Category Archives: Leaders

Leaders, heroes, politicians and people making a mark in the environment and sustainability.

Michael Reynolds – inspiring words from the maverick eco architect

Michael Reynolds was the focus of the award-winning film ‘Garbage Warrior’ – a documentary about his 40 year struggle to build sustainable houses.

The Environment Show recently interviewed Reynolds as part of our new series on environment leaders. We found so many great Reynolds quotes in our research, we thought we’d compile them for good keeping. (We couldn’t bear to let them get away.)

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The Fall Of An Environmental Leader: Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed

Who is Mohamed Nasheed and why does he matter?

Until last week Nasheed was President of The Maldives – a string of 1200 tiny islands in the Indian Ocean where the average elevation is just 5 feet above sea level.

After Nasheed came to office in 2008, he made world headlines when he declared the Maldives was in the market for a new homeland for its doomed population – given predictions of sea level rise due to global warming.

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David Holmgren: Permaculture Is The Answer to Peak Oil

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.

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.

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.