Keynote Presenters

Please note the video recordings from the 2018 AELERT Conference are only available for AELERT Members to watch.

tim flannery

Tim Flannery opened the 2018 AELERT Conference, "Is being right enough?". 

He believes that while there is declining trust from the community for NGOs and Government, people tend to believe technical experts. He says "Dont ever doubt that we are right. It is important to defend the environment."

In this keynote, Tim shares with us his thoughts on climate change and where he believes the world needs to focus for a cleaner future.

This video is only available to AELERT Members.


Tim Flannery

The Speaker

Tim Flannery is on a mission. He believes that human activity is drastically altering the earth's climate, and that before too long these changes will have a devastating effect on life on this planet. He wants to mobilize the social and political will to address this problem before it's too late.

That's why Tim Flannery wrote The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. In this important and provocative book, which debuted on The New York Times bestseller list, Flannery tells the fascinating story of climate change over millions of years to help us understand the predicament we face today. In authoritative yet accessible language, Flannery carefully lays out the science, demonstrating the substantial, human-induced climate change and the likely ecological effects to the planet if this process continues. He then proposes a game plan to halt, and ultimately reverse, this damaging trend. The Weather Makers has sold over a million copies worldwide, and is proving to be one of the most pivotal and influential texts in our understanding of global warming.

Tim Flannery is the former director of the South Australian Museum, and is currently a professor at Sydney's Macquarie University. He spent a year as professor of Australian studies at Harvard, where he taught in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. In 2002, he became the first environmentalist to deliver The Australia Day address to the nation. In 2005 he was honored as Australian Humanist of the Year and, in 2007, he was named Australian of the Year.

A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement, Tim also contributes to ABC Radio, NPR and the BBC. In addition, he has also written many books, including, The Future Eaters (1994), The Weathermakers (2005) and Here on Earth (2010), as well as hosted several Documentary Channel specials, such as The Future, and Islands in the Sky.

In 2006 Tim Co-Founded the Copenhagen Climate Council, and chaired the organisation until 2010, advising governments and businesses on environmental policy. He is a member of the Wentworth Group of scientists, became Australia's first chief climate commissioner in 2011 and in 2013 founded the Climate Council to continue communicating authoritative climate change information to the Australian public.

Natalie Isaacs

Natalie Isaacs created a movement of women and girls who take practical action to fight dangerous climate change by changing the way they live.

Natalie's powerful and persuasive story of how a mother-of-four who ran her own cosmetics company for two decades, had what she calls her ‘climate change epiphany’.

Her message of how we, as individuals, can affect climate change by taking ownership of the issue. Behaviour change begins with personal action, and that actions speak louder than words.


The Speaker

Natalie Isaacs is the founder and CEO of 1 Million Women, the movement of women and girls who take practical action to fight dangerous climate change by changing the way they live.

Natalie is a mother-of-four who ran her own cosmetics company for two decades, before she had what she calls her ‘climate change epiphany’.

1 Million Women was launched in 2009, and under Natalie’s leadership has been built from scratch into a movement of over 400,000 women and counting.   Natalie is a pioneer in the gender and climate change arena in Australia.

She is sought-after presenter because of her powerful story for behaviour change. Her own climate change journey from apathy to action cuts through the complexity of this vital issue, and delivers a simple message that resonates with women and girls of all ages.  

Natalie’s philosophy for 1 Million Women is that real behaviour change begins with personal action and that women and girls living privileged lives in wealthy nations like Australia can be powerful leaders of change by acting to cut waste and pollution in their own daily lives.

In 2013, the United Nations awarded 1 Million Women as one of six women-led grassroots climate action programs – selected from hundreds around the world - to be highlighted as ‘lighthouse activities’ for the planet. For more information visit www.1millionwomen.com.au

 I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up.

Jim Hoggan

James presented a compelling and thoughtful narrative on how understanding the way people are communicating, in the current state of public discourse, matters.

Just like we pollute the environment, we can pollute conversation, and we need to understand the landscape we are communicating in. Facts don't change minds the way we think they do.

Watch James' speech to understand how our role as communicators is to reduce polarisation not contribute to it. Being right is not enough.


James Hoggan HeadshotThe Speaker

Jim Hoggan is one of Canada’s most respected public relations advisors. As founder and president of Vancouver-based Hoggan & Associates, Jim is the specialist companies big and small call when a serious PR crisis hits.  

Throughout his career, Jim has helped business leaders and public officials navigate the glare of television cameras, social media frenzies and bad news stories. His expertise has resulted in many awards, including the public relations industry’s prestigious Silver Anvil for the best crisis management strategy in North America and awards for ethics in public relations. 

Since hanging out his shingle in 1984 he has dealt with all kinds of prickly front page public relations controversies and crisis situations —food poisonings, labor disputes, animal cruelty charges, bodies disappearing from funeral homes, Taser deaths, multimillion dollar bank fraud, exploding sawmills and sex scandals.  

He is seen as one of the gurus in his field, whether defending the reputations of prominent corporations, public institutions or the leaders who run them.   A tireless advocate for ethics in public discourse, he founded the influential online environmental news site DeSmog, named one of Time Magazine’s best blogs in 2011.  

Hoggan has chaired and served on numerous national and international boards and advisory committees including Shell Global’s External Review Committee in The Hague, the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education and Al Gore's Climate Reality Project Canada.  

He is the author of three books including Do the Right Thing: PR Tips for a Skeptical Public and Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. 

Pragati Shahi

Pragati  imagePragati Shahi is an independent environment writer who has nearly a decade long experience of working with print and digital media at national and international level.

Previously, she worked as a Sub-Editor at The Kathmandu Post, a leading English national daily published from Kathmandu, Nepal, where she covered local and global environment and development issues, disasters, and also frequently reported on issues ranging from minority groups, women and children to migrant workers.

She was associated with Onward Nepal, a digital media company that promotes investigative journalism with thorough research on subjects focusing on science, technology, wildlife conservation, sustainable development and current affairs as a Senior Environment Writer since its start in 2017.

Pragati has published investigative features on wildlife conservation and challenges, climate change, disasters and wildlife crime in Nepal. During her eight-year journalism career, Pragati has won various awards and fellowships including WWF Media in Conservation Award, Best Environment Reporting Award, South Asia Climate Change Award and British Council Climate Champion. Her features have also appeared in several international media including Time, The Atlantic, Public Broadcasting Service, Broadly, UCANews and Al Jazeera.

She has served as a member of executive board of Nepal Forum of Environment Journalists (NEFEJ), an umbrella organisation of Nepalese environment journalists.

Ben eggleton

BenEgg in Lab %282%29Professor Benjamin Eggleton is a Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney, Director of the ARC Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), Director of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) at the University of Sydney and co-Director of the NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN).

He was previously an ARC Laureate Fellow and an ARC Federation Fellow twice. He obtained the Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Sydney in 1996. Eggleton is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AA), the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), the Optical Society of America and IEEE.