Past Events

Soul and the natural world

On 19 September 2014 the Stirring the Possum journey ended.

What began more than 10 years ago, covering thought provoking topics including urban design, fire and climate change, ended with an inspiring conversation about how our experience of the natural world affects the way we interpret, view and inhabit our other world.

Joining Allan Holmes, Chief Executive of DEWNR, for the final time were special guests:

  • Michael Leunig - poet, cartoonist and cultural commentator
  • James Darling - farmer and artist  
  • Sophie Thomson - gardener and television presenter.

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can watch the video.

From little things big things grow

On 25 February 2014, around 350 people attended Stirring the Possum, ‘From little things big things grow’. The event explored what we can do as individuals to make a difference.

Joining Allan Holmes, Chief Executive of DEWNR to discuss the topic were special guests:

  • Tim Jarvis AM, the world-renowned explorer, environmental scientist, author, public speaker and sustainability advocate
  • Amanda Blair is a well-known broadcaster, columnist for the Australian Women’s Weekly, editor and regular contributor to Channel 9’s The Today Show.

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can watch the video or download the podcast.

Climate denial: is it rational?

On 26 November 2012, almost 300 people attended Stirring the Possum, ‘Climate denial: is it rational?’ The event explored why people are still reluctant to embrace the reality of climate change, despite the ever-growing amount of scientific evidence surrounding it. 

Joining Allan Holmes, Chief Executive of DEWNR to explore the topic were special guests:

  • Anthony Ryan - psychologist who specialises on the interface between psychology and economics. His research is centred on the value that communities place on the environment, and identifying the psychological and economic drivers that underpin community perceptions of environmental value. 
  • Steve Cork - experienced futurist, strategist and ecological scientist, leading projects such as the development of the global scenarios for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and a resilience research program for not-for-profit group Australia 21. Steve’s interest lies in understanding the ways in which people make decisions about the environment, and the influence of their beliefs, biases and world views on this process.
  • Cobi Smith - science communicator with a background in journalism and international studies. Her passion is exploring how science communication influences and informs public engagement in science, and experimenting with how we can better involve the public in decision-making around science.

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can download the podcast.

Connecting with Country

On 22 May 2012, more than 450 people attended Stirring the Possum, ‘Connecting with Country‘ event. The event explored what it means to be connected or belong to ‘country’ or ‘place’. Are we all too caught up in our ‘urban lives’ to really connect with the Earth, nature and land that surrounds us?

Joining Allan Holmes, Chief Executive of DENR  to explore the topic were special guests:

  • Michael Leunig – cartoonist, philosopher, poet and artist. His work appears regularly in the Melbourne Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Tom Trevorrow – Ngarrindjeri elder from the Lower River Murray, Lakes and Coorong region of South Australia. Chairperson of the Ngarrindjeri Heritage Committee.
  • Dr Rosanne Hawke – who grew up in rural South Australia and is an award-winning children's author, teacher and storyteller.

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can listen to the podcast

The Age of Humans

On 13 March 2012, more than 330 people attended Stirring the Possum, ‘The age of humans’ event. The event explored the implications of a time when humans and their societies have become a profound, global geophysical force.  This is resulting in a world that is rapidly becoming less biologically diverse, less forested, warmer, and probably wetter and stormier. 

Joining Allan Holmes, Chief Executive of DENR to explore the topic were special guests:

  • Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University, Canberra
  • Professor Barry Brook, Director of Climate Science, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide
  • Robyn Williams, journalist and presenter of ABC Radio National's Science Show.

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can listen to the podcast.

The Environment in 2020

The environment in 2020 what will it look like for government, business and the community?

On 2 November 2011, more than 300 people attended Stirring the Possum, ‘The environment in 2020’ event, which explored the likely environmental challenges we’ll be facing then, and how government, business and the community might respond to them.

Joining Allan Holmes, Chief Executive of DENR to explore the topic were special guests:

  • Dr Kristin Alford – futurist, technologist and communicator, Founder and Managing Director at Bridge8
  • Prof Chris Daniels – professor of Urban Ecology in the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and Environment at the University of South Australia, and Director of the Barbara Hardy Institute, a major research Institute with a large research agenda focused on creating sustainable communities. He is also Presiding Member of the Adelaide Mount Lofty Natural Resources Management Board.
  • Charles Massy – author of Breaking the Sheep’s Back, a new book that exposes the story behind the A$10 billion collapse of Australia’s wool industry and explores the important issue of governance in the public interest

Our panelists provided thoughtful and challenging insights into this complex topic, and agreed re-engaging with our environment was fundamental to creating change. For example, Charles Massy suggested growing our own food and engaging in local food is a driver for change, as food connects with people’s emotion and ‘mother earth’.  Chris Daniels spoke about the concept that if people have a connection with the environment (for example, a magpie in their backyard), then they will care more for the environment. These are simple ideas that are important and can make a big difference. 

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can listen to the podcast.

The Nature Connection

Brought to you on 13 April 2011, The Nature Connection explored the importance of greenspace to community health - mental and physical - and the associated impacts for urban planning and design. Joining Allan Holmes to explore the topic was our expert panel:

  • Associate Professor Mardie Townsend, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University
  • Professor Tony Capon, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University
  • Timothy Horton, Commissioner for Integrated Design, South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet

If you missed the event, or would like to hear the discussion again, you can listen to the podcast.