BIG WEATHER (and how to survive it)
is a three-part documentary series and engagement project presented by ABC’s Craig Reucassel, exploring the devastating effects of extreme weather on Australia, and the practical, life-saving ways its communities can empower themselves
to prepare, survive and recover.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
In Australia, we face a particular set of challenges. While ‘big weather’ has always been a part of our nation’s story, it’s now more unpredictable and intense than ever before due to the ongoing effects of climate change. And, as our population grows, so do the stakes.
As communities across the nation prepare, respond and recover from these catastrophic events, Big Weather (and how to survive it) looks at the urgent issues that these events present and looks to find necessary and practical pathways to adapt to the changing climate in a land of extremes.
• How have extreme weather events shaped our nation’s story?
• Why are these events becoming less predictable and more intense?
• What can ordinary Australians, their communities, businesses and governments do to adapt, survive and thrive into the future?
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
In Australia the issue of climate change has too often been reduced to ideological debates or questions of belief, ignoring decades of scientific research in order to plan for a future with more unpredictable and severe weather events.
The aim of Big Weather (and how to survive it) is to focus on practical solutions to prepare, assist and recover from the devastation caused by extreme weather events and find out what we need to do to mitigate, change and adapt to these new conditions.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
• Bringing people together - create community networks across the nation that inform, educate and enable people to work alongside and support each other through extreme weather events.
• Empower leadership to recognise and declare “a climate and ecological emergency” so they can enact measures to combat the causes and effects of extreme weather events.
• Identify the barriers to positive change and illuminate those who are in action and moving forward.
• Reframe the conversation around climate change to one that involves practical and pragmatic steps to action and adaptation.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
• Presenter-driven experience & community engagement projects including ‘citizen scientist’ experiments and data collection.
• An introduction to the climate science of weather events followed by historical evidence of Australia’s vulnerability.
• Stories of survival and tragedy shared by ordinary Australians.
• Stories of resilience and rebuilding within communities.
• Expert analysis and unprecedented access to the men and women at the frontline of the emergency services sector.
• An on-the-ground team of experts and SES workers, educating communities for extreme weather via re-enactments, simulated rescues and the sharing of survival tactics, from practical tips to the unexpected, life-saving actions that only an expert would know.
• Repeated reminders for viewers to engage with ABC online resources and the #readytogether campaign throughout each episode.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
We are working collaboratively with the ABC, emergency services organisations from all States and Territories across the nation, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Red Cross. These organisations are providing unprecedented access to observe and film the process of preparing, responding and recovering from extreme weather events from inside those professional and volunteer organisations dealing with areas and communities directly impacted by effects of such events. This enables us to experience those who are most affected and the challenges their communities face when dealing with such devastating events.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
• Kick off a national conversation about disaster preparedness in Australia under the banner of “#ReadyTogether”
• Working in partnership with internal
and external key stakeholders engage communities in connected activities to become #ReadyTogether disaster prepared (e.g.: community action tool kits, street parties, apps)
• Engage school students in
conversation and projects around disaster preparedness through a mass citizen science project.
• Support the standardisation of disaster warning systems across Australian states and territories
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
Ultimately, our aim is to move individuals, communities, businesses and governments further towards meaningful action in planning to mitigate the effects of climate and ecological collapse.
Our partners the Australian Red Cross and the ABC will measure the far reaching effects and behavioural change as a result of the series and impact campaign.