Climate Change Nuclear Renewables

Science Educator award, Sydney talk, BNC 2 years old

On Friday night, 13th August, I was awarded the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year. On September 8, 2010, I will be speaking on nuclear and solar energy at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The blog is 2 years old! Details below…


I got back from China at midday on Saturday and spent the next 24 hours in bed recovering from a stomach bug. It often happens after a long haul of travelling, and, after 3 weeks abroad, it’s great to finally be home. I’m now on the road to recovery — enough to enjoy reading the blog comments and to see what an impact the BNC readers made in Tassie, Vic and NSW in this year’s Walk Against Warming. Great work guys! I still have 300+ emails to wade through and reply to, however. Anyway…

A little over 2 years ago, on 7 August 2008, the Brave New Climate blog, later to be shorthanded to BNC, was born. Little did I foresee the evolution it would take over the next 290 posts and 20,000 comments (although John Morgan turned out to be quite prescient). It’s been a real learning experience for me, and has been thoroughly enjoyable (albeit exhausting and exasperating at times, in about equal measure). I’ve been helped greatly along the way by talented guest posters, including regulars Peter Lang, Geoff Russell, Tom Blees and many others. My sincere thanks — and here’s to another year of trials and tribulations, as we, together, think critically about sustainable energy and climate change.

In part recognition of the blog’s influence in educating the general community, I was very proud to be awarded the title of ‘Community Science Educator of the Year‘ for 2010, at the SA Science Excellence awards:


Sponsored by The Royal Institution of Australia

The Community Science Educator of the Year Award is open to individuals, groups or organisations for an outstanding and innovative program of science awareness and engagement delivered within the past five years.

The Award recognises the enhancement of the community’s appreciation of the contribution of science and its impact on society and the environment.

My thanks to the judging panel for their wisdom (!), and all those at the University of Adelaide, RiAus and beyond, who have helped me to organise my public speaking events, write a popular book and many newspaper Op Eds, spar on radio, and just get out there and talk to people on issues about which I’m passionate. Public communication of science, and the teaching of critical, evidence-based thinking — especially on such important applied matters as sustainable energy and climate change — is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job and life. It is heartening for my efforts to be recognised in this way. As I was in China on the night, Corey Bradshaw accepted the award on my behalf and apparently gave an excellent acceptance speech. Somewhat worryingly, he still has the trophy at his place…

And finally, 2 years of hard slog and a shiny award later, I’m not about to stop! So, on Wednesday 8 September (6 to 8 pm, CLB6, UNSW Kensington Campus), I’ll be in Sydney to engage in a discussion at the University of New South Wales in a ‘BrainFood’ session called ‘Nuclear — Solar Energies: Facts and Fiction Demystified‘. The other speaker will be Dr Mark Diesendorf, and the facilitator will be Prof Vassilios Agelidis. As the promo flyer says:

Join our experts as they:

• demystify fact from fiction for both solar and nuclear energy technologies

• highlight the merits and limitations of these energy sources

• debate their role to Australia’s energy mix of the future

• share your contributions and address your questions and concerns.

I’ve thought a fair bit about the type of presentation I’ll be giving, considering my previous ‘run in’ with MD at the Adelaide nuclear power ‘debate’. For those who are in Sydney and can make it, I hope you’ll enjoy my new take on the presentation of matters nuclear, solar, and ‘expertise’.

Okay, that’s me signing off for a while. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, in all four quarters of life.

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By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

23 replies on “Science Educator award, Sydney talk, BNC 2 years old”

“My thanks to the judging panel for their wisdom”.

Well, there’s nothing like a bit of modesty and peer-reviewed mutual back-scratching in the academic world is there.


Well done, well deserved.

Keep up the good work. I hope you get an opportunity relatively soon, amidst all this, to digest, distill and report on what you saw and learned during your trip.


Well done Barry. Very well deserved. It’s great to see important and interesting science reaching the public in an accessible way. I find it very inspiring.

Good luck with the Diesendorf “discussion” too. If he plays the authority again and reverts to ad hominem arguments of expertise, don’t be afraid to get properly stuck into him about not confronting the facts! (Though you don’t need me to tell you that :)


Barry congratulations. Your energy is unparalleled.
The really great success however is the constancy of effort. John Morgan and I spoke of this at Sydney’s Walk Against Warming where John, and his dad Peter, Richard McNeall of EFN, Ann Parker and myself all walked under the banner of Nuclear Energy.
I handed out some of John’s cards and Marion’s leaflets to a few people who were genuinely interested and supportive. Some others were anxious and perplexed about our position – that’s as it should be.
The most disappointing issue on the day was the overall small turnout – maybe a couple of thousand at most. The public has tuned out. I expected more because Gillard and Abbott have offered nothing on climate change and I thought public frustration would get them onto the streets. I was wrong.
In the face of the ebb and flow of public engagement BNC, Barry Brook and the group of frequent commentators are a constant reference point. They stay the course and the website grows in popularity and the public becomes informed.
I hope to meet more of the Sydney crowd on the 8th September at UNSW


Hi Barry:

congratulations. You deserve the recognition you’re getting. this blog has had a life changing impact on me.

Though credit for that also goes to Tom Blees, whose book got me rethinking everything I thought (and there wasn’t much thought there) about nuclear power, and nearly everything I thought about “alternative energy.”


Charles Barton

I can only agree with you that BNC is one of the best open science blogs with respect to climate change and non carbon energy solutions that can be found on the internet. The great strength of the site is the quality of the posts and submissions that are usually linked to real data and evidence. Where they are not, the author is soon taken to task! In the 12 months I have been visiting this site I have been given a real education on these important issues and promote the site regularly to my friends as a source of factual information.


Luke – I understand a video link to the discussion will be made available. Don’t know when but I am sure Barry will put it up on BNC asap.


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