Author Archives: Phil

Sea Shepherd captain claims he was shot by Japanese whalers

Paul Watson claims he was hit by a bullet during the latest clash with whalers in Antarctic waters. Read more.

But the Japanese deny the claim. Read more.

For more on whaling and Watson, check out past Environment Show stories.

Meanwhile, there’s talk of Japan halting its “scientific” whaling in the Antarctic in return for a resumption of commercial whaling off its own coast. Read more.

Jan Gehl – the urban planning rock star (part 2)

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.

The ‘urban planning rock star’ changing city environments around the world

Wall to wall vehicles. Thats how Jan Gehl describes Sydney’s CBD. He says Sydney has squandered its beauty and it’s time something was done about it.

Professor Gehl was commissioned by the City of Sydney to re-think its centre. He’s proposed to divert cars and give streets back to the people. Sound radical? His plans have been implemented in other cities like Copenhagen and Melbourne, and surprise, they’ve made life heaps better. And, interestingly, not just for people. Businesses have thrived too.

Check this interview out – Jan’s quite a character. No wonder he’s been called an ‘urban planning rock star’.

His next commission, by the way, is to develop a plan for New York City.

Major parties fail the green test

What do green groups think of Peter Garrett? I asked the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Campaign Director, Denise Boyd. The interview followed ACF’s analysis of the environment policies of Australia’s political parties. Both major parties, including Garrett’s Labor party, failed the test.

Listen to this independent rating of our political parties.

The interview was just prior to the election last year. Following the success of Labor in the election, Peter Garrett has become Australia’s Environment Minister.

(If you’re reading this from outside Australia, you may know Garrett as the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil. After many years of activism on environmental issues, including a stint as head of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Garrett re-invented himself as a politician.)

Community supported agriculture: a new way to get your fruit and veg

Ever dreamed of having your own farm? Don’t have the capital, the time or the expertise? Here’s a way for you have a direct connection with a farm and still live in the city.

It’s called ‘community supported agriculture’ and it’s rapidly growing in the U.S. Under the scheme, you pay the CSA farmer up front for a season. Not only do you get a regular box of produce, you can also get involved in the farm, help pick the fruit and vegies, and take your kids out there to show them where their food comes from.

Many of these farms also use organic practices and some biodynamics.

John Peterson has a successful organic CSA farm in the Mid-West of the U.S.. He had quite a ride with his family farm, almost losing the lot before he switched to CSA farming some years ago. John has documented his life and struggles in a great film entitled ‘The Real Dirt on Farmer John’.

I interviewed Farmer John about community supported agriculture when he came out to promote his doco. Listen to the Farmer John interview. You can find out more about the farm and find the film at: http://www.angelicorganics.com/ The film is worth tracking down. Margaret Pomeranz gave it 4 stars.

Do we need desalination when rain goes down the drain?

Is desalination the answer to the water shortages in Australian cities when we waste so much water? Or do we need the desal “insurance policy” for our water supply as the politicans say?

I spoke with Kate Noble, sustainable cities campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, to find out. Listen to the desalination interview with Kate Noble.

Many state governments in Australia are well on the way to building desalination plants. The New South Wales and Victorian governments are forging ahead and the Western Australian government already has its plant in operation.

Why won’t the government seriously back rainwater tanks?

Bucketloads of water went down the drain in the last few weeks here. Wouldn’t it be good if people collected it? Isn’t that water better than any stuff that might be recycled from poo. Or taken from the ocean? Or pumped from a dam with an algal bloom in it?

I spoke to Sam McGuiness from the Nature Conservation Council to find out why governments won’t seriously get behind rainwater tanks. I mean so we’ve all got one and we stop loosing good water we’re going to need in the near future. Listen to the water tank interview with Sam McGuiness.

Dr Karl: clean coal is a furphy

Dr Karl gets down and dirty on ‘clean coal’. Is it a furphy? A key part of clean coal is burying CO2 under ground. Isn’t this the kind of thinking that got us in this mess in the first place? Listen to the Clean Coal Dr Karl interview.

Howard ignored climate change and lost: election day vox pops

The previous conservative government in Australia may well have been the first in the world to have lost office because it ignored climate change (and refused to sign the Kyoto protocol.)

The day of the election at the end of 2007, I went to a polling both to gauge the mood of the people – for change generally and to check the importance of the environment in their decision making. Listen here to what they had to say: election day vox pops.

The booth was at Sydney’s Bondi Beach in the contentious seat of Wentworth. Wentworth was held by Malcolm Turnbull – who was at that stage Environment Minister.

Byron Bay: nature has more in store

Ever been to Byron Bay? I have, just recently. And each year hordes of international visitors and Australians go there. Why wouldn’t you? Nature has carved out one of the most brilliant, beautiful coastal niches in the world.

But most visitors would be oblivious to the fact nature hasn’t quite finished its work there. And with climate change, it may be working overtime to bring some changes which may be a tad unwelcome – particularly for the rich folk who’ve built their designer houses right on the sand dunes. I spoke to Australia’s leading coastal expert Professor Bruce Thom (of the Wentworth Group of Scientists) to explore what nature has in store for Byron. Listen to the Byron Bay – Bruce Thom interview.

An important listen if you’re going to spent some time at Byron in the future.