As valued members of The Frank Fenner Foundation your ongoing support and assistance has always underpinned our ambitious work. I know of no other organisation dedicated to helping society achieve the desperately needed paradigm shift to ensure a healthy, just and ecologically sustainable future for all.
The Foundation now has several projects in development, including the Biosensitive Online Course, and has initiated a series of workshops to refine and guide the operation of the Biosensitive Principles. We are also working on a proposal to fund the establishment of a Life Centre which would facilitate sharing, learning and practical workshops to progress the development and implementation of elements of a Biosensitive Society.
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.
So in the interim, we are once again turning to our membership to help us – with ideas, introductions to people who may be able to assist, and with financial contributions. Any assistance that you can provide on any or all of the following projects will be greatly appreciated and carefully used.
WORKSHOPS - IMPLEMENTING THE BIOSENSITIVITY APPROACH
As part of our focus to promote understanding of the biosensitive approach across the community and among influential thinkers, the Foundation is rolling out a number of workshops to refine the practical steps required to move toward a biosensitive society. These will be fed into government and industry policy frameworks. We held a very interesting session with members in Canberra prior to our Xmas Party, in December last year. Two workshops are already planned in Canberra explicitly to explore climate principles and biodiversity prinicples with Canberra-based experts.
We urgently need an additional $6000 to fund three further workshops; one each in Sydney and Melbourne with experts working in the climate advocacy arena; and one in Sydney or Melbourne with experts working in the wildlife/biodiversity advocacy arena.
FREE ONLINE COURSE - THE BIOSENSITIVE SOCIETY
This project aims to develop a series of interactive lectures/discussions, to be made available online (and later modified for use in schools), that explores the ecological impact of the 4 watersheds in cultural evolution, through hunter-gatherer phase, early farming phase, early urban phase and the current fourth exponential phase and then discusses the fifth ecological phase of human history – a society that is based on understanding the human place in nature and that is sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life - a bio sensitive society.
Some work has been initiated with volunteers to develop a possible framework for this work. However, to get this project to the level where we can seek substantial funding required to complete the work, we need to find $20,000 to complete research, framing out the lectures and sourcing speakers and visuals.
There is now broad international recognition of the crucial role that the arts play in translating scientific understanding of environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity into emotionally engaging communications and experiences for the community at large. The aim of this project is the engagement of the arts community in promoting understanding and knowledge of a biosensitive society, the increased understanding and knowledge from the public who views the exhibition, and the development of art Works which can be used by FFF to communicate our vision.
The Foundation is proposing to mount an arts – based national competition on the theme of ‘biosensitivity’, through a number of tertiary institutions. While the total budget is estimated to be $70,000, we need $15,000 to engage one or more institutions in the process and to encouage financial and in-kind engagement by local businesses.
Canberra, like other urban centres, has a big range of cultural institutions, including a National Gallery of Art, a Portrait Gallery, a War Memorial, a Museum of Australia, a Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Film and Sound Archives, and also some public institutions focusing on non-human forms of life, such as the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the National Botanic Gardens and the Arboretum. And there are a great number of vigorous NGOs and community and student groups concentrating on a wide range of environmental and health issues.
Yet, there is no public institution in Canberra or, as far as we know, in any other Australian city that focuses on life as such – on life in its entirety, including humankind and human civilisation. This is curious because we humans are living organisms, products of biological evolution, and entirely dependent on the processes of life, within us and around us, for our wellbeing and continued existence.
There is no institution in our society that provides a venue for learning about and celebrating life, and for exchanging ideas about the way forward to a society that is truly in harmony with nature. This is especially pertinent at the present time because human activities on Earth are now on a scale and of a kind that threaten the integrity of the whole life support system that keeps us going.
The Frank Fenner Foundation is proposing to fill this serious gap in our cultural institutions by establishing a Life Centre, where sharings, research and practical workshops will explore the core theme of the story of life and the human place in nature and the meaning of this story for the future of civilisation.
To get this proposal from concept to reality, we urgently need $20,000 ‘seed-money’, to develop a proposal and to conduct discussions with potential stakeholders, including corporations and institutions who might host the centre.
SOCIO-CULTURAL CHANGE / TRANSFORMING CULTURE PROJECT
This 3-year project aims to explore, promote and implement methodologies for transformational social change, resulting in education and advocacy tools and community projects. To move this project to the level where we can seek the substantial funding required to complete the work, we need to find $15,000 to complete research and preparing a framing outline.
I hope you share my view that this is an exciting time for the Foundation and look forward to your ongoing support.
Any financial contribution you are able to make would be greatly appreciated.
Chair of Board
Frank Fenner Foundation
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