WOMADelaide Planet Talks program

The University of South Australia is proud sponsor of WOMADelaide's Planet Talks Program and in 2017, the Planet Talks Program will include six panel discussions across three exciting days.

Planet Talks, WOMADelaide

Saturday 11 March, 2.00 - 3.00pm

Richard Fidler in conversation with Sir Tim Smit

Speaker: Sir Tim Smit

Former Archaeologist, music composer and producer, Sir Tim Smit is best known for his achievements in Cornwall in restoring the Lost Gardens of Heligan and co-creating the multi Award winning Eden Project - a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture. Eden has become one of the world’s most popular man-made eco-tourism destinations with more than 16 million people visiting it since 2000. And that’s only part of the Tim Smit story…

Saturday 11 March, 4.00 - 5.00pm

Human Life on Mars

Speakers: Carmel Johnston and Josh Richards. Hosted by Robyn Williams.

Is colonising Mars the next giant leap for humanity or is it a waste time and money?  Do humans need to be a multi planet species to avoid extinction as argued by Elon Musk?  What have humans and the blue planet got to gain in the short term by practising and preparing to inhabit the Red Planet? Who better to ask than two of our favourite Martians, Australia’s Mars One candidate, Josh Richards and Carmel Johnston – Crew Commander of a year-long Mars Simulation mission. 

Sunday 12 March, 1.00 - 2.00pm

Redefining resources and the right to repair

Speakers: Kyle Wiens, Veena Sahajwalla and UniSA's Nicholas Chileshe. Hosted by Robyn Williams. 

We’re running out of resources but according to this panel, we’re going to be ok.

Can a circular economy compete with the convenience of the garbage dump and the desire to have the latest iPhone?  Are tech companies taking away our right to repair and extend the life of products? Is a waste-free global economy profitable or even possible? iFixit founder Kyle Wiens, UNSW’s Scientia Professor of Materials Science, Veena Sahajwalla and UniSA’s reverse logistics expert Nick Chileshe know a thing or two about delaying entropy and using waste as a resource, so let’s ask them.

Sunday 12 March, 3.00 - 4.00pm

Do Something.

Speakers: Karen O'Brien, Jon Dee, Erin Rhoads and Vanessa Morrish. Hosted by Sonya Feldhoff

Just because you can't do everything it doesn't mean you shouldn't do something. Do we view climate change as a problem for Governments, scientists, environmentalists and economists to sort out or is our role as individuals more important?

Join Karen, Jon, Erin and Vanessa as they chat about their work focusing on the “I” in climate change, how people see themselves making changes and how we can empower everyone to “do something”.

Monday 13 March, 1.00 - 2.00pm

What's God got to do with it?

Speakers: UniSA's Prof Mohamad Abdalla, Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black and Philippa Rowland. Hosted by Father Bob Maguire.

The Pope’s game changing encyclical—Laudato Si – stressed environmental stewardship and climate change action is consistent with Christian spiritual life. But the Green Faith movement is not just a Christian thing. It’s a central pillar of all major religions.

This interfaith panel led by Australia’s favourite Catholic, Father Bob Maguire, will discuss how and why Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish faiths have made climate change and environmental responsibility a major part of contemporary religious life and practice.

Monday 13 March, 3.00 - 4.00pm

Valuing Indigenous knowledge and language

Speakers: Lewis Yerloburka O'Brien (UniSA), Veronica Perrule Dobson, Fiona Walsh and Zaachariaha Fielding. Hosted by Miriam Corowa

For over 40,000 years, Indigenous Australians have maintained a continued sustainable relationship with the every corner of Australia’s diverse environment via a narrative and deep listening tradition that preserves language, heritage and culture.

In this panel respected Indigenous Elders from Kaurna and Eastern Arrernte country, a CSIRO Ethnoecologist and a young Indigenous rising star who sings in his country’s Pitjantjatjara language will talk about this extraordinary depository of knowledge and how the future of Australian environmental conservation is intricately linked to preserving and sustaining our indigenous cultures, heritage and languages.

Relive 2016 Planet Talks

The 2016 WOMADelaide Planet Talks program presented by UniSA, was attended by over 6,000 people across the long weekend. If you missed it, don't worry. You can watch all of the Planet Talks panel discussions below.

Saturday 12 March


David Suzuki Keynote

Speakers: David Suzuki. MC Robyn Williams

For four decades Canadian David Suzuki has been one of the most prominent, articulate, passionate and effective advocates for our planet and its environment. At 79 he shows no sign of slowing down. Spend an hour with one of the greatest eco-warriors of our time.

Saturday 12 March


What's love got to do with it?

Speakers: David Suzuki, Indira Naidoo, Amelia Telford. Hosted by Robyn Williams.

Is winning the battle for our hearts more important than the economics, politics and carbon numbers?  As we increasingly live in cities is our society is losing its connection with nature? If so, how might we change this?  Our panel looks at cultivating love for the environment and how this helps bring about positive change at the human rather than political level.

Sunday 13 March


Off the grid game changers

Speakers: Simon Hackett, Dan Spencer, Felicia Whiting. Hosted by Robyn Williams. 

Three South Australian leaders of 'off-the-grid innovation and activism' look at what the near future could hold in powering homes, business, streets and cities. Will there be any place for coal fired power stations in that future?

Sunday 13 March


A Green Growth economy

Speakers: Ross Garnaut, John Hewson. Hosted by Lenore Taylor

Is economic growth possible if we truly address climate change or will a transition require serious economic pain before any gain? Is coal about to disappear as fast as Kodak did and, if so, can new energy technologies replace that of fossil fuels without massive economic disruption? This panel features some of our foremost economic and political minds discussing the possibility of a new economy and clean growth.

Monday 14 March


Should we trust scientists?

Speakers: Naomi Oreskes, Professor Tanya Monro (UniSA) and Dr Karl. Hosted by Paul Willis.

Who should we trust and why? When should we accept what scientists say? How is that scientists do not always agree when analyzing the same information? Big questions like these require deep empathy, big brains and peer reviewed consideration.   

Over to you, Dr Willis, Dr Karl, Prof Oreskes and Prof Monro.

Monday 14 March


Words, pictures and climate change pitches

Speakers: Dee Madigan, Jane Caro, First Dog on the moon. Hosted by Tory Shepherd

Can effectively communicating facts about climate change make any difference to how people vote in the next election? What is the PR pollution clouding carbon politics?  Is it possible to make an issue this complex simple enough to get good decisions within our short-term electoral cycle?

This panel of communications gurus and a canine political cartoon commentariat are masters of words and pictures, so what’s their world-saving climate change action pitch.


Areas of study and research

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