Earth Hour is on again – tonight 28th March at 8.30pm. The event asks people and businesses to turn off lights and appliances for one hour. It ran for the first time in Sydney only a few years ago. Since then the idea has been picked up by many other major cities around the world.
But looking beyond all the hype, how useful is it really in helping to tackle the problem of climate change?
At the recent Sydney Film Festival I saw a great new documentary called ‘The Cars That Ate China’. In this podcast the director Stefan Moore discusses the background to the film and we hear a clip with Joe White, China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.
Joe takes us to the Beijing car show and explains how foreign car makers are piling into China to make a killing in the last big score in car manufacturing.
Audio: Listen to The Cars That Ate China interview and movie podcast – part 1, Joe White and the Beijing Car Show.
Posted in Business and Economics, Energy, Films, Places, Podcasts, Transport
Tagged business, cars, China, documentary, environment, film, movie, sustainability, transport
In case you hadnt noticed, the price of oil is on the march. And there’s analysts saying we’ll look back at 2008 in the years to come and think we were lucky. That petrol was cheap.
So what is happening with oil?
There’s no doubt the world’s demand for oil is increasing in a big way. What is in contention is the world’s supply.
A growing number of experts are saying we won’t be able to keep up with the world’s insatiable demand. And in fact, we’ve reached a tipping point. The term they’re using is ‘peak oil’.
In this interview, Michael Lardelli from the University of Adelaide sounds the alarm bells. Listen to the interview with Michael Lardelli on peak oil.
Sharks have had a pretty bad rap for a long time. Now a new film, busts the myths about sharks and highlights the dire situation for shark populations around the world.
Rob Stewart, an underwater photographer, set out to show the beauty of sharks in his film ‘Sharkwater’, but stumbled instead onto the billion dollar shark fin industry. He found sharks having their fins cut off and their bodies thrown back in the ocean on a large scale. All to supply the demand for shark fin soup in Asia.
I went to see the film, then tracked down the director – who was in Paris on his way to Cannes – to flesh out the story. Click here to listen to the interview with the PR Manager for sharks, Rob Stewart.
Check out the trailer and the making of the Sharkwater film.
And if you want to help, you can adopt a shark through the Nature Conservation Council. They’re one of the few organisations campaigning to protect sharks in Australia.
Posted in Conservation, Editor's Pick, Films, Oceans, Podcasts
Tagged conservation, environment, film, movie, oceans, podcast, sharks
Here in Australia we know we should be watching how much water we use for things like showers, gardens and washing cars.
But really, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to how much water goes into the products we consume.
Now an Australian academic has proposed that the amount of water used in making food and other items be clearly shown on product labeling. Listen to the interview with James Hazelton.
To see how much water goes into making different products, check out www.waterfootprint.org.
In many developed countries food prices have skyrocketed. So much so there’s been riots and demonstrations in a range of countries from Cameroon and Senegal to Haiti, Mexico and Egypt. One factor is believed to be the increasing use of crops to produce biofuels rather than food.
So is biofuel an important solution to our transport energy needs. Or is it creating problems the world doesn’t need?
To find out more about biofuels and the situation for biofuels in Australia, I spoke with the CSIRO’s biofuels expert Deborah O’Connell. I started by asking where biofuels come from. Listen to the biofuels interview.
Josh Byrne is a presenter on the ABCs Garden Show. He’s also written a book called ‘The Green Gardener’.
Josh reckons people have seen the light and are now using their backyards to grow food. In this interview, he talks about how to go about grow your own, making your garden sustainable and the role of permaculture in his work. Listen to the Josh Byrne Green Gardener interview.
I caught up with Josh at the Australian Permaculture Convergence.
Permaculture is real counter-culture. Thats what I thought after attending the Australian Permaculture Convergence last weekend.
It combines traditional farming techniques and thinking about nature with modern technology to enable people to live differently to how most of us live. To live in a truly sustainable way.
In this interview, I tracked down David Holmgren, the co-originator of permaculture, at the conference.
Interestingly, having originally developed the idea in response to the oil crisis of the 70’s, David reckons permaculture is the answer to our looming energy crisis. With peak oil, permaculture is more relevant than ever.
More on permaculture on David’s site.
As the world continues to debate what to do about climate change, the people living on a small atoll to Australia’s north are about to become our region’s first climate change refugees.
The Cartaret Islands, north east of PNG, are only a metre above sea level. Each year tidal surges on the island get bigger.
The tides have damaged the islands’ fresh water sources and food growing areas. To the point where the people of The Cartarets are now planning to evacuate to nearby Bougainville. It’s estimated their island will be unihabitable by 2015.
Phil spoke with Charlotte Sterrett, Climate Campaigner for Oxfam Australia, to find out more about the situation and what can be done. Listen to the interview.
Cities like Sydney and New York can shake their car culture and get people to walk and ride bikes. It can be done. It’s happened in Copenhagen. It’s even part of the Danish national health policy. Jan Gehl tells us all about it.
He also tells us about the transformation of the Melbourne CBD (thanks to his plans.)
More common sense and dry Scandinavian humour from the urban planning rock star.