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Welcome to the Frank Fenner Foundation


    Monday 8th December, 7pm, ANU

    slider lake v3Frank Fenner Foundation, in association with Sustainable Population Australia ACT branch and the producers from United Natures Media, will screen 'Surviving Earth' on Monday 8th December, 7pm, at the Finkel Theatre at John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.

    Surviving Earth is an Australian documentary built around interviews with the late Prof.Tony McMichael, Prof. Tim Flannery, Prof. Ian Lowe, Dr. Ian Dunlop, Prof. Paul Ehrlich and Bindi Irwin among others on the topics of resource depletion, climate change adaptation/mitigation and over-population (running time 95 min).

  • IPCC's Most Important Finding: We Need a Total Emissions Phase-Out

    from Kelly Rigg, director of Varda and long-time climate advocate.

    'I woke up this morning in Amsterdam to a front-page headline I never thought I'd see: "By 2100 Emissions Must Go to Zero" (my translation from the original Dutch). Referring to the landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released over the weekend, the Volkskrant led with what I consider to be the IPCC's most important finding.'


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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]


    copy_of_unnamed.jpgTony McMichael died on 26 September

    Stephen Boyden

    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:
    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.









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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

For healthy people on a healthy planet
From around the world

A fraction of the global military spending could save the planet’s biodiversity, say experts

Only One in Four Protected Areas is Well Managed

Gland, Switzerland, 6 November 2014 [more information including link to Nature paper]

From around the world

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

From around the world

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels.

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels. [more]


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