Category Archives: Oceans

environmental issues and stories around oceans

First World polluters could save Third World trees: deforestation proposal at Poznan

Plenty of hot air at the UN Climate Change Conference Poznan Poland

It’s less than a year until the major UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen – where the nations of the world are meant to settle on an agreement that will take us the next step on from the Kyoto Protocol. In the lead-up to Copenhagen, nations have been meeting at Poznan in Poland to prepare the ground.

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Why Australia has the best beaches (from the man who’s been to every one)

Maroubra Beach, Sydney, Australia

Theres one person whos been to every beach in Australia – all 12,000 of them. It’s Professor Andy Short, Director of the Coastal Studies Unit at the University of Sydney. In this interview Andy explains how he came to visit every one and why Australia has the world’s best beaches – by far.

Audio: Interview with Prof Andrew Short on why Australia’s beaches are best.

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National Surfing Reserves: Australia recognises its iconic surf sites

Lennox Head locals and the National Surfing Reserves Australia Committee

Not that long ago, surfing was seen as a renegade sport in Australia. In the early 60’s, surfers were even required to have a license to use some beaches. Just how far things have come can be seen in the establishment of a number of ‘National Surfing Reserves’ in recent years.

Audio: Interview with Andrew Short on Australia’s Surfing Reserves.

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‘Sharkwater’ will change how you think of sharks

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.

Cataret Islands: world’s first climate change refugees?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Paul Watson: eco-terrorist or eco-hero?

Sea Shepherd tangle with Japanese Whalers in the Antarctic

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:

Paul Watson

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.

Kayaker explains why he paddled from Australia to NZ

James Castrission discusses: why they did it, the highs and lows of the trip, his sea legs, what he and his partner Justin Jones missed most from their old lives, and how they felt about hitting dry land. Why they did it and the highs and lows (Catrission 1)

Castrission speaks by satellite phone in an exclusive interview about the expedition to be the first to cross the Tasman Sea – from Australia to New Zeland with kayaking partner Justin Jones. At the time of the interview, James and Justin were out on the Tasman, 115 kilmetres short of NZ. A few kilometres later, they were to sight Mt Taranaki in New Zealand and paddle non-stop, flat out to reach their goal. This was their last interview in the midst of their journey.