Tony McMichael died on 26 September
All of us in the Frank Fenner Foundation (FFF) have lost a very good friend. We will sadly miss his wisdom, dedication, and good humour. We so much appreciated all the time and effort he put into FFF matters, bearing in mind his numerous other commitments − locally, nationally and internationally.
Our thoughts go out especially to Judith and their two daughters, Anna and Celia, at this time.
Much has been, and will be, written about Tony’s outstanding contributions to the health sciences and to humanity over the past four decades. [more]
2012 PNAS profile of Tony
The Victorian Women's Trust Monster Climate Petition
We were inspired by what Victorian colonial women did in 1891 to press their claim for voting rights (in what became known as ‘The Monster Petition’). We asked ourselves – could we provide a mechanism for a huge numbers of Australian women, men and children to give voice to their concern about the almost total lack of national leadership on securing a safe climate?
We can and we have! It is called the Monster Climate Petition and you can view everything to do with the Petition right here: www.monsterclimatepetition.com.au
The Petition to our House of Representatives must contain pen and ink original signatures on paper. The website provides the Petition for downloading. Our lead petitioner is Dr Fiona Stanley AC.
China's coal use for electricity to peak by 2015: Ross Garnaut
China's new model of economic growth, together with increased energy efficiency and growth in low-carbon electricity sources, indicate that China's use of coal for electricity generation could peak as soon as next year. Ross Garnaut made this suggestion in a lecture to the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne on 25 August, and projected a decline in coal use for power production until 2020, with a corresponding reduction in emissions. See the report on The Conversation website, which contains a link to Ross Garnaut's lecture China’s energy transition: effects on global climate and sustainable development.
What role can street art play in a biosensitive society?
Traditionally, graffiti has been used to spread social messages, offering visibility to communities that would otherwise not be seen or heard. Street artists challenge 'Art' by using non-art contexts to question the existing environment. Both graffiti and street art are subversive, ephemeral and opportunistic.
But how do we see the works hosted on this website, with their playful humour and powerfully imaginative use of random elements in the landscape? Also have a look at these works. What is the significance of such art in current society? Can such works have a place in a biosensitive society?
Multiplying by two – the problem with growth
Economists and politicians are always comparing growth – the growth of the population or the growth of the economy. They often call for growth to be increased. If they had the slightest idea of what they were talking about they would not do any such thing. To see why, you only have to understand what happens when you multiply by two.
Here is a simple example. Imagine a pond with water lilies growing on it. Starting from a few leaves, think about what would happen as the plant doubled in size.
Growth or Steady State
We live on a finite planet. When primates evolved they were no more important than the many other species which shared the earth with them. But our branch of the primate line developed a particularly big brain and displayed traits that made a significant difference. It made tools and also developed the ability to kindle fires. As a result humans have come to dominate the whole earth and are now in the position of the mythological gods – we have the power to destroy life on earth.
Species losses: Not a mere scorecard, but the unravelling of Life
A crisis of species loss is building up around the world [http://theconversation.com/plundered-for-their-unique-body-parts-sawfish-are-on-the-brink-27743 ].
Biodiversity is under increasing pressure. What does this signify; what does it foreshadow?
Book review: Poisoned Planet by Julian Cribb
Review author: Tony McMichael, Emeritus Professor, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU
The World Health Organization estimates that one in every 12 deaths worldwide is due to chemical exposure, sometimes acute but mostly chronic. This eclipses the annual death tolls from malaria, car crashes and HIV/AIDS.
Read more on The Conversation
Biosensitivity: what is different about it?
On World Environment Day back in 1991 Stephen Boyden gave a talk at Questacon. That talk so impressed some members of the audience that they got together afterwards – and that was the origin of the Nature and Society Forum.
What made this talk so different from your usual environmental lecture was that Stephen talked about what we humans actually need to live a satisfactory life.
Commentary on 2014 Federal Budget
The Foundation's vision of 'Healthy People on a Healthy Planet' does not refer to two separate outcomes, two separate agendas. The two are inextricably linked. The health of both people and planet are at risk from the Abbott Government's ideology-driven budget. [more]