tagged w/ Australia
In the Great Southern Region of Western Australia is a hidden gem. Every Saturday on Collie Street in Albany a bunch of local farmers can be found selling their own produce from the local area. No produce from outside the Great Southern Region or produce of other people is allowed to be on-sold.
A fantastic range of organic products is on offer with new stuff appearing every week. It all looks and tastes fantastic too. Recently I went for a couple days break down to Albany and sampled some of these local delights and was very impressed. Growing up eating our own family produce I was usually pretty unimpressed with a lot of the food I encountered outside of my own patch, so when I discovered this fine tucker I was delighted. "You little ripper", I thought to myself, "now this is a bloody market, probably the best in Australia!
Food tastes better and other produce like flowers look fantastic when it hasn't been carted halfway around the planet, utterly processed, freeze dried, strangled, maimed or tortured. If you'd only been there to see the hypnotic deep reds, greens, yellows and other magic colours that drew me like a strong magnetic field into their cool and loving embrace. I ate it all so you'll have to just look at these pictures I found on their website.
http://www.albanyfarmersmarket.com.au/In the Great Southern Region of Western Australia is a hidden gem. Every Saturday on... more
State College, Pa. - AccuWeather reports one month away from the official start of summer, much of western Australia is experiencing an early preview of the heat to come.
A strong area of high pressure overhead coupled with warm easterly winds have accelerated temperatures to several degrees above normal for the past few days with more warmth slated for the weekend.
According to data obtained by AccuWeather, the industrial port of Dampier reported temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) for each of the past three days and the more populous coastal city of Perth experienced above-average high temperatures for each of the past five days.
The peak of the current heat wave will arrive on Saturday. High pressure to the south will send hot air from the arid desert region of the east toward the coast and bring near-record temperatures to Perth.
AccuWeather meteorologists are forecasting a high of 92 degrees F (33 degrees C) for Saturday. Average high temperatures for Perth, even during the peak of summer heat in January and February, do not exceed 89 degrees F (31 degrees C).
By Sunday, the heat will temporarily relax as winds shift around to the southwest, forcing cooler air from the Indian Ocean into the area. Forecast high temperatures Sunday through Tuesday are near seasonal averages.
Unfortunately, computer models hint at an even stronger heat wave for the middle and end of next week as high pressure re-develops to the east and southeast winds return. High temperatures for Wednesday and Thursday of next week are again forecast to climb above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C).State College, Pa. - AccuWeather reports one month away from the official start of... more
The last few days the papers have been full of stories on child abuse. It’s awful that it’s so prevalent, but I’m so happy to be seeing it in the papers. I’m so glad that we’re starting to talk about it. We’re starting to acknowledge that it exists. We’re no longer content to just sweep it under the carpet and think that if we just ignore it, that it will be like it never happened.The last few days the papers have been full of stories on child abuse. It’s... more
australia, Chile gay pride, church sex abuse, CIA, FBI probe, FEMA, Gen. David Petraeus, Gorillas, Occupy Wall Street, Sgt. Robert Bales, Tower of London, U.S. zoos, Venice 'high water' floodsaustralia, Chile gay pride, church sex abuse, CIA, FBI probe, FEMA, Gen. David... more
“Somewhere” is a short film created by FMS, featuring a CG pig for the animal cruelty prevention charity, Animals Australia. The CG pig, named Peanut, takes viewers to a real factory farm before she sings “Somewhere” and flies to freedom.
There are many things in this world we are powerless to change, but this is not one of them. We all know how horrible factory farming is by now, and at the very least we owe all animals raised for food, a decent quality of life and protection from cruel treatment. This campaign encourages retailers, producers and consumers to work together to ensure the ethical care of animals.
This piece includes photographs and the CG short film.
http://disembedded.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/somewhere-pigs-fly-and-sing-with-chickens/“Somewhere” is a short film created by FMS, featuring a CG pig for the... more
The world's largest dinosaur footprint has quite possibly been found in James Price Point, the area where a huge gas hub has been proposed to be built. The discovery of the footprint will undergo peer review before the finding is finalised, but it looks to be the largest dinosaur footprint ever found.
The large dinosaur footprint is just one of a huge number already found in an area where unique dinosaur tracks are uncovered by the oceans tide. Found in limestone that stretches for 200km along the Kimberly coast, the footprints are also a foundation for local traditional owners creation song, known as a Song Line. The Song Line is as important as a holy relic held in the Vatican to traditional owners and their culture.
The Strategic Report's assessment of dinosaur footprints near James Price Point, prepared for the proposal of the gas precinct that Woodside wishes to build has been criticised. The preliminary report on palaeontology concluded that dinosaur footprints would be destroyed by the construction of the gas precinct but that they were "...not of museum grade quality."The world's largest dinosaur footprint has quite possibly been found in James... more
A sobering study released today shows more than half of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has disappeared over the past 27 years.
Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville have found the loss of coral is caused mainly by cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish.
Coral bleaching is also to blame.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warns the rate of the reef's decline has been higher than previously thought.
It says if current trends continue, its coral cover could halve again by 2022 and it may lose the biodiversity for which it was listed as a World Heritage Area.
The study argues that stopping the progress of the crown-of-thorns starfish is crucial to the recovery of the 3,000km-long reef.
But scientist John Gunn says the future of the ecosystem could be under threat if the loss of coral is not stopped.
"Accumulative impacts of storms and crown-of-thorns and two bleaching events have had a quite devastating effect over the last three decades," he said.
"We're very concerned that this is a bit of a crossroads for the reef and this data is very authoritative.
"I can't pretend that if we had this type of impact continuing and we had some of the possible impacts of climate change in the future that the Great Barrier Reef really is at threat."
Mr Gunn, chief executive of the institute in Townsville, says damage to the reef is patchy, with some areas affected more than others.
"There are parts of the reef that are still pretty much as we'd like the whole of the reef to be, and they give us some hope that that's what we could achieve with the whole of it.
"These are areas north of Cooktown and they're pretty healthy reefs, in fact they're beautiful.
"It's the areas that really have these cumulative impacts, the three factors that we take account of in the study that have really come under sort of major pressure.
"But even there, there are reefs that are still very, very lovely to visit."
Last week AM reported a Climate Commission study that found global warming was putting increasing pressure on the Great Barrier Reef, potentially causing more bleaching events.
AIMS research director Dr Jamie Oliver says stopping the crown-of-thorns starfish could be the key to the reef's long-term survival.
"Now this is a native species which outbreaks in enormous proportions, killing off large proportions of the reef, and this is something that we may be able to take some action on," he said.
"If we can at least disrupt these outbreaks, that may give the reef a chance to recover from the other factors that we describe such as cyclones and coral bleaching."
More at the link, as well as video interview with John Gunn.A sobering study released today shows more than half of Australia's Great Barrier... more
Coal mining companies and their billionaire owners have titanic plans for Australia. But what disaster course are we on? Take a look to find out what they'd prefer you not to know.
Published on Sep 18, 2012 by GreenpeaceAustraliaCoal mining companies and their billionaire owners have titanic plans for Australia.... more
Australians need to let go of the Tall Poppy Syndrome, and start showing some love for one of their own. Australians are talented. They have personality. They’re quite capable of being a judge or a host on an Australian show. I hope they pick another Aussie host for The Voice. I hope as people leave these shows, they start filling their places with other Aussie’s too.Australians need to let go of the Tall Poppy Syndrome, and start showing some love for... more
We, the undersigned public interest organizations, oppose the current framework for exceptions and limitations proposed by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) as the language stands in the August 3rd leaked text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). It uses the most restrictive three-step test language, extends the test to exceptions and limitations not currently under the test and jeopardizes countries' ability to set what best fit their needs. The US proposal misses opportunities to use the TPP to strengthen limitations and exceptions further.
The language in Paragraph 1 of the US proposal, specifically the excerpt “shall confine”, limits nations’ ability to seek a flexible exceptions and limitations system. This language would cause numerous potential problems for the kind of balance in copyright systems that the new USTR proposal claims to advance. Additionally, while the language in Paragraph 2, focused on copyright exceptions and limitations for the digital environment, may appear to reflect progress, the unintended consequences of the proposed three-step test language are many and will create chilling effects in the ability of users and entrepreneurs to innovate. This is a worse problem for those nations that do not adopt fair-use-like systems.
We firmly believe that countries should be able to tailor copyright exceptions and limitations to their domestic needs, and extend such limitations into the digital environment to create new exceptions as they find appropriate. We consider that the proposal pushed forward by New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei—which also leaves to each country to decide what is appropriate for their digital environment—is a better solution.
The US approach of seeking higher levels of copyright protection combined with a minimally effective provision on limitations and exceptions may end up generating greater risks of liability for ISPs. The proposed US text for the TPP (also available through a leak in February 2011) indicates that ISPs would be required to take measures to prevent infringement.
With its TPP proposals, the USTR is putting peoples’ freedoms and ability to innovate at risk, while imposing greater barriers to development and human rights particularly for those from developing countries. The scope of the text proposed by the US and Australia will restrict rights that are essential to access to information, culture, science, education, and innovation.
We cannot accept these limitations on fundamental human rights. We urge negotiating countries to oppose the USTR’s maximalist approach to intellectual property. We urge the negotiating Parties to uphold international standards, including the numerous flexibilities that exist in agreements set at the more transparent multilateral fora that are more appropriate to the public interest of their citizens. And we urge country members to release the official proposals, making the text fully transparent and capable of scrutiny by the public, civil society, and by the legislative bodies of the countries involved—not just by corporate conglomerates who wish to protect their business models and profits.
Public Statement on the U.S. Proposal for a Limitations and Exceptions Clause in the Trans-Pacific Partnership
See the full text here...
https://www.eff.org/document/tpp-el-statement-08-28We, the undersigned public interest organizations, oppose the current framework for... more
After Clive Palmer slammed the treatment of Asylum Seekers by the Conservative Liberal and National Party Coalition, he has now been sacked after serving as a life long member of the Australian National Party.
Clive Palmer has long be critical over the treatment of Asylum Seekers by the major political parties. Clive recently stated the government should allow Asylum Seekers to fly to Australia, as it costs only one tenth of the price these desperate people are forced to pay to people smugglers.
Smugglers subject the people seeking Asylum to ill treatment, mislead them, and endanger their lives by using shoddy craft that frequently sink at sea. These boats are often manned by young and uneducated people they recruit from isolated island communities with promises of well paid jobs on tourist boats and other craft operating legitimately. When the boats begin to draw close to Australian waters, the smugglers then jump ship to other craft leaving their unwitting recruits to face the consequences that the smugglers cunningly avoid themselves and the anger often felt by the victims of the smugglers deception and that of those who despise Asylum Seekers arriving by boat and the crew left manning it.
Spokespeople for the Coalition accuse Clive of complaining because he is a Billionaire who didn't get his way, but they have continued to avoid mentioning the subject of his condemnation of their policy on the treatment of Asylum Seekers that lead to his sacking.After Clive Palmer slammed the treatment of Asylum Seekers by the Conservative Liberal... more
Another World Heritage recommended environment is threatened in Australia after the Government allowed fast tracked approval for two mining projects in the Tarkine Rainforest. The first two of nine open cut mines will mine tin and iron, provide only 20 jobs each and cut down large areas of pristine rainforest for only two years of projected lifespan of the mines. The next seven mines waiting approval will be much larger.
The two mines will destroy 200 hectares of the only remaining habitat for Tasmanian Devils that are free of the deadly face tumors that has been decimating their populations.
The Tarkine contains extensive high-quality wilderness as well as extensive, largely undisturbed tracts of cool temperate rainforest which are extremely rare. The Australian Government has not yet approved the Tarkine for National Heritage listing although it has been listed for approval for many years.
The Tarkine's population of Tasmanian Devils are isolated from other populations that have crashed as much as 95% because of the facial tumor disease which has them placed on the endangered list. If the habitat of Devils in the Tarkine is destroyed it is believed they may become extinct.Another World Heritage recommended environment is threatened in Australia after the... more
Clive Palmer has decided not to run for election as he can not support the conservative Coalition of the Australian National and Liberal parties' stance on Asylum Seekers. The Liberal Party, the main driver of the policy on asylum seekers is demanding they be housed in prison camps built on Manus and Naru islands, far off the Papua New Guinea coast.
Detention facilities built on the islands under conservative prime minister John Howard need to be repaired, but the Liberal Party says the people seeking refugee status can stay in tents on the islands while the facilities are being rebuilt and are demanding they be transported there immediately.
Clive Palmer is a long term member of the Australian National Party. For a long time has been very critical of the treatment of Asylum Seekers in Australia. Mr Palmer said he did not approve of the offshore processing now supported by both major parties.
"What sort of a nation are we if we don't follow our international responsibilities and allow people to come here safely?" he said.
Clive Palmer also said Australians collectively bore the responsibility of asylum seekers drowning at sea.
"We can eliminate the people smugglers. We can eliminate the problem. We can eliminate the drownings. We can treat people as human beings."Clive Palmer has decided not to run for election as he can not support the... more
With a federal election due in a year, powerful business interests in Australia have started the push to try and bring back a re-branded Work Choices legislation and also allow businesses to bring in workers from overseas on temporary visas to work for lower wages.
The pontiffs for the argument want the reintroduction of Workplace Agreements that deregulate workplace regulations. Under Work Choices employees must negotiate with employers for their working conditions and enter into an agreement that exempts the employer from paying penalty rates, overtime and many other working conditions that normally apply under an Award.
They are also pushing to loosen restrictions on 457 temporary working visas for mining and construction and expand the restrictions into areas where workers on temporary visas can compete with workers in other industries for lower wages.
This push to relax restrictions on temporary visas raises the question if the Conservative coalition of the Liberal and National parties' stance on immigration and temporary visas for asylum seekers, is influenced by the demands of powerful business interests seeking to reform temporary working visa restrictions. It could be argued that by using the fear campaign surrounding asylum seekers arriving by boat (or Boat People as the Conservatives call them), the general public could be lulled into letting down their guard and temporary visa regulations altered to suit the desires of corporations.
Why temporary visas? Well the Coalition never mentions "Boat People" without also mentioning "Temporary Visas", it is repeatedly drummed into peoples heads. It doesn't take long for people to accept that temporary visas are a part of conservative immigration policy without every really thinking why, or considering if in fact it is part of wider ambitions to lower wages, working conditions and allow in unprotected foreign workers to replace them in the jobs market.With a federal election due in a year, powerful business interests in Australia have... more
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
http://youtu.be/p8RDWltHxRc"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither... more
Australia could let mining magnates build one of the world's largest coal ports on top of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem -- opening access to 8 billion extra tonnes of planet-killing coal and risking the survival of this entire amazing world heritage site.
Activists in Australia are pressuring the government and UNESCO is speaking out, but a bank owned by the US public is key to the project. Global pressure on the US bank now could bring international shame and spotlight environmental issues in the middle of the US election season. If they pull out, the entire crazy plan could be shut down for good.
Let’s up the pressure on the bank’s chairman Fred Hochberg and demand he halt funding for Great Barrier Coal. We have only days to act -- he's in Australia for meetings right now. Click to join the call to save the reef and Avaaz will deliver our voices to Hochberg!
More at the linkAustralia could let mining magnates build one of the world's largest coal ports... more
The world’s largest and best protected coral reef will be doomed by Australia’s unprecedented scale of planned coal and gas development, experts say.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system, with 3,000 reefs running 2,300 km along most of the state of Queensland’s coast. Credit: Nickj/CC BY 3.0
This threat to the Great Barrier Reef is so serious that UNESCO recently announced it may downgrade the reef’s prestigious designation as a World Heritage Site to a “World Heritage Site in Danger”.
“That would be a big blow to our tourism industry, which generates nearly six billion dollars a year and employs over 50,000 people,” said Terry Hughes, director of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia on the last day of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) here in Cairns, Australia.
“It’s immoral to keep building new coal mines when we know so much about climate change and its impacts,” Hughes told IPS.
Newly-elected Queensland Premier Campbell Newman responded to the UNESCO announcement by reportedly saying, “We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat, we all need to understand that.”
Both the state and federal government collect substantial royalties from the mining sector.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system, with 3,000 reefs running 2,300 km along most of the state of Queensland’s coast. Although protected as a marine park for decades, coral cover has declined 50 percent since 1960s due to impacts from land-based pollution including fertiliser and mine runoff, bleaching from warmer waters and outbreaks of crown of thorns starfish that eats coral.
Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and Queensland is a major mining and export region, shipping 156 million tonnes annually, mostly to Asian markets. Now there are proposals to expand that output sixfold to nearly one billion tonnes annually by 2020.
Related IPS ArticlesLocal Control Revives Depleted Fisheries
Scientists Declare State of Emergency for World’s Coral Reefs
That enormous amount is equivalent to the collective heft of nearly every motor vehicle on the planet – some 800 to 900 million vehicles in all.
The carbon footprint from that much coal means another 1.8 billion tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) would be added to the atmosphere annually. The world’s best scientists say reductions in emissions of the billions of tonnes of CO2 are needed before 2020 to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Climate change has already warmed the oceans 0.5C degrees and made them 25 to 30 percent more acidic, impacting the health of reefs around the world. That will only worsen with every tonne of coal burned.
All of those tonnes of coal dug from the Queensland outback are loaded on huge coal ships that have to navigate through or around the Great Barrier Reef.
India’s Adani Group recently announced it will spend six billion dollars to build Queensland’s biggest coal mine in the state’s central region, including a new town and a runway for fly-in, fly-out workers. It will also build a 350 km railway to connect to new port facilities on the coast to ship some 60 million tonnes a year back to India.
Other Indian miners, along with a number of Chinese mining interests, have locked up an estimated 20 billion tonnes of coal resources in central Queensland. Australian mining companies are also expanding their operations.
Existing coal ports will need major expansions and new ports have been proposed up and down the Queensland coast. The number of coal ships needed to move all that coal is projected to jump from the present 1,700 to more than 10,000 by 2020.
In 2010, the coal ship “Shen Neng” took a short cut and ran aground on the reef, leaving a three-km scar, an oil spill and trail of toxins from its anti-fouling paint. Clean-up costs for such accidents could top 100 million dollars and it would be difficult to get shipping companies registered in foreign countries to pay the costs, officials told IPS.
Coal may be king in Queensland, but liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the big new player. In fact, Australia is home to more than 70 percent of LNG projects in the world.
Tens of billions of dollars are being invested in hundreds of drilling sites, including hydraulic fracturing operations to tap the extensive deposits of coal-seam gas (also known as coal-bed methane). Delivering the gas for exports means new pipelines and giant processing plants to turn the methane into LNG for shipping on special ships with high-pressure tanks to Japan, Korea and other Asian markets.
Gas also has a big carbon footprint. IPS reported earlier this year that U.S. scientific studies show that coal-seam gas can have higher CO2 emissions than coal when emissions from mining, transmission and burning is included.
Four LNG processing plants with port facilities have been proposed at the rapidly expanding coal port of Gladstone in central Queensland. Extensive dredging is already underway and Australia’s minister of the environment has approved the ocean dumping of millions of tonnes of dredged material inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park boundaries, Hughes said.
Even without the dumping, satellite images have shown dredging sediment, including toxic metals, drifting up to 35 kilometres out to sea. Mass fish kills have been recently been reported in the area and commercial fishers are blaming it on the dredging activity.
Duongs, sea turtles, dolphins and other marine species are not doing well south of Cook Town, where most of the coastal development has occurred so far, said Alana Grech, a researcher at James Cook University. New ports and industrial development would have a negative impact, especially if done in the relatively pristine north, Grech told IPS.
“We must protect the coastline and reef north of Cook Town. We can’t have new ports up and down the coast because it will further fragment the habitat,” she said. “We’re at a crossroads here. Some hard decisions will have to be made.”
The cumulative affects of development, pollution, shipping and climate change are very worrying, said Laurence McCook, science co-ordinator of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which has a mandate to manage and protect the reef. To date no cumulative impact assessment has ever been done. That was one of the main criticisms UNESCO made, McCook said.
More at the linkThe world’s largest and best protected coral reef will be doomed by... more