Crawford graduate's pandemic pivot: mastering climate change for a sustainable future

Photo: Andrew Dunlop Andrew Dunlop
21 July 2023

Andrew Dunlop credits the COVID-19 pandemic with his start at the Crawford School of Public Policy. He said that while temporarily out of work, he took the opportunity to follow his interest in the environment and climate change and begin postgraduate study, initially taking up a Grad Cert online from Melbourne. “Ironically, work then took me back, and I went from not working or studying to full time both for my first semester, so a bit of a change.”

He says of his time here at Crawford that it was equal parts challenging, rewarding and fun. A standout has been the quality and knowledge of the teaching staff: “The teaching staff throughout my degree have been very well credentialed and knowledgeable people, not simply academics but people who are, for example, at the coalface of international climate policy negotiations and development. It really feels like you are being taught by the best in the business.”

A memorable experience for Andrew was the two days he physically attended campus, once for a single tutorial, and then for his graduation. Meeting students and teaching staff in person was described as almost surreal after so many Zoom sessions. For anyone thinking about studying online at the Crawford School, Andrew describes the online experience as really well managed, and throughout his degree he’s been able to meet plenty of interesting peers and write about an array of interesting topics. “You have the opportunity to tailor your submitted work to your interests, and if you’re working in a relevant field and studying, you can also align some assessments to your work”, he says.

Andrew wants Australian and regional policy makers to think bottom-up, and not lose focus on what is happening at a local level, saying local policy drives global policy. “Global policy does not happen in isolation at the highest level – it needs to be informed by what already works, and this guidance will come from the bottom up.”

Seeing how the world reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic has also raised some climate questions for Andrew. “It intrigues me that humanity put in such an enormous effort to protect itself from COVID-19 because we sensed an immediate and tangible threat, but we just haven’t been able (so far) to unite like that to take climate action.”

“I would also stress that the Master of Climate Change is not just for public policymakers and, although climate change is unfortunately a growth industry and a lot of smart people will be needed, it does not just limit graduates to working in climate change.”

Andrew has also found a new, personal perspective when it comes to remaining hopeful about the future. “A huge motivation for me now is having a daughter who will grow up in a changing world. It really puts things in perspective if I start going down the slippery slope of the failings of humanity because I then remind myself that my daughter will inherit whatever we leave her, so I’d better be optimistic!”

As for what’s next, Andrew started a new job the Monday after submitting his final assessment, so there’s no rest for him! He will however be enjoying having his evenings and weekends back to spend more time with his family.

From all of us here at Crawford: Congratulations Andrew!

This item was originally published by the Crawford School of Public Policy: ANU College of Asia & the Pacific.

Updated:  21 July 2023/Responsible Officer:  College of Science/Page Contact: