Climate Change & Sustainability Program

Current Projects


Low Carbon Living is a nationwide program which supports households, businesses and communities to reduce their carbon footprint.

The program developed from a partnership with the Low Carbon Living Cooperative Research Centre at the University of New South Wale and was first piloted in the Blue Mountains in 2016, where it proved to be a runaway success, with over 80 businesses signing onto the program in the first two years.

In response to this, the program launched nationally early in 2017, and since then it has expanded into the Southern Highlands region, with other regions, such as Port Douglas in Northern Queensland, set to take up the program in the future.


In 2018, the Institute commenced a Citizen Science Eco-Monitoring project that aims to monitor the presence and movement of flora and fauna and provide long-term records of changes that may reflect influences such as climate change and human impacts.

The first monitoring sites to be established are along the urban-bushland interface of the upper Blue Mountains and to 2019 these sites are at Scenic World (Katoomba), the Fairfax track behind Govetts Leap Lookout in Blackheath, and near the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls.

A volunteer citizen scientist records data near the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls.

A volunteer citizen scientist records data near the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls.

Since the initial pilot phase that engaged the enthusiastic staff at Scenic World, an expanding team of volunteers has participated in the establishment of the next two data collection points on the Fairfax Track in Blackheath and near the Conservation Hut at Wentworth Falls. Further sites in the lower mountains are being assessed for suitability in the coming years.

The Institute is grateful for the monitoring expertise of Dr Ricky Spencer and his students from Western Sydney University who help with data interpretation and analysis. The data collected provides invaluable insights into the often subtle changes taking place in the bushland around us.  

If you’d like to be part of the Institute’s Citizen Science Climate Change Eco-Monitoring project, please contact Dr John Merson at or Paul Vale at


2018. Guerroro, Patrice. Citizen Science: combating the extinction of experience through ecological monitoring. Research internship, Master of Environmental Management, UNSW Sydney. (Report available on request)

2009. Gold, Alex. Potential lantana invasion of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area under climate change. Masters research project, UNSW Sydney. (Report available on request)

2009. The Impact of Climate Change on Australian Tourism: developing adaptation and response strategies. Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism. Download report.

2007. Chapple, R. NSW Nature Conservation Council Annual Conference May 2007 – “Bushfire in a Heating World.Conference Paper.

2006. Impact of climate change on World Heritage sites, Expert meeting at UNESCO, Paris, March 2006 – “The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area”.

2005. BMWHI & NSW Nature Conservation Council - Fire & Climate Change Workshop.