Sunday, February 23, 2014

FISH AND PEOPLE; a new educational series for students and teachers

Fish and People is a 5 module video education series with accompanying lesson plans and teaching resources developed using animation to visualise invisible life cycle and fishery management concepts. While the original target audience was the high school system in the Solomon Islands and PNG, F & P is proving popular with a much broader range of audiences across the Indo Pacific. The program's plain language style and engaging motion graphic explanations span introductory life cycle explanations through to first year university level marine ecology and fisheries biology concepts. F & P also covers the processes that underpin the importance and function of spawning aggregations: (e.g. larval dispersal, size at maturity, fecundity etc.). 

Based on an original idea by Simon Foale, and co-written with Russell Kelley who developed and directed the program's engaging graphical storytelling, Fish and People overcomes the communication problem created by the invisibility of much of the life cycle associated with coral reef species.  Fish and People is a comprehensive animated explanation of: (1) reef species life cycles, (2) larval dispersal / planktonic concepts, (3) population biology processes, and, (4) the application of the above to fishery and marine protected area management. 

Fish and People's exquisite motion graphics and best practice communication design are supported by teacher lesson plans for each of the modules. 

You can get a quick fix of the scope and style of the motion graphic storytelling by watching Module 4 here:

Module 4 Fish and People: Larval Lifeboats Near and Far. from Wally Bee on Vimeo.

You can see all the movies in the Fish and People Vimeo channel here:

You can download a table of contents for the 5 modules here:


Friday, February 14, 2014

AUSMEPA's Call for a Voluntary Commitment to Save the Seas

The Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) was launched on 13 July 2000 at Newstead House; on the banks of the Brisbane River.

A declaration of a voluntary commitment ‘to save the seas' was signed by a number of individuals representing a wide range of shipping industry, government and non government organisations who were committed to protecting Australia's precious marine environment. 

AUSMEPA's commitment to the fundamental truths outlined below is evidenced by the fact that to this day, despite the passing of nearly14years, five of the original signatories remain on the Advisory Group. 

AUSMEPA would like to send out a call to all Australians to join them and consider declaring their own commitment to the marine environment as the hub of life, past, present and future, to recognize and act on sustainable solutions for keeping our oceans clean and healthy.

To Save the Seas – Declaration of a Voluntary Commitment
The Oceans are the cradle of life but are seriously endangered by human action and inaction. Pollution is the most serious threat and current environmental efforts and regulations alone are inadequate to control it. Accordingly, special additional efforts are urgently needed to remove this threat and save the seas; furthermore
Australia is blessed with one of the largest coastlines in the world, with an abundance of precious marine resources, with an almost endless array of fine beaches, and with the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site, considered to be one of the wonders of nature: therefore
Believing that protection of the marine environment generally, and Australia's marine environment specifically, and the use of the oceans, the land-sea interface, and the exploitation of ocean resources are compatible, providing that humanity exercises care, restraint and understanding; and
Confirming that the protection of the world's environment requires the highest moral commitment that must take precedence over, but is compatible with, trade, commerce and development:
We, as a group of concerned Australians. From all sectors of the community, involved in all occupations, trades and professions in the private and public sectors and ranging from school age to seniors, but totally united in a commitment to protect Australia's precious marine environment, sincerely believe that;
(a) An ethic based on respect and care for the Earth is the foundation of sustainable living and that developments should not take place at the expense of other groups or later generations, nor threaten the survival of other species;
(b) The benefits and costs or resource use and environmental conservation should be shared equitably among different communities and between our generation and those who will come after us;
(c) Development must be conservation-oriented and must protect the structure, function and diversity of the world's natural systems, on which we depend. To do this, we need to conserve life-support systems, which are the ecological processes that keep the earth fit for life and which shape climate, cleanse air and water, regulate water flow, recycle essential elements, create and re-generate soil and beaches, and enable ecosystems to renew themselves;
(d) To adopt an ethic for sustainable living, humanity must re-examine its values, alter its behaviour by not taking the environment for granted, and promote values that support this ethic and discourage those that are incompatible with the sustainable way of life;
(e) Information must be disseminated and environmental consciousness increased through formal and informal education, consultation, training and all kinds and types of networks, so that needed environmental actions are as widely and fully understood as possible;
(f) In Australia, federal and state government rules and regulations, intended to protect the environment generally, and the marine environment specifically, can be augmented, complemented and strengthened by voluntary action at all levels of the community, in order that the nation's lands, coasts, waters and seas are better protected from pollution and other environmental damage;
(g) Australians, with their appreciation of nature, water and the oceans, and their commitment to fairness, cooperation and equity, are capable of providing regional and global leadership in efforts to better protect precious environ mental and marine resources.
Accordingly, we, as concerned Australians, voluntary commit ourselves to increase local, regional, national and global efforts to reduce pollution and deterioration of the environment generally, and the marine environment specifically.
We furthermore declare:
  1. That we strongly support the global efforts to protect the environment as developed by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP);; the aims and efforts of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); and the World Conservation Union (IUCN); the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO); the notable goals of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED; all combined to achieve the overall environmental goals set out in the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, entitled Our Common Future.
  2. That we pledge our fullest commitment to comply with all local, state, federal, regional and international conventions, laws, regulations, directions and guidelines addressing the protection of the environment, that are promulgated in Australia, and that we will make every effort possible to encourage others to do likewise.
  3. That we pledge to advise and urge the various levels of government in Australia to give environmental protection the highest appropriate priority in terms of legislation and resources, and to promptly accept and comply with all international environment obligations
  4. That we pledge our expertise, knowledge, influence, energies and resources to raise the environmental consciousness of the Australian maritime sector specifically, and of all Australians generally, so as to provide leadership as part of the global effort to combine environmental regulation and voluntary will to generally reduce and eventually eliminate all types of pollution and other environmental deterioration.
  5. That we pledge to make a special effort to raise environmental concern and consciousness in Australia's primary and secondary school system as we believe strongly that the future generation must provide the leadership and face environmental problems with a much better understanding and commitment than previous generations.
  6. That we pledge to follow the positive example already developed in a number of other countries, which have established similar voluntary marine environment protection associations, such as that being initiated here. Leadership in this has been provided by the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA), established in 1981 in Greece, which has not only set the precedent for the effectiveness of voluntary efforts, but has also initiated and supported similar efforts in Cyprus (CYMEPA); Turkey (TURMEPA); the Philippines (PHILMEPA); and Uruguay (URUMEPA);
  7. That in order to accomplish these goals, we pledge to support the initiatives contained in thisDeclaration to Save the Seas that establishes the Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA),as well as the AUSMEPA Marine Pollution Action Plan, that provides the basis of our planned activities, wherever applicable and wherever our support is appropriate and necessary.
That in order to attain viable results, we, a group of concerned Australians, have produced and signed this our Declaration, as an initial effort to provide new directions for the protection of Australia's marine environment and invite all concerned Australians to become involved in this voluntary initiative by supporting the Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) in whatever way possible.
Declared at Newstead House, Brisbane on this Day the 13th July 2000
Signed & Sealed by:
Gregory B McGarvie
Marine Teachers Association of Queensland
Lachlan Payne
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Shipowners Association
Captain Steve Pelecanos
Australian Marine Pilots Association
Rhondda Alexander
Global Shipping Services Pty. Ltd.
Dr. Michael White
Principal, Maritime Law,
University of Queensland
Lefteris Mastrocostas
MB Ocean Services & Co Pty Ltd
Neil Baird
Managing Director
Baird Publications
Michael Alexander
Nautilus Shipping Australia

Special Endorsement

The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA), established in 1982 as the world's first private sector voluntary marine environment protection association, provided a precedent and inspiration for AUSMEPA's foundation. HELMEPA is particularly pleased in being able to endorse this Declaration and Action Plan, which further strengthens and enhances global commitment to environmental protection
Captain Dimitris Mitsatsos
Director General
Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association
Dr. Edgar Gold
Huestis Ritch
Honorary HELMEPA Member
Commander Ken McBride
Royal Australian Navy
Captain John Watkinson
Executive Director (Maritime)
Queensland Transport
Edward Anson
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Captain John Watkinson
Executive Director (Maritime)
Queensland Transport
Debbie Best
Director, Secondary Schools
Education Queensland
Clive Davidson
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Dr. Ken Moss
Managing Director
Howard Smith Towage Pty. Ltd.
Michael Julian
Marine Environment Protection Committee
International Maritime Organization
Anthe Philippides
Maritime Law Association of Australia & New Zealand
Bob Moffatt
Marine Education Society of Queensland
Cr. Kevin Bianchi
Representative of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Brisbane City Council

Memorandum of Cooperation

On Monday 5th June 2000 at Piraeus, Greece a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between The Australian and Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Associations.
The two MEPAS pledged to join forces and work together to achieve the common goals outlined in the HELMEPA and AUSMEPA Declarations of Voluntary Commitment ‘To Save the Seas'
The Memorandum of Cooperation was signed jointly by Mr. Peter Livanos, Chairperson of HELMEPA and Mr. Gregory McGarvie, Chairperson of AUSMEPA.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Balloons and Fireworks, worth the cost to the receiving waters?

NYE Melbourne 2014 Photo courtesy of Bob Winters, Educating Options

Who doesn't love colourful fireworks and balloons. They are enchanting, they frighten and excite. They are both symbols of youthful joy and celebration and yet there is a darker side.

Australia is known throughout the world for it's wonderful New Years Eve displays, massive and awe inspiring. It would be hard to enjoy the celebration quite as much knowing that people and our environment are being put at risk. 

Emily Sohn in ABC Science Discovery News here shares information from researchers that everyone immediately downwind of a pyrotechnic display is exposed to toxic metals that can become poisonous when heated.

Modelling could show us where the wind will blow these pyrotechnic wastes are deposited and we already know that wherever they land they will, in the course of time, make their way to the sea. They will fall on roofs and roads, washed into stormwater drains or be deposited directly into our waterways causing unknown damage. It is good to hear now that new greener alternatives are available - let your local event organisers know.

Beautiful balloons, too, are nasty customers once they make their way into the sea. As with other plastics they appear as tasty tidbits to many marine denizens. Dead turtles commonly have balloons clogging their digestion, causing starvation and death.

We can share the love and still prevent the death of our ocean icons. Remind your party organisers to keep balloons on a leash and never release them into the air. 

Let's keep our oceans clean.

HERMAN THE SEA CUCUMBER; sands of change

The winner of the 2013 PEOPLE’S CHOICE Bommies Award here, for the video that received the greatest number of LIKES (1,373) from the general public, is Kennedy Wolfe for his video: “Probing Sea Cucumbers for the Answers to Climate Change” 

Probing Sea Cucumbers for the Answers to Climate Change BY Kennedy Wolfe 
entry for the 2013 People's Choice Bommies Award