Launch of the 2nd edition of the NCS Journal

Available free for download now

The 2nd edition of the NCS Journal is now out! Freely available for download here now.

It features a selection of some of the most thought provoking papers by students from the past two years of Swinburne’s Graduate Certificate in Sustainability. And is edited by the Convenor of the Understandascope, Anthony James, with Terrie Hamilton-Smith and a wonderful team of assistant editors.

Topics range from fair trade coffee to bottled water, beauty to antibacterial products, food waste to iPads, self-storage facilities to residential aged care, and Russell Brand’s call for revolution to the not so trivial topic of toys.

This edition is dedicated to Frank Fisher, who first proposed the Journal as a way of showcasing some of the more effective and liberating approaches to our most persistent problems.

To download the papers, or for a look at brief summaries of the papers and their authors, click here

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Donate to the annual Frank Fisher Memorial Appeal

Professor Frank Fisher, founding Convenor of the Understandascope

Further the legacy of Professor Frank Fisher

The Frank Fisher Memorial Fund was launched in 2012 in honour of Professor Frank Fisher, to further his legacy through the education and sustainability programs of Understandascope.

Frank was named Inaugural Australian Environmental Educator of the Year in 2007, in recognition of three decades of pioneering work in the field.

For more info about Frank & to make a tax-deductible donation to the Frank Fisher Memorial Fund, visit the Swinburne University Alumni website here.

100% of your donation goes towards furthering the legacy of Professor Frank Fisher. Please feel free to contact us to express what you prefer your donation be dedicated to.

For more info about what your donation may go towards, click here.

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Apply for the 2nd Annual Frank Fisher Paid Internship at MEFL

Apply to MEFL by 11 June 2014

MEFL (Moreland Energy Foundation) is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the second annual Frank Fisher Memorial Internship. The Internship was created in 2013 to provide an opportunity for a promising student or recent graduate to gain work experience in a dynamic independent community organisation working closely with the Moreland community offering a range of services and programs to ensure a sustainable future.

MEFL seeks an enthusiastic advanced year-level student or recent graduate of a sustainability-related tertiary qualification for this paid internship to work with MEFL staff to capture the impacts of our projects on-the-ground, and translate those into policy and advocacy priorities for MEFL.

For more info & to apply, click here.

Nominations close on Wednesday 11 June 2014.

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Nominate now for the Inaugural Frank Fisher Award at the City of Yarra

Frank Fisher at his home away from home, Richmond train station. Photo: Anthony James

Nominate yourself or someone else by 5 June 2014

The Frank Fisher Award has been established to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to several areas of sustainability in Yarra. The Award aims to build on the legacy of the late Professor Frank Fisher. It also aims to remember Frank’s constant querying of his own views and understanding, and his efforts to respond kindly yet provocatively to the range and web of understanding around him.

Nominees will have engaged and inspired people around them and demonstrate qualities of mindfulness, insight, humility and civic spirit.

To nominate yourself or someone else, click here for more info.

Nominations close on World Environment Day, Thursday 5 June 2014.

Our ongoing thanks to everyone at Council and in Yarra for making these awards happen … for all they represent.

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Glenferrie Festival of Ideas

Making Glenferrie a Sustainable Community

Join us for the 1st panel discussion of this year’s Festival of Ideas, with Understandascope Convenor Anthony James, Swinburne Leadership Institute Research Fellow, Samuel Wilson, and Yarra Riverkeeper Ian Penrose, to explore how to make Glenferrie a sustainable community.

12 – 12.30pm, Sunday 4 May, Swinburne Gardens, 24 Wakefield St, Hawthorn

Free entry, with full program & map available here

Presented in partnership with Swinburne University and OASES Graduate School

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New residential short course – the Tao of Sustainability

This one-week intensive residential course is designed to challenge popular misconceptions & develop a deeper understanding of how we can achieve truly sustainable societies. During the week expert facilitators will help you develop your knowledge, thinking & practice around all aspects of sustainability, including transport, energy, waste, food, biodiversity, community, business, economics & their inter-connections.

The Tao (or ‘The Way’) series of courses are led by Anthony James, Convener of the Understandascope, and were developed with the late Professor Frank Fisher, an acknowledged doyen of sustainability & Australia’s Inaugural Environmental Educator of the Year.

The Tao of Sustainability offers an intensive learning opportunity exploring new concepts & practices of sustainability held in a safe community environment where participants are encouraged to share their stories and experiences as part developing our understanding of sustainability.

When: Sunday 13 October 3.30pm, concluding with dinner on Saturday 19 October

Cost: $1,050 inc all accomodation, food, day trips, & materials.
Early bird registration: $950 before 27 September

The Tao series of courses are popular & as numbers are strictly limited we recommend early registration of interest.

For more information click here
To register your interest, contact Anthony James, on 03 9819 3502 or via email

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Frank Fisher Award

Our late friend, Professor Frank Fisher was 1 of 2 people acknowledged in the Local Hero category of the 2013 Yarra Sustainability Awards.  Frank was recognised for his work advocating for systemic change, empowering individuals, communities and organisations to make a better world for all life, by becoming more humble, considerate and insightful people. Frank was a long time resident of the City of Yarra and active community member with groups including the Council, North Yarra Community Health and many others.

Later in the night, Yarra Mayor, Jackie Fristackie announced the new Frank Fisher Award to begin from 2014.  Our thanks to everyone at Council and in Yarra for making these awards happen … for all they represent.

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DODO alternative wins RSA prize

Industrial Design honours student Carl Turner has won an RSA Student design award for his YOLO design – a contribution to the planned extinction of the DODO.

Inspired by the late Professor Frank Fisher’s coining of the term DODO (driver owned, driver only) car, Carl set about designing an alternative.  “DODO car commuting is perhaps the costliest mode of commuting, because it depends on people sacrificing their own time just to get to work at massive social, ecological and economic costs,” Carl said.

Carl’s proposed YOLO (you only live once), design is a shared but personalised subscription-based mobile work environment.  This enables people to include their commute time as part of their working day by “using their commute productively for email correspondence, document review/ writing, conversation or high quality thinking time.”

Swinburne lecturer and former RSA prize winner Mark Strachan encouraged Carl to enter the RSA competition.  The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) Student Design Awards issues briefs to young designers to demonstrate how the insights and processes of design can solve 21st century problems.  YOLO was selected from among about 500 entries and will soon be on display, along with other winners, in an online exhibition.

Read more

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2013 Winter Appeal for the Frank Fisher Memorial Fund


Professor Frank Fisher, founding Convenor of the Understandascope

Sadly, our dear friend and Understandascope founder, Professor Frank Fisher, passed away late last year. The Frank Fisher Memorial Fund was launched in his name to further his legacy through the education and sustainability programs of the Understandascope.

Frank was the Inaugural Australian Environmental Educator of the Year in 2007, in recognition of three decades of pioneering work in the field. Much of that time was as Associate Professor in the School of Geography and Environmental Science at Monash University near Melbourne. He then spent seven years at Swinburne University of Technology, at the National Centre for Sustainability, where he was the Convenor of Graduate Programs in sustainability, and the Faculty of Design, where he was Professor of Sustainability.

Frank was also part of the ground-breaking group that began OASES Graduate School, a not-for-profit tertiary organisation based in Hawthorn, where the Understandascope is now based.

This is the first financial appeal since Frank passed away. Please donate generously. For more information about the Fund and the work of the Understandascope, click here.

To make a secure tax-deductible donation, click here.

Thank you. Your donation is very much appreciated.

100% of your donation goes towards the projects or scholarships for the education programs Frank led or inspired. Updates on the progress of these projects and program will be posted on the website.

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Frank Fisher Memorial Internship at MEFL

Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL) have established a paid internship position as a tribute to Professor Frank Fisher’s lifelong commitment to sustainability education.

The six-month (June-Dec) internship is open to advanced year-level students or recent graduates of a tertiary qualification in a sustainability related field.  It offers an opportunity to get hands on experience working with the MEFL advocacy team.

Professor Fisher was the first lifetime member of MEFL and a longtime supporter of MEFL’s objectives and projects.

For more information and a copy of position description visit the MEFL website.

Applications close Tuesday 11th June at 10am. 

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