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Global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It's our reality.
-- Bill McKibben

Upcoming Events
Paul Tranter Member Talk May 05, 2016 05:30 PM - 06:45 PM — Fenner Seminar Room Building 141 Linnaeus Way ANU
World Environment Day dinner Jun 04, 2016 07:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Upcoming events…

Welcome to the Frank Fenner Foundation

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    Get involved in CSIRO's climate change research


    The CSIRO is conducting research into grassroots adaption actions taken by members of the community in response to climate change.


    Take part in their research by clicking here!

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    Is the Paris Agreement better than no agreement at all?

    It has now been about three months since the Paris Agreement – the main outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or 'Paris CoP21'.

    Current climate change agreements negotiated under the UNFCCC expire in 2020 so the Paris CoP was a critical juncture in reaching agreement on post-2020 commitments. The outcomes of Paris CoP21 are contained in a document called 'Adoption of the Paris Agreement', which details 150 decisions that relate to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, while the Agreement itself is attached as an Annex. The Agreement comprises a Preamble of 16 contextual principles and statements along with 29 Articles containing between one and nineteen clauses.

  • Does Tuvalu have a future after Paris?slider sea

    Dr Ian Fry, international environmental law and policy expert, based at the Fenner School for Environment and Society, ANU, gave a fascinating insight to the complexity of the climate change negotiations at the recent Paris Agreement meeting. Dr Fry is the Ambassador for climate change and environment for the government of Tuvalu and has represented Tuvalu at the various international climate negotiations for more than 16 years. Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable nations on earth to the impacts of climate change, no part of the country being above 4 metres high  (and that is a rubble pile generated by a cyclone), and extremely susceptible  to the increased frequency and intensity of storm surges, cyclones and coral bleaching  expected in a climate changing world. His talk analysed the agreement from the perspective of its impact on small island developing states, and highlighted the challenges in getting anything quantifiable given the huge number of trade-offs  demanded.  Nevertheless he notes a small feeling of positivity from the Meeting – a feeling that the mood and attitude toward is shifting.

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    Human Futures Survey

    The Frank Fenner Foundation (FFF) invites you to participate in a Human Futures Survey. This survey is a product of the Foundation’s Biosensitive Futures Program.

    The Frank Fenner Foundation is a not-for profit organisation based on appreciation that our society today is not ecologically sustainable and that the survival of civilisation will require some major changes-in the scale and nature of human activities on Earth. It aims to contribute to necessary social change by promoting understanding of the human place in nature and by sponsoring informed dialogue on social changes necessary to achieve a society that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the life processes which underpin our existence.

    Please read the The Bionarrative, The Story of Life and the Future and Civilisation, and Tenets and then complete the survey by clicking here.

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    Urgent Appeal

    We have made a lot of progress with spreading the word about biosensitivity and have a number of strong initiatives for which we are seeking major philanthropic funding, we have reached a critical point in being able to keep moving forward. And, while the Board feels that we now have sufficient momentum behind some of our projects to secure substantial grant funding this year, we are likely to run out of funds to pay our hard working and dedicated (part-time) staff before we can achieve this. It would be tragic if after all our collective hard work we loose momentum through lack of funds.

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    ACT State of the Environment Report: Biodiversity Findings

    The 2015 ACT State of the Environment report was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly in mid-February.  The report details a number of issues of concern for the Frank Fenner Foundation in ensuring a biosensitive environment in the ACT.

    The Report notes that  “progress in conservation of biodiversity, including both habitats and species, remains a challenge. In addition, pressures leading to habitat loss and modification threaten the ACT’s biodiversity” (Section 7).   Further it is reported “For vulnerable species, notable trends during the reporting period (2011—2015) include a decline in Brown Treecreeper, Glossy Black Cockatoo and Scarlet Robin recordings … For endangered species, notable trends during the recording period include a decline in Regent Honeyeater, Grassland Earless Dragon and Northern Corroboree Frog recordings.”

  • Grassland Conservation Strategy

    Management of the ACT’s natural areas is guided by strategies and action plans  that are occasionally updated and revised.

    There is currently a draft revision to the Grassland Conservation Strategy (originally published 2005) under consideration.

    The earlier Strategy was aimed at identification and protection whereas the revised Strategy has a stronger emphasis on management and restoration of grassland sites for long-term conservation and expands the scope of grasslands, updates information and reorganises chapters.


    The draft Grassland Strategy is scheduled for six weeks of public consultation in March. The Conservation Council of ACT and Region  will coordinate a  briefing during this period.  If you are interested in learning more  about these briefings, please contact CCACTR at or in putting forward a submission, please contact  the Environment Directorate at


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    The ethical city: an idea whose time has come

    The Conversation, January 27, 2016

    Globally, there is intense discussion about the future of urban life through the World Urban Campaign. The central proposition is that:

    … the battle for a more sustainable future will be won or lost in cities.

    (read more)

  • Integrated Nature Conservation Agency to emerge from ACT Cabinet reshuffle

    The Chief Minister of the ACT government  has signalled the establishment  of an integrated nature conservation agency with his recent reshuffle of cabinet and new allocation of Ministerial responsibilities.  His media release announced that “Minister Gentleman will [also] lead the work to create a single ACT conservation agency that will work toward better integration of biodiversity management. This is an item of the Parliamentary Agreement for the 8th Legislative Assembly. The arrangements for the new agency will be put in place over the next few months."  .

    Frank Fenner Foundation welcomes this opportunity to strengthen arrangements to bring together policy specialists in the environment directorate, Parks services and bushfire management.  We hope that it will also create opportunities for a more integrated biosensitive approach to planning decisions in the ACT.

  • slider fenner buildingThe Fenner Foundation is named after the late Professor Frank Fenner as a lasting memorial to his lifelong commitment to human health and the health of the natural environment. The Foundation's work is a logical next  step in continuing his vision for healthy people on a healthy planet.

    For more about this remarkable man:
    Dr Fred Murphy's tribute -
    Dr Ann Moyal's Preface to Fenner's autobiography  at]
    ABC News Tribute at

  • Member Survey

    slider mosiac seatsIn 2014, the Frank Fenner Foundation Membership Working Group undertook a survey of our members to seek your thoughts on  what is important for  our members about our activities and being part of FFF.  While we only received around 40 responses, we collated the answers and have used these thoughts in reviewing our activities and planning future projects.  Read a summary of the report produced from the survey.

    Lyn Goldsworthy AM

    Executive Officer


    slider lake v2Australian network for planetary health / a healthy planet – a discussion paper

    Peter Tait, Ecology and Environment SIG, Public Health Association of Australia


    This paper continues discussion of an idea to set up in Australia a network, alliance or coalition for Planetary Health / a Healthy Planet, comprising major health organisations. Its aim is to focus more broadly on addressing the environmental determinants of health rather than a limited focus on global warming and climate change. Read more.







    slider moss v2Brendan Mackey. Green vision for a brown country

    FFF Board member Brendan Mackey has written an opinion piece, where he talks about a vision and long term goal for biodiversity and nature conservation in Australia. Read more.

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    The impact of pharmaceutical waste on the environment

    by Helen Gayle

    The impact of the pharmaceutical industry, and particularly of the resultant waste, on the environment is such that it is having an increasing and devastating effect on our planet, and one that is for the main part left to go unabated.[more]



    by Helen Gayle

    The United Nations have negotiated the next set of sustainable development goals, and are setting targets for the post 2015 sustainable development agenda. Whilst it is important and understandable that many of these goals focus on solving the environmental problems that are being created by climate change and overconsumption, it is also important that global goals for public and individual health are set and maintained.[more]

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    Do we need carbon for transport?

    by Bryan Furnass, ANU Emeritus Faculty, 6 August 2014

    One largely unexplored energy solution
    for transport, and ultimately for base load power generation is to use nitrogen as a
    hydrogen carrier (i.e. anhydrous ammonia, NH3), which can be synthesised using clean
    renewable energy currency, atmospheric nitrogen and hydrolysis of water for hydrogen,
    with oxygen as a by-product.

    [more: download PDF]

For healthy people on a healthy planet
Call to Action - Canberra

Fossil Fuels

Why is public money still being invested in the fossil fuel industry? We know that the use of fossil fuels is contributing to climate change – and that scientists are telling us we must move away from using them. We know that climate change and pollution from the fossil fuel industry are damaging our ecosystems  - that we rely on for our own health and wellbeing - very rapidly. Very clever people have developed many other methods of producing clean energy – and these produce jobs and spin off into other innovative technologies as well.  So why is public money still going to the industry which is harming, rather than helping?

Frank Fenner Foundation as a member organisation of the Conservation Council ACT and Region, is joining their call to Canberra citizens to sign to petition to Simon Corbell, the Minister for Climate Change, requesting him to review the ACT Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010, to update the climate targets to reflect the pace necessary to reach zero emissions, as outlined by the Paris climate agreements and to stop the investment of public money into the fossil fuel industry.

Click here to sign

And if you want to do more, please send a quick email to the Chief Minister asking that it becomes a mandatory part of the approval process for any development or procedure to fully assess the impact on our emissions, climate and health of our ecosystems. Click here

From around the world

Food System Resilience

Long-time ecologist Gerry Marten, has recently published two special issues on food system resilience in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. He has made these available as manuscript versions for free access at the following link:

From around the world

The United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development: New York on 25-27 September.

The recent United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development, held in New York in late September committed to a new 2030 agenda for sustainable development.  This agenda encompasses 17 transformative sustainable development goals, aimed at wiping out poverty, fighting inequality, and Tackling  climate change over the next 15 years.

Read more

more from around the world