Doomed Planet

Monash, a Fresh Clown in the Climate Circus

Monash, a giant among Australian universities, has 103,000 students and faculty. Of course it’s endorsed the Yes case to hand power to an unelected federal chamber of hereditary Aborigines. But Monash now risks being distracted from its climate crusade. It lists “mitigating climate change” on its “Who We Are” web-page as its core focus: “Climate change threatens the fabric of our planet,” it says. I’ll explain here how Monash seeks to arrest global warming. This might give pointers to how Monash will “save” the referendum’s collapsing Yes case.

Let’s start with 2019, when eleven Monash professors and associate professors, along with eight employees with PhDs and 25 other staffers all endorsed a petition calling for civil disobedience under the aegis of Extinction Rebellion’s nutters. The petition began

The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.

“Civilisational collapse” is coming, they say, and if we don’t get to zero emissions by 2029 (i.e. six years from now), “the future of our own species is bleak.”

It is unconscionable that we, our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of this unprecedented disaster. When [the Morrison] government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship. The ‘social contract’ has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty, to rebel to defend life itself. (My emphases here and throughout the essay).

Extinction Rebellion UK, the inspiration for the petition, decided last December its extremist antics were alienating the public — just how alienated can be seen in the clip below. So stopped blocking trains and highways and gluing hands to Goyas. That decision leaves the Monash professors looking like stranded university assets, or some might claim stranded liabilities.

Monash per se has what it rightly calls a “unique” fiefdom to deliver the true climate story to us plebs. It’s called the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH). Its vision is to “depoliticise” climate change (as if) and ensure we “trust and understand the science and the solutions.” Sure, trust is what science is all about. My count of the Hub’s local and international staff and “Academic Members” runs to 12 professors, 12 associate professors, four senior lecturers, four lecturers and five fellows, plus gaggles of project managers, “collaborators”, media flacks, consultants and hangers-on.

The Monash Hub on its website boasts a “select range” of leading institutional partners. These include not just Their ABC but as an “academic and scientific partner”, the China Center for Climate Change Communication. That august body was set up by Beijing’s “key public research university” Renmin, affiliated with the Ministry of Education and the Beijing Municipal People’s Government, or in lay terms, I assume, the Chinese Communist Party. (The China Center’s co-founder a decade ago was Oxfam Hong Kong). The Center is one of several such hubs, including at Yale and George Mason University, Virginia. At an inaugural meeting in Beijing, Yale and the China Center agreed to aim at ”not only the two nations’ domestic audiences but also targeted interests, such as policy makers, other academics, civic and business professionals, and nongovernmental organizations beyond their own borders.”

It’s great that our Monash climate communications crew have such eclectic taste in pals. I wonder how explicitly their Beijing associates are communicating that China’s CO2 emissions have been dwarfing the combined emissions of the entire developed world?

Talking of educating the masses, any day now Monash is scheduled to fire up its algorithm-powered truth machine, akaClimate Genie Project”. As the world’s 44th-ranked university gushes,

Imagine a world void of climate change misinformation. Where media outlets report on climate change diligently, accurately and without bias. Where the general public is accurately informed, and through which [sic], can contribute to democratic decision-making. The Climate Genie Project is working towards this future by building societal resilience to climate change misinformation [which] acts as an impediment to effective climate action, resulting in a lower level of public climate literacy and reduced levels of trust in science.

So how does Big Brother’s truth machine work? Climate Genie is inspired by smiter of denialists Dr John Cook and his utterly bizarre colleagues. It’s “a web extension that offers an automated fact-check of online climate change misinformation.”

It scans articles, highlighting potential misinformation and providing a pop-up message with details regarding the ‘types’ of myths and ‘techniques’ being used to mislead. In this way, users … learn how to identify and counter any misinformation in the future.

To mitigate global warming, Monash’s other tools of choice are

♦ a “Pravda on Caulfield” media wholesaling crew led by ex-Age editor and Conversation founder Andrew Jaspan, with support from the ABC’s ex-news director Gaven Morris. The unit is keyed to the corrupt and socialist-minded UN’s mishmash of 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”

♦ inspirational climate poetry about Bat Piles

 ♦ tracts from top climate scientists about their nightmares, set to violin and percussion music and garnished with Styrofoam jetsam and pressed plants

♦  climate-oriented science-fiction agitprop

♦  software turning cyclone tracks into easy-listening soundscapes

I know you’re dying to know about Andrew Jaspan and Gaven Morris so I’ll tackle them first. Jaspo left The Age (or vice-versa) in 2008 and set up the uni-funded playground called The Conversation, now a global publishing and financial phenomenon for CV-challenged academics. You might also recall that Jaspan’s editor at the Conversation, Misha Ketchell, in 2019 banned and cancelled any comments or would-be contributor disputing the fiery-doom mantra based on IPCC models that the IPCC people now themselves reject. Ketchell wrote, “Climate change deniers and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet.” Concurrently, he published a piece by would-be prophet Tim Flannery branding climate sceptics as child “predators”.

Jaspan left The Conversation (or vice-versa) in 2018 after some disagreements and, in January last year at Monash, he launched its new global platform, 360info, with university cash and “invaluable funding and support” from lockdown-happy Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, whose government views 360info as “a public good service”. 360info is now also partnered with Sydney University and UNSW and part-funded and/or supported by the sinister data and AI giants Meta (Facebook) and Google. The team at 360info, including half a dozen ABC alumni who’ve drifted in, re-writes and edits academic research pieces – especially about climate activism. The pieces are then pushed to 1,300 publishers and broadcasters including AAP. At last month, 360info claimed to have commissioned and published 746 articles, written by close to 1,000 researchers from 400 universities in 55 countries. Nearly half wind up in the Indian media. Its impact report this month says (p12),

360info remains committed to countering the spread of poor quality information and fake news in the public sphere. In June 360info partnered with the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Academy to produce a special report ‘Taming the Wild West of Misinformation’.

It said Jaspan provided backup “to highlight the extent of misinformation and provide media professionals with strategies for dealing with it” – it seems even media “professionals” can’t tell fact from fiction without 360info putting its bib in. Needless to say, ABU is yet another climate-shilling outfit, pretending that global warming is responsible for whatever weather disasters occur.
ABU media unit head Steve Ahern let the cat partly out of the bag by noting how the free stuff from 360info helps media companies offset their “tight budgets and time pressures”.

In other words, struggling media will happily grab free stories planted by outfits funded directly or indirectly by the state, buttressing narratives desired by the state.

Here’s some 360info output from last month. One story was by deputy editor Asia Pacific Chris Bartlett, an ABC alumnus who seems to have ingested The Guardian’s stylebook, demanding replacement of “climate change” with uber-sensational descriptors. The headline was “Record heat makes climate crisis very real”. Bartlett quoted WMO that “extreme heat was at least 30 times more like because of climate breakdowns caused [of course] by human activity.” Below his story were such reports as “Climate change’s dangerous new fires” and “Extreme heat will put more pressure on [Australian] workers.”
360info has been certified by Newsguard, the US leftist rating agency, “with its highest possible trust rating” of 100 out of 100. My jaw dropped to read that 360info’s rationale for top rating included “unbiased, explanatory and contextual information … removing opinion and advocacy and letting the facts speak for themselves.”

Also 100/100 rated by Newsguard were The New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian. Well, that’s no surprise. I do recall NYT and WashPost secretly selling their pages and credibility for relative peanuts (NYT: $US100,000 a month) to the Chinese Communist Party from 2016 to 2021 for propaganda like “Diaoyu Islands Belong to China” plus the Wuhan COVID cover-ups, and then, when outed, scrambling to erase their tracks. Personally, I’d rate them 0/100.

Now to introduce Monash’s poetess laureate – climate, Ms Amanda Anastasi. Under the Hub’s header, “Climate Change Poetry”, Monash explains,

The language used by scientists and politicians is not always suited to overcoming the enormous psychological distance of climate change. The special ability of poetry to communicate compassion, vulnerability, utopia and dystopia can offer texts which engage audiences in ways not possible with mass media. With this project, we have commissioned the work of Amanda Anastasi for a range of poetry that captures the science, politics, impacts and ways of imagining climate change futures. The poems here include one line poems that anticipate a world changed by climate, as well as longer poems in which climate is infused with everyday life in confronting ways.

Ms Anastasi describes herself as “poet and climate change activist” and three-year “Resident Poet/research associate” at the Hub.

I recently (OK, it was 1963) spent a year majoring in poetry at UWA, so I’m licensed to critique verse. Here goes.

To get our sustainability pulses racing, the first Amanda climate poem cited by Monash is titled “Bat Piles”. I assumed that bats  sufferered from haemorrhoids but the 18-line text is actually about bat carcasses littering the ground around Boonah in 2014  after a bushfire. Ms Anastasi’s bats are “each reduced to lay at the level of a human heel” in a crunchy carpet. Call me pedant, but bat corpses don’t “lay” anything, let alone eggs chook-and-platypus style. Cooked bats just “lie” around.

Another quibble is that Monash’s poetess refers to bats as a “gothic emblem”. The bat connection she makes with Batman comics is actually to “Gotham City”, a nickname for Manhattan, which according to the New York Public Library, popped up in Batman Issue No 4 in 1940. Gotham isn’t “gothic”. In any event, I can’t see what a 2014 Queensland bushfire has to do with climate change. Maybe a driver just flipped out a butt.

Another of her poems is about polar bears starving because of climate change. She was inspired in 2019 by one of Monash’s activist lecturers who showed Amanda’s class “an image of a tired and emaciated polar bear balancing himself on a thin piece of ice. I found myself extremely moved by this direct, inarguable image and knew I would be writing about the plight of this creature.”

Images of starving polar bears cram activists’ albums. They include Al Gore’s photoshopped ones of sad bears on icebergs and that notorious National Geographic video in 2017 of a skeletal Canadian bear, which allegedly drew a shocked audience of 2.5 billion. National Geographic had to apologise for labelling the video as “This is what climate change looks like” when the ailing bear’s misfortune had nothing to do with climate. Moreover, the documentary maker was outed for prolonging the bear’s suffering for days while he organised its filming for climate-propaganda purposes. When the muse is next upon her, perhaps Ms Anastasi could versify some delightful stanzas about polar bear populations having jumped from 24,500 in 2005 to 32,000 last year.

Monash Hub “has a strategic preference for short, accessible messaging”, hence it dotes on her short poems – and by “short” I’m talking really short. I hope Monash doesn’t pay the poet per word — “Thanks for the five words, Amanda, here’s our cheque for $5.50, GST included”. The 23 poems can be savoured in the clip above. My favourite (a five worder) goes, “Another climate denier has conceded” (at 1min38secs). It comes with soppy music (literally) and a pic of a clothed climate denier up to her neck in rising-seas. Did she claim for dry-cleaning, pending her monthly cheque from Big Oil? Another one-liner is illustrated with beach benches overtaken by 30-metre surf. Picnickers must have made it to high ground.

Inspired by Amanda, over several days I myself crafted an eight-worder for the university:

Metamorphosis  (after Franz Kafka)
The Monash climate expert seeks a real job. (© TT)


THE HUB‘s multi-million budget focuses on more than climate poetry. On the music front – move over Herr Mozart — the Hub has run a multimedia installation and performance project with a lady violinist and lady percussionist performing a “musical letter” based on climate scientists’ misery memoirs. In 2014 an ANU Masters student, Joe Duggan, began collecting 50 handwritten letters from “leading international climate scientists” describing their “despair” about governments not rushing us over the cliff to net zero. Their scrawls were put on display in Melbourne for a National Science Week, rather like a cathedral’s relics of saints.
Here’s a sample from Sarah Perkins, UNSW, now Dr Perkins-Kirlpatrick:

Perhaps I’m the odd one out, the anomaly of the human race. The one who cares enough, who has the compassion, to want to help make her [the planet] better… If we work together, we can cure this terrible illness and restore her to her old self before we exploited her…

Monash commissioned six Australian composers from five cities to set these lugubrious letters to music with added electronics, nature recordings and scary videos. Into the mix also went squashed plants from the Botanic Gardens collections and a collage of plastic flotsam and Styrofoam jetsam, all mashed together as a “Climate Notes — This Is How You Feel” public installation. Monash then “invite[d] people to consider their own emotions surrounding the threat of climate change by writing their own letter and sharing it in the installation.” The university explained

Understanding and withstanding a major challenge calls for emotional not just intellectual effort: feelings as well as facts, stories as well as statistics. Climate Notes propels us to consider what it feels like to live through a time when climate change affects every aspect of our lives.

Monash memes also extend to “sonification” of Queensland’s Cyclone Debbie of 2017, so that we can “hear extreme weather”. Listen to Debbie and its Monash music here. Debbie-decibels sound like a Ford Prefect with rusted muffler that I piloted as a teenager. Monash warns listeners of a loud “bang!” as Debbie drops in to Airlie Beach –like a brick going through a shop window. As Monash says,

This data is processed by algorithmic composition and audio synthesis within a platform called ‘supercollider’ to produce distinct sound sequences … the Hub is looking at the possibility of also sonifying other kinds of storms and heatwaves. [Why not also “sonify” a nice spring morning – Beethoven did it in his sixth symphony]. This research not only has the potential to effectively ‘hear’ climate change in an entirely new way, but could also be a novel way of bringing climate science to new audiences through sampling in music.

Could Monash get any more surprising? Yes, it can, like its scholars probing kids’ video games for climate angles. Four years ago Ph.D. candidate JR Burgmann (now Dr Burgmann) published an opinion piece, “Why it’s Time For Video Games to Address Climate Change.Video games can change the world.” He begins,

Earth has heated dramatically. Islands and coastlines have begun to sink into the rising seas. [Like, where?]. Extreme weather events … have drastically increased in frequency [no they haven’t, says the IPCC], displacing and taking the lives of thousands of people each year. [Extreme weather casualties in fact have declined 99-plus percent in the past century]. Ecosystems have begun to collapse… [blah blah]. The solution to our climate crisis will require immense social and political transformations. Rebellion and civil disobedience – what we demand as non-negotiable to governments – will also be key in shaping the future of our planet.

Burgmann likes art’s potential as climate propaganda. Specifically, the potential of the 2 billion kids and kid-adult users of video games — “the kind we drool over” (his phrase). He complains that video games shun climate politics: even the sciencey US National Aeronautical & Space Agency flunked with its Climate Kids game, he writes. On the other hand, a commercial game called Earth Atlantis, “a 2D side-scrolling shooter”, gets it right about oceans flooding 96% of land by 2100 (with added sea monsters), but lamentably fails to blame human CO2 emissions. Instead the designers merely bang on about plagues and zombie apocalypses.

IPCC reports are dull, so some Monash authors literally make up futuristic calamities as “cli-fi”. Their predictions all come true, unlike in the real world where not a single climate calamity forecast from 1980 to 2023 has ever eventuated. Dr Burgmann’s cli-fi is a novel titled Children of Tomorrow, “a love-song for a burning planet” one blurber calls it. In the “human race’s endgame”

the tension increases chapter by chapter much like the carbon dioxide in the air, preventing characters, and us, from breathing easily.(p1)

The novel’s actually well-written if you can identify with the plot’s characters struggling with their useless Ph.D dissertations.
Monash’s Hub of course cooks up school lessons. In March “with energy and excitement over engaging climate education”, the team spent a day workshopping new stuff. “We can’t wait for these resources to be used in the classroom!” they enthused.

It’s good to know our schoolkids are in safe Monash hands. With luck the Clayton swamp will turn the Yes case into the same farce as its climate caterwauling.

Tony Thomas’s new book from Connor Court is Anthem of the Unwoke – Yep! The other lot’s gone bonkers. For a copy ($35 including postage), email

3 thoughts on “Monash, a Fresh Clown in the Climate Circus

  • Stephen Ireland says:

    Here is some profound advice from Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick in 2020:
    With an issue so serious, where do we possibly start?
    Any change is a good change and simple things like turning the lights off when you leave the room, only running one fridge, setting your airconditioner to 25C, opting for ceiling fans instead when possible, using public transport, eating less red meat, growing your own produce, recycling as much as possible and getting a reusable coffee cup.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Oh how will laugh ourselves to sleep in years to come by the mirth these clowns have performed at their circus of doomsday worship when not a single island has disappeared from a single ocean – unless the CCP needed it gone!

  • STD says:

    And the media for all of this-exists in peoples heads and is expelled through a bivalve.
    Man Made (Maid) Climate Change- smacks of patriarchy – sexual discrimination and gender denial ,as we all transition to confidence dysphoria, about how we feel in the future – definitely rooted in a continuum of that climatic sewer we know of as, bias.
    Completely distinct from real time weather – for real time weather and reality go to the EFB (electronic flight bag) of AvPlan and OzRunways, that’s of course if your yearning wish is to live in reality, unlike a utopian revolt that hankers for the future that never presents itself in a climate of reality.
    As for Monash, to use the word’s of Mr Krudd “ we’ve got the balance right”;on the left by the sounds of the soundscapes emanating out of aca – demia.
    As for George Orwell, I think he may well have been onto something-the balance being right on the side of gluttony- their certainly stirring things up in the ‘sty’ and making real time piglets out of themselves on the lefty brew of climate swilling and Albo’s ( Robbing hood) pre election promise on elective billing….
    Blessed Ti-moth-y Flannery, to be the future patron Saint of climate scepticism – rain forecasting as it pertains to academic climate corruption (damnation) .I’m sure the movie is in train; “ The great Robbery by 21st century climate shill’s “, there could well be a star appearance by Ian McDougall aboard Noah’s Ark on his way to save Tim before the water recedes, thereby leaving the Climate Council without a leg to stand on.
    Steady as she goes on the Ark of shill.

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