A record Australian heat wave, bushfire woes and the mounting
effects of global warming are likely to encourage more
Australians, including academics, to shift to Dunedin, Prof
Kath Dickinson believes.
Prof Dickinson heads the University of Otago botany
department and is co-convener of the Southern Connection
Congress, an international conference of natural science
researchers, which was held in Dunedin this week.
The five-day congress brought together more than 300
biologists and geologists from 35 countries. It focused on
''Southern Lands and Southern Oceans: Life on the Edge?''and
Prof Dickinson said Southern Connection participants had
responded very positively to the congress- which was being
held in New Zealand for only the second time - and to the
Dunedin conference venue.
About six researchers from Australia had also told her that
they had enjoyed visiting Dunedin and would consider
eventually shifting to the city, either to continue their
academic careers, or, at a later stage, to retire here, she
said in an interview.
Dunedin was an attractive, cooler city with an appealing
university campus of internationally high quality, she said.
She had previously worked in Darwin, where many houses had
been built on stilts and their design reflected every effort
to maximise the effect of cooling breezes.
She noted that Sydney temperatures had reached a record
45.3degC last week.
''Houses in Sydney and Melbourne haven't been designed for
that kind of temperature.''
Rising temperatures meant people in those cities were likely
to face huge energy bills to pay for extra air conditioning,
and, as global warming continued, residents might also have
to spend much more time indoors. In February 2009, on what
has become known as Black Saturday, 173 people were killed in
wildfires in the state of Victoria.