The Frank Fenner Foundation is more than a memorial to the incredible scientific and humanitarian legacy of Frank Fenner. This is a legacy that lives on, through the Australian National University's Fenner School of Environment and Society staff, the Prime Minister's Frank Fenner Life Scientist of the Year Prize and the Frank Fenner Foundation's volunteers and sponsors working to catalyse far-reaching scientific, social and cultural change.
The Frank Fenner Foundation's focus is on understanding the place humans and our societies need to have within the natural world to lead to human prosperity and health in the long term.
The foundation does this work of catalysing change primarily through collaborations in engagement, education and education research, with the focus on the many pathways by which people can learn to live respectfully in-tune and integrated with other species and our whole planet Earth.
Today, the foundation's work includes: The Young Persons' Plan for the Planet - a very busy award-winning international education and mentoring program to develop Sustainable Development Goal plans and global competencies projects in schools; and the EcoriumXChange with the Ginninderry Group - a model for a Sustainability Discovery Centre in the community, which is in early planning stages.
You can support the work of the Frank Fenner Foundation; donate here, or contact the Executive Director, Ian Chambers, to discuss how you would prefer to sponsor a Frank Fenner Foundation project: Ian.Chambers@anu.edu.au
Where Human Ecology Meets Biosensitivity, Sustainability and Earth Systems
The now well-developed research area of Human Ecology is one of the legacies for which the Frank Fenner Foundation and its fellows, patron, scholars and collaborators - such as Nature and Society Forum - is perhaps best known.
Over decades of collaboration and over numerous investigations and publications many insights and indeed pathways to ecologically and socially sustainable, just and equitable human societies were documented. As a result, the Human Ecology insights generated by this group of scholars formed an important plank of the early work which subsequently helped shape Earth Systems Science, sustainability solutions, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) scholarship and global governance as we know it today.
What is less well known today is that, when they were first developed, these pathways to sustainability, were thought of in terms of forming a new holistic 'bio-sensitive' approach to how to be a healthy thriving human society on and within the Earth System.
The 'bio-sensitive' approach was in turn underpinned by what came to be known as the 'bio-narrative'. 'Bio-narrative' is simply another way of saying the 'story of life on Earth', and in particular a way of viewing human civilisation as part of this story.
Surprisingly, as important as it is, the bio-narrative is still understood by too few people living in industrialised societies. The good news is that is changing.
The crux of the philosophy behind the Frank Fenner Foundation's ongoing work is that it is only when the story of life on Earth, this bio-narrative, is understood, and bio-sensitivity embraced, will the future be bright for humankind.