Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One last chance to save mankind - opinion - 23 January 2009 - New Scientist

One last chance to save mankind - opinion - 23 January 2009 - New Scientist

The New Scientist interviewed James Lovelock and he has an interesting take.

"James Lovelock is a British chemist, inventor and environmentalist. He is best known for formulating the controversial Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s, which states that organisms interact with and regulate Earth's surface and atmosphere."

During the interview he says:

"We have the example of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum event 55 million years ago. About the same amount of CO2 was put into the atmosphere as we are putting in and temperatures rocketed by about 5 °C over about 20,000 years."

"There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste - which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering - into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast."

"Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It's not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it'll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning."

You can read this article at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

SUPPORT Shark Swim Challenge

AUSMEPA's good friend and colleague has signed up for the Shark Swim Challenge – a fund raising challenge that will support shark conservation in Australia.

Alex will brave the rigours of an 18 day camping trip in South Africa. She will swim and work with whale sharks and great whites, including 3 days of shark conservation work.

Her goal is to raise $3,010 for the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, who undertake excellent shark conservation work for Australian sharks. Additional funds are needed to help cover the costs of the trip to southern Africa where I will swim and work with whale sharks and great whites, including 3 days of shark conservation work.

If you would like to support this remarkable woman or to find out more information click on the links below.

More Info on the challenge
More Info on Alex click here.
Making a tax deductable donation click here

And, if you are able to support her with in-kind assistance (e.g. raffle prizes, your time, etc) please contact her to discuss how you can help.

You can keep up to date with her challenge on the Alex Gaut Facebook page or on her webpage

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Clean Up Australia Day - Sunday 7 March 2010
Business Clean Up Day -Tuesday 2 March 2010
Schools Clean Up Day - Friday 5 March 2010

Taken from the CUA website:

"Every year, from Perth to Penrith, hundreds of thousands of Australians get stuck in and Clean Up their local environment by collecting and removing rubbish on Clean Up Australia Day. This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary and we hope to make it the biggest community event to date!"

"How to get involved. Clean Up Australia Day is fun, easy and everyone can get involved. Individuals and local groups can either choose their own site to Clean Up or volunteer at an existing site."

To find out how you can participate click on this link

Another way to help reduce plastic refuse getting out into the environment is to encourage a No Plastic Friday at your school or workplace.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre

If you are searching for marine education experiences in Tasmania, you should get in touch with Woodbridge MDC.

Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre is run by Tasmania’s Department of Education and provides a diversity of shore and sea-based education programs for all year groups.

Located on the shores of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, it owns a 13.5 metre research vessel fitted with a chart plotter, 3D seabed mapper and underwater camera and other new technologies.

The Centre representatives are Pam Elliott, Ros Asten and Tim Nossiter


How do you create marine education opportunities where there are none and how do you ensure that you make the experience the best it can be?

Firstly somebody has to come up with a great idea,design a solution and try it out. The first Marine Discovery Centre started in Woodbridge Tasmania. The idea took flight across the Tasman, landing in Victoria by the mid 1980's. And then it just kept going! Now Marine Discovery Centres Australia (MDCA) boasts a network of 10 across this vast coast.

• Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre in Tasmania
• Queenscliff Marine Discovery Centre in Victoria
• Henley Beach Marine Discovery Centre in South Australia
• Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury Western Australia
• Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre in Western Australia
• Bondi Beach Marine Discovery in New South Wales
• Ballina Marine Discovery Centre in New Sout Wales
• Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Eden, in New South Wales
• Adventure Education Marine Discovery Centre, Hastings Point, in New South Wales
• Thursday Island Marine Discovery Centre, Thursday Island in Queensland

Each center brings a tremendous educational ocean resource to its community and by grouping themselves into an alliance they add value to each others efforts. Each centre is different with some sited in schools while others are independent.

Ocean Whispers will bring you news about each of these wonderful centres during the year.

ADVENTURE EDUCATION Marine Discovery in Hastings Point NSW

Kerrie Trees invited AUSMEPA guest Fred Happy Eye, the Ambassador for Keeping Our Oceans Clean, to visit the astonishing Marine Discovery Centre museum and base for Adventure Education on the north coast of New South Wales.

Situated neatly within the North Star Caravan Park in the coastal village of Hastings Point, the Marine Discovery Centre resides on the upper level of the Seascape building within the Park. The array of realia and artifact displays are quite astounding. The Centre is punctuated by several small jewel-like living tanks and the entire space is like a movie set. The coloured lighting shows off the impressive coral reef display to perfection and large projectors have a flow of fascinating underwater themes that tie into various school programs. The centre hosts school camps, field trips and diving adventures. Students are challeneged to understand threats and impacts to the marine environment. They also workshop things everyone can do to help preserve diversity and natural systems through personal action and lateral thinking.

After examining a mystery object found on the shore (above) Fred was heard to remark in his inimitable style "Where's the action!". To his delight Kerrie got him out and about amongst the mangroves, rockpools and into the surf. (We could have guessed that!)

To find out more about the Adventure Education Hastings Point Marine Discovery Centre click here.

To find out more about Fred and his world travels promoting ocean conservation visit his blog SOAR

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Living on the Edge - Annual Marine Science Forum

Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre

Living on the Edge is the 2nd Annual Marine Science Forum and will be held on 20th & 21st March 2010 at the Eden Marine High School Hall, Eden, NSW. Presenters include:

Professor Patrick De Deckker, Associate Director Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU Presentation Title: “Deep-sea canyons offshore South Australia, taller than the Grand Canyon”

George D.F. (Buz) Wilson, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Museum
Presentation Title: “Untold numbers of species: Isopod Crustaceans on the deep-sea floor”

Dr John Paxton, Senior Fellow, Australian Museum, Sydney
Presentation Title: “Deep Sea Fishes: lanternfishes to whalefishes extraordinary animals in the world’s largest habitat”

Dr Rachel Przeslawski, Geoscience Australia
Presentation Title: “Life in the Intertidal Zone”

Professor Bill Maher, University of Canberra
Presentation Title: “How Pristine is the Pristine South Coast?”

Simon Mustoe (CEnvP, MEIANZ). Director, AES Applied Ecology Solutions.
Presentation Title: “Why I should give a flying f**sh, about what happens to seabirds off the Sapphire Coast!”

For more information click here


National Seaweek is a longtime tradition with schools around Australia and AUSMEPA is a proud sponsor of the Marine Education Society of Australasia (MESA).

This year the theme is OCEANS OF LIFE; ours to explore, ours to restore. Seaweek is set for the first week in March 2010 although all are invited to pick up and take it further at any time of the year.

On the website you will find some interesting general information about oceans, who owns the sea and what are major threats to it. Healthy oceans are vital to our health. The Big Blue provides us with important environmental services and one of those is production of most of the oxygen that allows people to breathe!

I highly recommend that you take a good look at the articles and fact sheets available on the MESA website: There is still time to put your thinking cap on and create an activity to celebrate our Oceans of Life. What will you do?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SUMMER BY THE SEA along the coast of VICTORIA

Every once in awhile somebody comes up with a brilliant idea and the timing is right so that it actually is born despite the pitfalls of bureaucracy. In 1995 a state government program, Coast Action, introduced an innovative program using established community expertise to interact with the public. It aimed to raise awareness and highlight action for marine and coastal conservation on a rather grand scale. Taking advantage of summer school holidays when most families are out enjoying some time in the sun the Summer by the Sea program was put into place.

Formula for success? You betcha and soon the national program CoastCare joined with Coast Action to make it even better, offering even more opportunities and extra support for community groups. Most activities are provided for free or for a minimal charge.

Although Summer by the Sea has gone through many iterations large and small this gem of an idea has provided thousands of families with a host of wonderful opportunities to get out and learn about their local environments. The concept has drawn on the expertise and action of private contractors and active environmental community associations to deliver wide ranging activities that anyone can participate in. Having fun and learning about the ocean and coasts for free, could there be anything better?

If you are in Victoria during January 2010 you should go out of your way to take the family along and have some fun while supporting this excellent initiative. If you live somewhere else you should be asking why you don't have a similar program!

For the full booklet of Summer by the Sea January 2010 activities click here

To speak with a Coast Action/CoastCare facilitator click here

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons' - Times Online

photo from Dolphin Research Institute

Excerpt from the article by Times Online
"Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

"Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence."

"The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year."

As you might guess this article has pricked up the ears of more than a few folk. Do animals have to be intelligent to warrant our attention? Does being 'smart' provide a protection/shield for our flippered friends? Does intelligence define what needs to be conserved?

Whatever your opinion on dolphins it is important to remember that as long as we are committed to finding and using sustainable solutions for healthy oceans then we are protecting the environment that we both need in order to exist.

If you want to know more about dolphins you might like to contact the following marine education organisations in Australia:
Dolphin Discovery (Western Australia) Adopt a dolphin
Dolphin Research Institute (Victoria) Adopt a dolphin