The Tom Farrell Institute Community Engagement
The Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment Forums are a regular meeting place for everyone in the region who is interested in the environment both professionally and as citizens. Forums are held throughout the year at the University. Speakers with both academic and practical expertise discuss "big picture" environmental topics and examine the relevance to our region.
The Forums bring together community and business leaders, researchers, academics, students, environmental and land managers, environmental practitioners, entrepreneurs and the community. The goal of the Forums is not only to inform but to build and deepen linkages and develop collaborative opportunities for environmental partnerships for our region.
Biology Seminar, School of Environmental and Life Sciences
"Gaia - She’s a tough bitch" - Presented by Greg Sugden
An art/science approach to unravelling James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory
Charles Darwin’s great insight was that all life on Earth is related by a common ancestry. His theory of evolution explains the continuity of life over geological time. However, Darwinism does not account for the continuity of the Earth as a habitable planet over the same period.
In 1965 while working for NASA, the British scientist James Lovelock had the idea that Gaia is responsible for the maintenance of the Earth as a habitable planet. Initially Gaia was widely criticized. Over time, the idea that the Earth regulates its own climate and chemistry has become the orthodox view. The question now becomes whether the Earth self-regulates the climate in order to maintain conditions that are favourable for life.
Greg will show 40 images that relate to how the idea for Gaia originated, the people involved, what defines Gaia, what its critics had to say, an explanation of Daisyworld, the difference between strong and weak Gaia, a look at Gaia using a specific example, how it relates to climate change and where Gaia stands today.
Climate Change Forum - Lessons for Renewal
Featuring the internationally renowned Allan Jones MBE, Chief Development Officer, Energy and Climate Change, City of Sydney
Allan meets future energy and water needs with renewable resources, and builds more resilient infrastructure. This is achieved with decentralised green infrastructure such as trigeneration, renewable energy, fuel cells, renewable gases from waste, and recycled water. This concept can be applied to any community in Australia, or indeed the world. He has proven this approach in Woking and London which are on track to save 70% of carbon emissions within 30 years, and he will visit Newcastle since he is currently revolutionising Sydney.
Allan’s presentation will include the Green Infrastructure Plan for Sustainability Sydney 2030; the Trigeneration, Renewable Energy and Waste Master Plans; decentralised energy projects; and implementation of Australia’s first city-wide trigeneration decentralised energy network.
6.30pm Prof. Tim Roberts, Director, Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, - Welcome
6.40pm Allan Jones MBE, Chief Development Officer, Energy and Climate Change, City of Sydney – "Moving Sydney Towards a Sustainable Low Carbon Future"
7.25pm Dr Alice Howe, Sustainability Manager, Lake Macquarie City Council - "Energy Resilience in Lake Macquarie"
7.35pm Dr Richard Finlay-Jones, CleanAs - "A new community renewable energy initiative"
7.45pm Prof. Behdad Moghtaderi, Deputy-Director of the Priority Research Centre for Energy, and Head of Chemical Engineering, University of Newcastle. - "GRANEX Heat Engine: An Australian Technology for Waste Heat Recovery"
7.55pm Dr Gary Ellem, Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment - "Future Hunter"
8.05pm Panel Forum Questions
When: Friday 31 May 2013
Where: Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre, 39 Lake Street Warners Bay
Time: 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start, to 8.30pm
Cost: $5.50 (including gst)
Please Register at
Ride to Work Day
Every year the Tom Farrell Institute, along with NuSport and Nubug help run the Ride to Work Day. The ride takes place on two routes, one from Newcastle to University, and the other on the Fernleigh Track to University.
This year it takes place on Wednesday 16October 2013. Please check back here soon for further details on routes and times.
Once riders arrive at the University, they concregate at the courtyard of the Forum, to enjoy a hearty breakfast which is always provided by NuSport. Nusport also offer all riders the facilities at the Forum for the morning, so that they may shower and change after the ride.