Enviro Seminar

The Deakin Enviro Seminar has a focus on environmental issues and how we can all contribute to solutions. It first began in 2013 and is proudly hosted by the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

2019 Seminar

Our 2019 Enviro Seminar held on Monday 25 March at the Melbourne Burwood Campus was titled 'The next step in the war on waste' and was presented by Craig Reucassel.

Mr Reucassel began the seminar by revealing he had his doubts when joining the War on Waste program. With a background in political science, law and economics, he felt it was a 'sciencey' area he was ill-equipped to front. But throughout the series, he realised that the scientists and engineers had already figured out solutions to our environmental issues. The issue, he told the seminar audience, is that we don’t necessarily use those solutions. And that, he determined, is because of politics, law and economics.

Originally known as a member of the satirical comedy group The Chaser, Mr Reucassel played a clip to remind people of the group’s sometimes controversial approach, conceding it may not have resulted in the changes they had hoped for. The War on Waste on the other hand, seems to have hit a nerve at the right time in history, and resonated deeply.

Mr Reucassel shared a clip from a War on Waste episode where he visited a supermarket fruit supplier that is forced to dispose of products that don’t meet cosmetic specifications, raising audible gasps from the audience.

The fundamental problem, he told the audience, is that it’s easy to get the people who care to change their behaviour. How, on the other hand, do you change the behaviour of the people who don’t care?

Kelly Miller, Associate Professor of Environment and Society organised the seminar. 'Craig brought this important issue of waste to life in an engaging and thought-provoking way. He was a wonderful speaker for this year’s Enviro Seminar,' Associate Professor Miller said.

At Deakin we're proud of our place in encouraging community education, exploration and debate on important environmental issues.

Dr Kelly Miller

Associate Professor of Environment and Society

Other past seminars

Find out more about each of our past seminars.

Confessions of a Bird Nerd (Mr Sean Dooley, 2018)

An audience of around 150 people joined Sean Dooley – writer, comedian and self-confessed bird nerd – for a journey through his birdwatching past at the 2018 Deakin Enviro Seminar.

Mr Dooley transported people 'from the rainforests of Queensland to some of the finest sewage farms this country has to offer' and beyond as he took an in-depth look at how we look at birds and what birds mean to us.

He is the current editor of the Australian Birdlife magazine and has written for TV comedies and performed solo shows (including one about birdwatching) in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He also wrote about breaking the Australian twitching record for seeing the most birds in one year in his book, The Big Twitch.

Deakin Ecologist, Associate Professor Euan Ritchie, helped organise the seminar.

'The night was filled with lots of personal stories, lots of humour, and insight into what inspired Sean to pursue a career following his passion for birds,' Associate Professor Ritchie says.

‘He also spoke about his dream, which he achieved, to see the most birds in Australia in a calendar year.

'Using striking images of kingfishers, Sean finished with important messages for us about remembering to pause and enjoy the wonder of nature, to engage people through storytelling, and to tackle conservation and other environmental issues from multiple directions.'

The event was held on Monday 4 June at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Visit the Australian Birdlife website

Living in a Tiny House: the benefits for society, environment and you! (Mr Darren Hughes, 2017)

Darren Hughes, founder of Tiny Houses Australia, gave insight into the tiny house movement and the potential benefits for the environment.

Australia's expert on Tiny Houses and founder of Tiny Houses Australia, Darren Hughes has built up a global community of over 41,000 followers on Facebook. In fact, Tiny Houses Australia has become the hub of all things 'Tiny' in this country. When he started the community nearly four years ago, there was almost no information about Tiny Houses in Australia. Since then, Darren has seen the interest in Tiny Houses explode with more and more Aussies making the decision to downsize, simplify their lives and build their own Tiny House.

The event held on Monday 27 March 2017 attracted over 350 people who registered for the seminar at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Play the 2017 Enviro Seminar video

Learn more about the big interest in tiny houses

Tackling climate change: why you're more powerful than you think (Ms Anna Rose, 2016)

Anna Rose, Australian author and environmentalist, presented an engaging and inspiriting presentation.

Anna Rose was previously the National Manager for Earth Hour with WWF-Australia and the Australian Geographic Society's Conservationist of the Year 2015. She previously founded the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, a movement of over 120,000 young people, and was recently a finalist in the Australian of the Year awards. She is author of the book Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic, editor of the cookbook Planet to Plate (2015) and co-author of the book The Future, By Us.

Seminar organiser Dr Kelly Miller highlighted one quote from Ms Rose's presentation:

'We have the ability to change the course of history, especially in Australia. We are so lucky here that we can exercise our voice… We don’t need to be a corporate CEO, we don't need to wait until we are the chancellor of a university, we can do incredible things right now.'

The event was held on Monday 11 April 2018 and attracted over 250 people who registered for the seminar at Deakin's Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Arrangements for Ms Rose's presentation were made through Celebrity Speakers. Further information about Ms Rose is available on her website.

Play the 2016 Enviro Seminar video

This is our beautiful world: elevating protection of the environment – now (Mr Peter Garrett AM, 2015)

Peter Garrett AM, environmental activist, Midnight Oil front man and former Australian Government minister presented the 2015 seminar on how our loss of connection with nature, and how 'we need nature more than nature needs us'.

'He spoke about a 'new kind of citizenship', 'people's tribunals' and a 'new economy', and suggested that those concerned about environmental protection can all initiate 'little campaigns' to make a difference,' seminar organiser Dr Kelly Miller says.

'He also spoke of the need to have a 'box of reasons' to explain to others why it is so important to elevate protection of our environment now.'

The event was held on Tuesday 28 April 2015 and attracted over 400 registrations to attend at Deakin's Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Environmental sustainability: making a difference (Dr Bob Brown, 2014)

Dr Bob Brown, environmentalist, author and former Senator and Leader of the Australian Greens, presented the 2014 seminar, in which he reflected on why he remains optimistic and why it is important to stand up for what you believe in.

Since his retirement from Australian politics in 2012, Dr Brown has established The Bob Brown Foundation which aims to raise awareness and organise campaigns in relation to environmental issues affecting ecosystems and species around Australia and in Antarctica.

The event was held on Monday 25 August 2014 and attracted over 400 registrations to attend at Deakin's Melbourne Burwood Campus.

The event also celebrated 30 years of environmental science courses at Deakin University and its predecessor Victoria College. Starting in 1984 with the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Assessment and Land Use Policy), our environmental science courses have changed in name and evolved over the years but still emphasise the importance of balancing social and economic objectives with environmental protection and sustainable futures.

Asiatic Black Bears in China: The work of Animals Asia in animal welfare and wildlife conservation (Dr Jennifer O'Dwyer, 2013)

Dr Jennifer O'Dwyer, a Vet working with Animals Asia in China, was our first Enviro Seminar speaker providing a confronting but inspiring presentation. Dr O'Dwyer shared her experiences working at the China Bear Rescue Centre and the work of Animals Asia in animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Animals Asia's work to end bear bile farming focuses on five key areas: Bear sanctuaries, reducing demand, the bile trade, public awareness and government policy.

The event was held on Tuesday 21 May 2013 at Deakin's Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about the Enviro Seminar, please contact

Dr Kelly Miller
Associate Professor of Environment and Society
School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Phone: +61 3 925 17615
Email Dr Miller