Fresh from its gig in Paris, the Bicycle Film Festival is about to start the Australian leg of its world tour. First stop Sydney this Friday and Saturday night, 14 and 15 November. Then onto Melbourne from 21 to 23 November.
Video: Have a sneak peek at ‘Perfect Circle’ – featuring Matthew Modine. (Many of the films in the festival are shorts.)
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.
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.
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.
This is a review of the Sean Penn film Into the Wild. You may be interested in this one if you’ve ever had the itch to ditch your hum-drum routine and see the world. The real world. It includes an interview with author Jon Krakauer who wrote the original book.
Another year begins and whaling is in the news again, with two activist groups disrupting the activities of Japanese whaling vessels.
Both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd argue the Japanese whalers are carrying out commercial operations in what has been designated by Australia as a whale sanctuary. But the Japanese don’t recognise Australia’s territorial claim or the sanctuary and continue to argue strongly their culling of whales is for scientific purposes, a line that’s hotly contested by the green groups.
I’ve been following the whaling story for awhile and have been intrigued by the sheer determination of the Japanese fishing fleet to continue whaling despite strong opposition from many quarters, including Australia, a nation that would normally be an ally of Japan.
I spoke to Junichi Sato, Oceans Project Leader for Greenpeace Japan, to get a better understanding of why these Japanese are so hell-bent on whaling.
Paul Watson is a man on a mission. He has played a leading role in alerting the world to what he calls the illegal actvities of Japanese whalers. In 2007 I spoke by satellite phone to Paul in the Antarctic, the day after his ship the Farley Mowatt had chased down and collided with a Japanese whaling vessel. Click on the link above to play this podcast.
Following is a link to an emotive video posted by Watson’s organisation Sea Shepherd on YouTube. It explains where he’s coming from:
Wikipedia sums up some opposing views on Watson:
“Paul Watson has been denounced as an ecoterrorist. Some former colleagues in Greenpeace have distanced themselves from him. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jim Bohlen, one of the founders of Greenpeace, said: ‘I’ve known the guy for 15 years, and he’s absolutely insane’.”
“Thus far, all attempts at prosecuting Watson have failed. Watson defends his actions as falling within international law and Sea Shepherd’s right to enforce maritime regulations against illegal whalers.”
What’s the latest? Well, the new Rudd government in Australia appears to be taking Watson’s outcries more seriously, recently sending a large Australian Customs vessel to monitor the Japanese whalers and gather evidence which may be used in international courts against them.
There’s more on the new Australian government’s stance in this ABC story just prior to Christmas. Click here.
Expect to see Paul’s ship tangling again with the Japanese on a TV screen near you. They’re down there now. How he finds them, I don’t know. Next interview.