Category Archives: Sustainability

The End of the Line screening again

Next week there is another screening of the documentary The End of the Line at the Mercury Cinema. It is being presented by the Adelaide branch of the Greens SA. The issues covered are particularly relevant to the campaign for Marine Parks in SA, see Greens MP Mark Parnell’s site, or the Wilderness Society, whose campaign manager Peter Owen will be available to answer questions after the screening.

From the filmmaker’s website:

The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Sundance took place in Park City, Utah, January 15-25, 2009.

In the film we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food.

It examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.

Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.

One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo – on the trail of those destroying the world’s magnificent bluefin tuna population.

Filmed across the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market – featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world.

Andrew L Urban:

Helped enormously by a wonderfully rich score, The End of the Line presents its arguments cogently and without hysteria – but alarmingly. Clearly, apart from plain bureaucratic stupidity, money (ie greed) is what’s at the end of the line; a small number of operators are making multi million dollar harvests. And no-one is saying stop, except perhaps those who made this film. But there is a glimmer of hope …

Roger Ebert:

“The End of the Line,” directed by Rupert Murray, based on a book by Charles Clover, is constructed from interviews with many experts, a good deal of historical footage, and much incredible footage from under the sea, including breathtaking vistas of sea preserves, where the diversity of species can be seen to grow annually. We once thought of the sea as limitless bounty. I think I may even have heard that in school. But those fantasies are over.


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Zero Carbon 2020 Stationary Energy Plan – Adelaide Launch

The Beyond Zero Emissions organisation have developed a plan to meet Australia’s energy needs using renewable energy and only making use of existing technology. You can read details here or hear about it at the Adelaide launch which is to be held at Elder Hall at the University of Adelaide on Friday December 3rd at 6pm. Event details here. The featured speakers are

  • Mark Ogge, Communications Director at Beyond Zero Emissions and originator of the Zero Carbon Australia concept
  • Cr Eddie Hughes, Whyalla City Council
  • A/Prof. John Spoehr, Economist, University of Adelaide
  • Patrick Hearps, lead author Zero Carbon Australia Plan

The End of the Line at the Mercury Cinema

The End of the Line is on this weekend and next weekend at the Mercury Cinema, screening details here.

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some related reading:

George Monbiot on the failure to protect Bluefin Tuna

Those who opposed suspending trade in the species argued that the temporary ban proposed by Monaco would devastate their fishing industries. There is some truth in this: for the years in which bluefin stocks would have been allowed to recover, the export ban would have put people out of work and reduced the output of their industry. But the absence of a ban ensures that, after one or two more seasons of fishing at current levels, all the jobs and the entire industry are finished forever, along with the magnificent species that supported them. The insistence that the fishing can continue without consequences betrays Olympic-class denial, a flat refusal to look reality in the face.

The classic case study in fishery collapse – the Grand Banks (from Wikipedia)

The cod catch peaked in 1968 at 810,000 tons, approximately three times more than the maximum yearly catch achieved before the super-trawlers. Approximately 8 million tons of cod were caught between 1647 and 1750, a period encompassing 25 to 40 cod generations. The factory trawlers took the same amount in 15 years.[5]

The industry collapsed entirely in the early 1990s owing to overfishing and debatably, greed, lack of foresight and poor local administration.[6] By 1993 six cod populations had collapsed, forcing a belated moratorium on fishing.[5] Spawning biomass had decreased by at least 75% in all stocks, by 90% in three of the six stocks, and by 99% in the case of ‘northern’ cod, previously the largest cod fishery in the world.[5]

After a 10 year moratorium on fishing the cod had still not returned.[7] It is likely that the local ecosystem has changed, one example being that greater numbers of capelin, which used to provide food for the cod, now eat the juvenile cod.[citation needed] The waters now appear to be dominated by crab and shrimp rather than fish.[7]

Festival of Ideas: Recommended Listening

Radio Adelaide have started broadcasting recordings of sessions from the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and many are now available for download, all of the details are here.

I would like to make some recommendations based on session I attended, or have downloaded and listened to. I will update this as I listen to more of them, though I don’t expect to get through all of them, so don’t read anything into the absence of a session from my list. All broadcasts are on 101.5 FM in Adelaide. Also, all sessions are available on cd from Radio Adelaide. All downloads are in mp3 format.

Updated 12/7

  • High and Dry: John Howard, Climate Change and the Selling of Australia’s future with Guy Pearse. A compelling account of the Howard government’s failure on the issue of climate change from a Liberal party insider. To be broadcast on Wednesday July 18 at 12 noon, or download it (17.0MB).
  • Drought Proofing Australia: Heroic Fantasies and Sobering Realities with Peter Cullen. An account of Australia’s water situation from a top expert who is also an excellent speaker who tells it straight. Download it (15.9MB).
  • The Joy MacLennan Oration – Beyond the Long Age of Forgetting with Simon Longstaff. I managed to completely overlook this one on the weekend so I’m glad it was available for download. Longstaff very eloquently pinpoints the substitution of institutional tradition for ethical thinking as a key problem in our society. Download it (16.6MB).
  • Trading places with John Connell, John Buchanan, Tim Harcourt, Colleen Ryan. This one didn’t leap out at me, in fact I wasn’t entirely clear on what it would be about, but it turned out to be probably my favourite group session which I attended. The reason is that I felt that the speakers all has something different to contribute, but it all fit in well with the overall topic, which was essentially the future of trade. Download it (29.3MB).
  • What to Eat: Personal Responsibility vs Social Responsibility with Marion Nestle. An excellent speaker on a topic which effects us all on a daily basis, giving the insight that comes with being at the forefront of the fight for good nutrition in the USA (listen for how she “hurt sugar’s feelings”). Very entertaining and informative. Download it. (15.8MB)
  • Lifting the lid on whistle-blowing with Julian Morrow, Guy Pearse, Norman Swan, Marian Wilkinson, Paul Chadwick (PC). This one was full and I couldn’t get in but now I’ve had a chance to listen to it. A fascinating, and important topic with an impressive and diverse group of speakers … I probably should have realised that it would be popular. Download it. (31.8MB)
  • Mumbo-Jumbo, Snake Oil and Other Delusions with Francis Wheen. I plan to soon write a post about some of the ideas in this one, which is an amusing summary of the main ideas of the speakers latest book about the resurgence of superstition at the expense of critical thinking. Download it. (16.6MB)
  • Survival of the Fittest, Survival of the Richest or Survival of the Thinnest with Norman Swan. The ABC’s medical expert gives an interesting perspective on the factors affecting life expectancy. This has already been broadcast, so if you want to hear it you have to download it. (16.6MB)
  • Troubling times: Dissent and democracy in Australia with Sarah Maddison. Details the approach of the Howard government to dealing with dissent and the implications for democracy. Recommended for anyone who’s views have been dismissed as those of a “Howard Hater”. To be broadcast on Sunday August 26 at 12 noon. Download it. (14.9MB)

More Recommended Reading

Just catching up on reading through my links on my day off, there’s a few things I’d like to recommend:

  • Phil at Spinopsys has posted an interesting video about the high cost of free parking.
  • Tim Lambert has been exposing the lies about DDT for ages, but his recent posts on the matter have been particularly good as he follows the money to find out where the “Rachel Carson is responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans” claim so beloved of anti-environmentalists came from.
  • John Quiggin has written an excellent review of Clive Hamilton’s new book. The review serves as a concise history of the Howard government’s approach to climate change. Via Blogocracy.
  • Nexus 6 finds that the Oz are very carefully targeting their advertising.
  • Mark Diesendorf will be in Adelaide speaking about “Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy” this Thursday.
  • Greens MLC Mark Parnell wants the SA Government to stop BHP’s free ride.
  • The Denialism bloggers have a couple of great posts about cranks, first there is the how to guide , and then a case study – someone who will be familiar to readers of this blog, Alexander Cockburn. Also, you may have missed this link in an update to an old post, so here it is again: the Cockburn vs Monbiot debate.

That’s it for now, but I’ll get around to writing something myself some time soon.

Open Day at the Food Forest

The Food Forest at Gawler are having an open day this Sunday April 15, here is the press release:

An incredible range of  fresh organic food will be available for tasting at an Open Day at The Food Forest permaculture farm and learning centre at Gawler on Sunday 15 April.
The property is home to some 150 varieties of fruit, nuts, vegetables and herbs and autumn is harvest time! Apart from freshly pressed apple juice and the perennially delicious pistachios, the unique flavour of the desert-dwelling jojoba bean and the extraordinary taste of carobs will remind the public that they are visiting one of Australia’s most amazing farms. The Food Forest uses a fraction of the water and the energy that normally goes into producing a kilo of food, basically through intelligent garden and farm design, which includes recycling water through reedbeds.
Another clever technique on display is building with straw bales; there will be a builder, an  architect and an engineer who specialize in straw bale construction to lead visitors around the display buildings which also feature solar hot water, photovoltaic power and passive solar design. 
Permaculture design, organic gardening, food self sufficiency and how to keep chooks in the suburbs, add to the smorgasbord of sustainable tricks on the 15 hectare urban farm.
Visitors will be able to meet the management team which was recognised in the Nature Foundation Awards as running  SA’s top small business for Environmental Responsibility and Leadership; this follows the Premier’s Food Award for Leadership through Sustainable Industry and the Organic Federation’s Best Organic Producer in Australia. 

The Open Day will be in two parts, with Strawbale Building Information from 10am sharp-1pm  ($15) and Permaculture talks and inspections from 2pm sharp –5pm ($10). Visitors can also purchase a full-day ticket ($20) and bring a picnic lunch. Children under 16 free. Organic produce will be for sale.
The address: Clifford Rd, Hillier. Phone 85 226450

I’ve been wanting to check it out for some time, so this sounds like the perfect opportunity.