This research program led by Dr Aisling Bailey aims to advance a range of environmental initiatives and technology in an equitable way as part of the broader effort to address climate change challenges faced by all societies.  

The effects of climate change are increasingly disrupting people’s health, wellbeing, livelihoods and development in an inequitable way. Societal initiatives and technological innovation within the multidisciplinary field of environmental advocacy and sustainability have the capacity to contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as to climate justice. 

Research within this area focuses upon identifying, developing and applying societal and technological transformations to make advancements towards an environmentally sustainable and equitable future.

Our research themes

  • Environmental social movements
  • Climate justice
  • Waste reduction
  • Sustainable behaviour
  • Environmental management  
  • Nature-based solutions 
  • Renewable energy  
  • Environmental technological innovation

Key researchers

Our projects

Project status: Current

This project aims to discover ways to increase the feasibility of ocean wave power machines by the dual objective of producing electricity and controlling the erosion of coastlines.

Ocean wave power is a huge potential source of electricity, and the ocean swell that carries this energy is predictable and regular. Despite this, it is not currently used at any commercial scale.

One reason for this is the upfront capital cost – ocean swell consists of waves of low frequency, and machines designed to extract energy from such waves must be very large and heavy which makes them expensive to construct and install.

However, any marine infrastructure is expensive, including breakwaters that are installed to control waves and any subsequent erosion arriving on the coast.

Ocean wave power machines can also be used for coastal protection. In extracting energy from waves, this energy is diverted from the coast, alleviating wave energy from penetrating harbours and marinas.

In this way, the economic question is not whether they can produce enough electricity to be profitable, but it is instead whether they can produce enough electricity to offset the total cost of installation to below that of the alternative, traditional breakwaters.

This ARC Linkage Project (LP180101109) is being conducted in conjunction with two industry partners (Moyne Shire Council and Mid West Ports Authority) to investigate protection from coastal erosion, as well as the protection of harbours and ports from disruptive waves.

Read more about this project

Project status: Completed

The aim of this project was to investigate community engagement in a feasibility study by C4NET into the implementation of microgrids in two regional Victorian towns, Donald and Tarnagulla.

We conducted interviews with community members and held round-table discussions with people involved in implementing other large, technology-based projects in regional communities.

We identified that a large barrier to community engagement was a lack of basic knowledge of the technology being discussed – there was not a shared “energy literacy” between the community and the groups looking to implement the technology.

We addressed this by producing an energy literacy toolkit. This was a series of videos including narration and animation that explained the fundamental terms and concepts involved in electricity generation and transmission, and how these translated to implementing a microgrid.

These videos are hosted on the website of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance. We extended this idea of using visual media for community engagement by running a two-day workshop at Tarnagulla Primary School where we aided students to produce their own explanatory videos on electricity and power generation.

We also produced a report outlining how our findings could be extended more generally to improving community engagement with technology project.

Watch: Q&A with filmmakers at the Australian Environments on Screen and MINA Film Commissions Launch. Held on 24 November 2023 at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI). Curated and Commissioned by Adjunct Professor Therese Davis and Associate Professor Max Schleser”

Our news and reports

Educational programs

Carbon literacy training

Swinburne hosts a dedicated carbon literacy team that offered Victoria's first-ever carbon literacy training (CLT) in 2021. Completing six rollouts in 2023, the training team – consisting of two accredited carbon literacy trainers – has produced 100 carbon literates who have pledged approximately 100 tonnes of carbon reduction.

This marked Swinburne's School of Business, Law and Entrepreneurship as an awarded carbon-literate organisation by the Carbon Literacy Project UK (a global organisation recognised by the UN at COP21 in Paris) where it was awarded as a TAP100 – one of 100 worldwide Transformative Action Programs.

Swinburne’s CLT team also contributes to the ABDC-PRME climate action working group. 

Carbon literacy teaches facts to facilitate action beyond knowing and includes emotional and behavioural enablers. Anyone who wants to learn more about the impact of their activities on the climate and how to reduce their emissions can receive this training. They include: 

  • individuals who want to make more sustainable choices in their personal lives
  • employees of businesses and organisations that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint
  • community leaders who want to help their communities transition to a more sustainable future
  • policymakers who want to develop and implement effective climate policies

To register your interest for our next carbon literacy training course, please email

Explore our other research programs

Register your interest

If you would like to be kept informed about our research and/or are interested in interdisciplinary collaboration (university, industry and community), email us at  

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