to our over consumption of everything.
www.scienceweek.net.au/are-you-taking-the-piss/
28 August
Parkville
Free

Walrus of Peace

Walrus of Peace investigates a non-toxic, environmentally friendly, recyclable, alternative set of materials for temporary street art installations.
www.scienceweek.net.au/walrus-of-peace/
19 Sept - 10 Oct
Bendigo
Free

Hugh Williamson Lecture: Michael Pinsky

A deep dive into our culture of overconsumption. Artist Michael Pinsky, who reuses, recycles and adapts to create installations using local materials, knowledge and labour, will talk about his journey as an artist and activist, how art can play a critical role in changing people’s lives and challenge the capitalist narrative.
www.scienceweek.net.au/hugh-williamson-lecture-michael-pinsky/
20 Aug
Southbank
Free

SA

Waite in the Spotlight Food and Wine in a Changing Climate

Waite research “covers the whole paddock-to-plate value chain – from the soil our crops grow in, to breeding new heat and drought tolerant plant varieties, better farming and management systems, new production technologies and consumer behaviour and preferences”. At this event, Waite scientists will discuss the impacts of a changing climate on the food we eat and wine we drink and how their research is helping to ensure these industries can adapt.
www.scienceweek.net.au/waite-in-the-spotlight-food-and-wine-in-a-changing-climate/
20 Aug
Urrbrae
Free

Our Climate Trends & Drivers

Learn about our complex climate system from experts including Darren Ray, resident climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, and Jochen Kaempf, associate professor of oceanography at Flinders University. After the talk there will be an extended question and answer session on the science of climate variability and climate change with the two speakers and climatologist, Beth Walton and state manager, John Nairn.
www.scienceweek.net.au/our-climate-trends-and-drivers/
20 Aug
Adelaide
Free

Foraging to Sciencing: Protecting Our Fabulous Fungi

With a growing fascination with foraging for fungi in the Adelaide Hills, this event aims to build a better understanding of this particular foraging landscape and to better protect the area’s wild native fungi and the forests and woodlands that depend on them.
www.scienceweek.net.au/foraging-to-sciencing-protecting-our-fabulous-fungi/
15 Aug
Stirling
Free

Inventing Tomorrow Film Festival

Watch six young scientists from around the globe tackle the complex environmental issues facing humanity today in this documentary, which set out to “immerse the audience in a global view of the planetary crisis through the eyes of the generation that will be affected by it most”.
www.scienceweek.net.au/inventing-tomorrow-film-festival-2/
14 Aug
Blyth
Free

 

ACT

AMOS: Living With Climate Change

The panel headed by Dr Kate Auty, the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, will look at how can we adapt to live in a warmer world, what can we do to prepare ourselves for climate changes, and what impacts these changes will have on a local, regional, and global scale.
www.scienceweek.net.au/amos-living-with-climate-change/
18 Aug
Acton
Free

Inventing Tomorrow Movie Night

Watch six young scientists from around the globe tackle the complex environmental issues facing humanity today in this documentary, which set out to “immerse the audience in a global view of the planetary crisis through the eyes of the generation that will be affected by it most”.
https://www.scienceweek.net.au/inventing-tomorrow-movie-night/
11 Aug
Canberra
$5

 

WA

Make Beeswax Wraps

Learn how to make beeswax wraps at this workshop!
www.scienceweek.net.au/make-beeswax-wraps/
10 Aug
Melville
Free

A Community Verge Garden Visit

Visit a street side verge garden and adopted open space/parkland and find out how a resident adopted the verge and how it inspired the incremental adoption of a streetscape.
www.scienceweek.net.au/a-community-verge-garden-visit/
10 Aug
Maylands
Free

Future Climate & Food In Western Australia

Find out how the climate has already changed in Western Australia and learn what the future predictions are, including how food production, availability and quality will be affected and how food producers and consumers will need to adapt.
www.scienceweek.net.au/future-climate-and-food-in-western-australia/
12 Aug
Gosnells
Free

Make a Bee Hotel

Learn how to make a little bee habitat for your garden at this workshop.
www.scienceweek.net.au/make-a-bee-hotel/
18 Aug
Melville
Free

 

NSW

Fermentation Trivia Night

Trivia combined with sampling and learning about yeasts, bacteria, and fungi.
www.scienceweek.net.au/fermentation-trivia-night/
15 Aug
Dungog
Free

State Of Our Oceans

An epic lineup of speakers including oceanographer, Dr Sylvia Earle, president of Science and Technology Australia, and UNSW dean of science professor, Emma Johnston AO, and multi-award-winning international nature photographer, Michael Aw will share current scientific research and observations on what is actually happening to our oceans, what can be expected in the future, and what can be done about it.
www.scienceweek.net.au/state-of-our-oceans/
13 Aug
Sydney
$75

Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture

Listen to a lecture on what climate change means for Australia’s coasts and oceans by director of the Centre for Marine Socioecology at the University of Tasmania, Gretta Pecl.
www.scienceweek.net.au/allan-sefton-memorial-lecture/
16 Aug
Keiraville
Free

 

NT

Craig Reucassel’s War On Waste

War On Waste’s Craig Reucassel is the keynote speaker at this year’s desertSMART EcoFair.
www.scienceweek.net.au/craig-reucassels-war-on-waste/
10 Aug
Alice Springs
$20

Ecohub At The Todd Mall Markets

Sustainable living stalls and kids activities at the Todd Mall Markets.
www.scienceweek.net.au/ecohub-at-the-todd-mall-markets/
11 Aug
Alice Springs
Free

Growing Healthy Gardens

This event’s program includes a growing healthy gardens workshop by Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis, the opening of a community garden kitchen, and music by the Zucchini Clan.
www.scienceweek.net.au/growing-healthy-gardens/
11 Aug
Alice Springs
$20

 

TAS

Curious Climate Tasmania: East Coast TAS

A team of scientists and researchers from a range of disciplines answer climate change questions from the Tasmanian public.
www.scienceweek.net.au/curious-climate-tasmania-east-coast-tas/
7 Aug
St Helens
Free

Plastics In The Ocean: Finding Solutions By Linking Science & Community

Local experts explain how marine plastics are transported around the world, what their impact on marine life is, and how the community can help reduce the amount of plastics entering the oceans.
www.scienceweek.net.au/plastics-in-the-ocean-finding-solutions-by-linking-science-and-community/
13 Aug
Sandy Bay
Free

Plastic On Remote Islands

A talk by research scientist from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Dr Jennifer Lavers on the problem of marine plastics, which will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.
www.scienceweek.net.au/plastic-on-remote-islands/
16 Aug
Launceston
Free

Reshape The World: Young People Saving The Planet

Hear from young Tasmanians tackling environmental issues, find out about ground-breaking research being undertaken to help protect our planet, learn about study and career opportunities that can help you re-shape the future, and discover current projects that you could be a part of today.
www.scienceweek.net.au/reshape-the-world-young-people-saving-the-planet/
18 Aug
Sandy Bay
Free

Vicky EllmoreComment