Tag Archives: podcast

Peak oil: the world’s looming oil crisis

In case you hadnt noticed, the price of oil is on the march. And there’s analysts saying we’ll look back at 2008 in the years to come and think we were lucky. That petrol was cheap.

So what is happening with oil?

There’s no doubt the world’s demand for oil is increasing in a big way. What is in contention is the world’s supply.

A growing number of experts are saying we won’t be able to keep up with the world’s insatiable demand. And in fact, we’ve reached a tipping point. The term they’re using is ‘peak oil’.

In this interview, Michael Lardelli from the University of Adelaide sounds the alarm bells. Listen to the interview with Michael Lardelli on peak oil.

‘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.

Just add water (to food labels)

Here in Australia we know we should be watching how much water we use for things like showers, gardens and washing cars.

But really, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to how much water goes into the products we consume.

Now an Australian academic has proposed that the amount of water used in making food and other items be clearly shown on product labeling. Listen to the interview with James Hazelton.

To see how much water goes into making different products, check out www.waterfootprint.org.

Biofuels: blessing or curse?

In many developed countries food prices have skyrocketed. So much so there’s been riots and demonstrations in a range of countries from Cameroon and Senegal to Haiti, Mexico and Egypt.  One factor is believed to be the increasing use of crops to produce biofuels rather than food.

So is biofuel an important solution to our transport energy needs. Or is it creating problems the world doesn’t need?

To find out more about biofuels and the situation for biofuels in Australia, I spoke with the CSIRO’s biofuels expert Deborah O’Connell. I started by asking where biofuels come from.  Listen to the biofuels interview.

Grow your own says The Green Gardener

Josh Byrne is a presenter on the ABCs Garden Show. He’s also written a book called ‘The Green Gardener’.

Josh reckons people have seen the light and are now using their backyards to grow food. In this interview, he talks about how to go about grow your own, making your garden sustainable and the role of permaculture in his work. Listen to the Josh Byrne Green Gardener interview.

I caught up with Josh at the Australian Permaculture Convergence.

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.

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.