Integrating Real World Impacts to enact meta-Real World Impact

Climate change is increasingly having a direct impact on those in rural areas who rely on the climate for their income and livelihoods. Will high-polluting countries accept these peoples as climate change refugees? Kathryn Hardwick Franco, Doctor of Education Candidate Flinders University, shares her thoughts on how research on the impact of climate change on rural communities can be used to make real world changes.


Real World Impact, Climate Change, Rural School Principal 

My focus 
My research investigates the role of the rural school principal. Important to the work of these people is the health of country communities. This health, typically, relies on weather for the success of major industries because rural communities rely on income from primary industries including aquaculture and agriculture. These industries rely on climate. Climate Change matters to rural schools and in turn, rural school principals.

Rural matters
The OECD note [1]  that agriculture is a critical producer of rural assets, providing food, water, land and ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, landscape and renewable energy. Rural families manage food production and protect water sources. Climate Change matters to rural families. Climate Change matters to all of us – we all need rural families managing our water and food security.

What is Climate Change?
The ordinary person on the street has a sense Climate Change is important – it features in media every day. It is a powerful notion. It is a concept that, globally, determines who is voted in to positions of leadership. I call upon people to share their Climate Change knowledge in ways that have Real World Impact on the ordinary person. Ordinary people could then think, behave and even vote in ways that work towards addressing Climate Change. When the ordinary person has real knowledge they are empowered to make decisions about Climate Change that are not related to popular media claims or the views of pseudo-celebrities. 

Beautiful Kiribati [5]

We know
- Carbon emissions and burning fossil fuels cause Climate Change. 
- The 2014 level of CO2 in the atmospheric was 43% above the level when the Industrial Revolution started in 1750. [2]
- 2017 was the hottest year on record. [3] 
- Peoples of nations like Kiribati [4] are nearing extinction due to Climate Change impacting on their water supply.
Mr Sanjeev Gupta [8]

Some of the world is reacting positively to Climate Change. 
- China is becoming a global leader of renewable technology. [6] 
- The new owner of Whyalla steel, Sanjeev Gupta, believes his financial future is more secure if he invests in creating his own renewable energy. [7]

Consider this
The World Bank [9] lists the CO2 emissions in metric tons per capita. So we can all see which countries are the big (and small) emitters of CO2. 

What does the future hold?
“Are high polluting countries that cause climate change committing genocide of the cultures living in low lying parts of the planet? Will high polluting countries accept these peoples as climate change refugees? because they now have no fresh water! [10]

In future, I wonder, will climate refugees take legal action against countries who 
- Continue to preference fossil fuels over renewables
- Have little to no regard for Climate Change science
- Refuse to welcome Climate Change refugees
- Do not enact policy to counter Climate Change?

Real World Impact 
The vision I have for my Real World Impact, is that my research about what it is like to be a rural school principal is taken up by governments, employers, universities and training provides. I believe my research will empower rural school principals and training providers to co-create content and andragogy of professional development (PD). For me, Real World Impact means challenging metro-centric systems to ensure PD for rural school principals is differentiated to meet the specific needs of rural contexts.

But the success of rural schools, rural communities, the rural school principal relies on income from rural and primary industries that rely on addressing Climate Change.

To enact my vision and make my Real World Impact, in my niche research area, I need others to

make their Real World Impact. I suggest we work together and link our Real World Impact in order to enact meta-Real World Impact. 

If we do not all commit to meta-Real World Impact, it may be the weakest and most vulnerable peoples that do the heavy lifting, perhaps through international legal action, to ensure Climate Change is addressed and the future of their people is secure. 



Kathryn Hardwick-Franco is currently a full-time Doctor of Education Candidate (Leadership and Management) and scholarship holder with Flinders University. She is passionate about rural education and the need to support country school principals. She takes the importance of the Real World Impact of her research seriously. Kathryn challenges researchers to work hard not only to enact Real World Impact through communicating their research to the world, but more importantly, that we link together to enact meta-Real World Impact.  

You are welcome to contact Kathryn by email, Kathryn.hardwickfranco@flinders.edu.au through her website https://kathrynhardwickfra.wixsite.com/mysite and via Twitter @KHardwickFranco.



[1] OECD. (2014). Innovation and Modernising the Rural Economy. Paris: OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264205390-en
[2] https://www.co2.earth/global-co2-emissions, accessed 10th January 2018.
[4] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35024046, accessed 10th January 2018.
[5] http://www.climate.gov.ki/, accessed 11th January 2018.
[9] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?year_high_desc=false, accessed 11th January 2018.
[10] @KHardwickFranco 11 December 2017 Twitter

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