Coastal Graphics

Main Image

Graphic from Coast to Coast 2012 “Living on the Edge” Conference highlighting the issues, relationships and challenges of coastal planning and management. (Source: Graphic prepared by Michelle Walker from )

I was pleasantly surprised recently to receive some graphic outputs from Toni Cannard of CSIRO reminding me of what went on at the 2012 Coast to Coast conference. She said they were put together hastily for the Coast to Coast Facebook page.

The graphics were prepared by Michelle Walker (see above) and Eva Abal (see below). Separately they capture some of the key ideas that were fleshed out at this Brisbane conference. They excite me because they clearly show the range of matters that concern participants at these important national conferences. I am very grateful to Toni for reminding me of these diagrams as they are a clear way to express both the complexity and the fascination we coastal types have for managing coastal assets.

Let me focus on the diagram recorded by Michelle. I must confess that my name appears in the context of having nightmares (and dreams). I hope this will not lead to too much in the way of psychological analysis although I probably deserve it. No one should read anything into the fact that she placed my name in the top left corner! This position is “balanced” by the eminent names of champions on the right: Chris Rees, Geoff Withycombe, Alan Stokes and Eva Abal. To then pick up topics like the public trust, National Coastal legislation, a National Commission and an integrated approach for advising local councils highlighted the way that C2C 2012 focussed on some BIG issues.

Many other concerns are expressed in the graphic. Down the left side we see media problems, downskilling of the public service, the persistence of silos in coastal management and the vulnerability of local governments to development pressure. These remain as concerns and require continual discussion as we try to resolve our many coastal problems at national, state and local levels.

What I found most intriguing about this graphic was the list of issues that occur down the centre of the diagram. Look at them; how well are addressing them? They include:
· Commitment to the idea of stewardship
· Lifelong learning
· Link of federal EPBC Act and local government
· Interrelation of natural and social sciences
· Upskilling of public services with help from NEW guidelines; and
· Getting planners to move to a better balance in their assessment of development proposals away from just being in favour of jobs and $$$.

All these points raise difficulties for those involved in coastal planning and management. While those in pursuing science objectives can stand to one side in the world painted in these graphics, those at the so-called coal face cannot. They remain alive and well, and it is appropriate, I feel, to remind ourselves of where we stand on progressing the frontiers of coastal management in this country.

Dr. Eva Abal’s graphic from the Coast to Coast 2012 conference is below – coastal systems understanding underpins good decisions

Graphic from Coast to Coast 2012 “Living on the Edge” Conference highlighting the challenges of coastal planning and management. (Source: Graphic prepared by Dr Eva Abal with Michelle Walker)

Words by Prof Bruce Thom. Please respect Bruce Thom’s thoughts and reference where appropriately: (c) ACS, 2017, posted 3rd February 2017, for correspondence about this blog post please email