Public forum! Making us sick: understanding the health effects of climate change

*This event was filmed and the recording is available on our YouTube channel.*

In part two of STA’s Topical Science Forums, ABC 666’s Genevieve Jacobs will talk with three of the nation’s most compelling experts on an issue that goes directly to the survival of the species.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report tells us that human-driven climate change poses a unprecedented threat to health and wellbeing, not just in the developing world but in our backyards too.

From declining food and water supplies to extreme weather and loss of habitable land, especially along the coast, the health issues are huge. Also predicted are shifts in infectious disease patterns, resource conflict and serious mental health trauma as humans try to cope with loss and displacement.

Make sure you do not miss this hard-hitting analysis of the latest knowledge, and what it means for all of us.

Who: ABC 666’s morning host Genevieve Jacobs will chair a session including: Professor Tony McMichael, Professor Barbara Norman and Dr Peter Tait (biographies below).

When: Thursday 29 May 2014 1-2.30pm

Where: James O Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia

Register here.

Speaker biographies

Tony McMichaelTony McMichael AO is Professor Emeritus of Population Health at The Australian National University – where, during 2001-2012, he headed the research program on population health risks of climate change.

He is an elected member of the US National Academies of Science, Honorary Professor of Climate Change and Health at the University of Copenhagen and a Director of The Climate Institute, a Sydney-based NGO. He has contributed substantively to scientific assessments of health risks by the IPCC, and advises the World Health Organization on environmental-climatic risks to health – including, recently, assessing how environmental changes, climate and agricultural practices influence the emergence of infectious diseases of poverty.

He is completing a book on the (very) long history of natural climate change impacts on the health and survival of human populations and their societies.

Barbara NormanProfessor Barbara Norman is the Foundation Chair of Urban and Regional Planning in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra. Professor Norman is Director of Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) and an Adjunct Professor with The Australian National University.

Barbara is Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council and Deputy Chair of Regional Development Australia (ACT). She is a Life Fellow and past national president of the Planning Institute of Australia and Life Honorary Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (UK).

Her research and teaching interests include urban and regional planning, sustainable coastal planning, climate change adaptation and urban governance. Barbara was a contributing author to the IPCC 5 WG 2 report on Impacts 2014.

Professor Norman advises the public and private sector in Australia and has strong international linkages within Asia, Europe and the United States. Barbara was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through urban and regional planning.

Peter TaitDr Peter Tait has been a General Practitioner for 32 years, 29 in Aboriginal health in Central Australia. He was the 2007 Royal Australian College of General Practitioners GP of the Year. Since moving to Canberra in 2011, he continues work in general practice. He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at The Australian National University Medical School. He is involved in climate change research at the University of New South Wales and The Australian National University, where he achieved a Masters of Climate Change in 2010.

Peter believes a person’s health is grounded in a healthy society, and a healthy society on a healthy ecosystem. He is active in the Public Health Association Australia, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Frank Fenner Foundation and other environment groups.


Genevieve JacobsGenevieve Jacobs always wanted to be a journalist, but she took the scenic route to her present position as a presenter on ABC in court, door knocking, bushfires, darts tournaments and regular cups of tea round at the police station. She won the Country Press Association’s the EC Sommerlad Award for best coverage of a local news story for her work on a devastating bushfire.

As a freelancer, Genevieve has written for national arts and gardening magazines including Country Style, Art & Australia and Your Garden. She co-ordinated Australia’s Open Garden Scheme in Southern NSW and the ACT, served on the national editorial committee for the Scheme’s guidebook and was team leader for NSW. She has lectured widely on Australian artists and their gardens, speaking at venues including the National Gallery and Sydney Botanic Gardens.

Since 2006, Genevieve has worked for 666 ABC Canberra, moving from weekend programming to a fulltime role as the afternoons presenter. It’s a challenge she has attacked with relish, providing her with the opportunity to expand her interests in politics and current affairs, history, the arts and the environment. Genevieve’s trademark is a strong connection with local issues, and a warm, well informed and humorous presentation style. In addition to her radio role, Genevieve has also appeared regularly on ABCTV’s Insiders programme as host of the Your Shout segment, and has made several videocasts for ABC Local Radio’s website.

She has been widely involved in community events in Canberra as a guest speaker, facilitator and MC. She has also been a panellist for forums including the National Museum’s annual review of the year’s events and has served as a member of the Canberra anti-poverty week steering committee and the Australian Institute of Architects award jury.

Genevieve is married with four children, and lives on a family farm on the South West Slopes of NSW. She describes herself as incurably nosy and loves nothing more than a good yarn and the chance to find out about people’s stories.

This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, in partnership with Science & Technology Australia and Research Training at The Australian National University.

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