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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr.


Welcome to the Frank Fenner Foundation

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    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.

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    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?

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    Multiplying by two – the problem with growth

    Jenny Wanless

    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.

    read more

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    Growth or Steady State

    Jenny Wanless

    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.

    read more

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    Species losses: Not a mere scorecard, but the unravelling of Life

    Tony McMichael

    A crisis of species loss is building up around the world  [ ].

    Biodiversity is under increasing pressure. What does this signify; what does it foreshadow?

    Read more

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    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

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    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.

    read more

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    From public to planetary health: a manifesto

    Horton et al

    This manifesto for transforming public health calls for
    a social movement to support collective public health
    action at all levels of society—personal, community,
    national, regional, global, and planetary. Our aim is
    to respond to the threats we face: threats to human
    health and wellbeing, threats to the sustainability of our civilisation, and threats to the natural and human-made systems that support us.


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    Obesity: An Urgent Global Epidemic and Local Challenge

    Since 1980, the number of overweight and obese people in the world has more than doubled, going from about 850 million people to over 2 billion of the 7 billion people on planet Earth.

    This growing epidemic, with potential health implications for more than one in three adults worldwide, caused 3.4 million deaths in 2010 alone, according to a report published last month in the world’s foremost medical journal, The Lancet.


  • slider sharp rocksThe Phase Five Shift – Transforming Culture

    Peter Tait

    In Stephen Boyden’s model of the human component of biohistory we need a cultural transformation to move to phase five – the biosensitive human society. This is the Phase Five Shift.

    What do we, as academics and activists, have to grapple with to make this shift occur? What has to change and how do we change it?


  • slider fenner buildingCommentary 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]

  • slider mossThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

    Elizabeth Kolbert was being interviewed about her new book by Robyn Williams on The Science Show Saturday, 10th May, 2014

    Here is what Macmillan Publishers have to say:
    A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes


For healthy people on a healthy planet
From around the world

Peru To Provide Free Solar Power To 2 Million Of Its Poorest Residents By 2016. Jorge Merino, Energy and Mining Minister, told the Latin American Herald that the entire program will allow 95 percent of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016. [more]

From around the world

The United States has more people working in the solar industry than in coal mining.[more]

From around the world

Tyler LeBlanc explores commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse farming in Montreal in his article ‘Taking urban farming beyond the artisanal’, in the June 2014 edition of Modern Farmer. [more]

more from around the world