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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.