BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - TAT Geo magazine. Volume 1, issue 1

Vol. 1 No. 1 May 2014
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
We offer both veteran and undiscovered writers the opportunity to get published.
Have something to communicate, or an opinion to state, wer are your voice!
Want to join a like minded community in a great project
Lauren Shearman Danelle Scicluna
Julie Davies Jessica Crisp
Annie Aulsebrook Bethany Mete
Surrounded by vacuums and hostile planets, Earth is
truly a unique oasis of life. Home to over 7 billion people
and an even greater number of species, our amazing
planet contains wonders beyond comprehension.
The importance of nature not something to be taken
for granted. Not only does it sustain us but it forms an
integral part of our human experience. Memories of
our first walk in a forest, first swim in the ocean or first
touch of snow is something truly precious.
The Australia Times Global Environmental Outlook
(TAT GEO) magazine recognises this. With an
appreciation of scientific research and discovery,
GEO aims to raise awareness and inspire interest
in protecting nature. GEO is much more than your
average sustainability publication. This magazine
celebrates passion in all things from the microhabitat of
the backyard to the great national parks of the world.
Inside GEO you will find articles on topics ranging
from biodiversity to climate change to environmental
politics. Designed for both the scientific community and
wider public, this magazine will bring you informative
and relevant reports of our global environment.
Through GEO, open your eyes to the beauty that
surrounds us and discover the world’s natural wonders.
from the Editor
Lauren Shearman
From the Editor,
TAT GEO Magazine Editor
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in the Antarctic deemed illegal
photo credit: Isaac Kohane, Flickr © 2010 under attribution licence
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The International Court of
Justice has declared that
Japan’s “scientific” whaling
program in the Antarctic is
against international law.
Four years ago, then
environment minister Peter
Garrett helped launch legal
action against Japan to try and
put a stop to whaling in the
Antarctic area.
Japan has always claimed that
the program was for scientific
purposes, but the ruling from
The Hague has deemed the
large scale of the program is
not justified. They have imposed
an immediate halt on activities.
The court did not rule that all sci-
entific research is illegal, raising
fears amongst conservationists
that Japan could continue with
their research if they changed
the scale of the program.
This ruling does not affect
whaling in the Northern Pacific
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IPCC report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change
(IPCC) has released its assessment report – saying
that climate change is already having a major im-
pact on the planet, with impacts forecast to worsen
The second of three reports to make up the fifth
IPCC report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Ad-
aptations and Vulnerabilities assesses current cli-
mate impacts, future climate risks and adaptation
potential across sectors including the economy,
health, agriculture, and security.
Among many other things, the report for the first
time mentioned a range of security threats associat-
ed with climate change, including food shortages,
natural disasters, increased conflict, displacement
and migration.
It noted that the world, including Australia, is ill-
prepared for those threats.
It did mention that adaptation could be used to
help alleviate these impacts, if serious action is
taken quickly.
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photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
First confirmed case of water pollution from CSG
The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has con-
firmed that high levels of uranium and other chemi-
cals have leaked into an underground water aqui-
fer from a coal seam gas (CSG) operation in NSW.
This is the first confirmed case of water contamina-
tion from CSG exploration in Australia, although
company Santos has downplayed the incident,
saying only a minor pocket of water was affected.
The contamination came from a leaking holding
pond, used to store the toxic water that is left over
after the gas extraction process.
The company was fined $1500 by the EPA.
The incident occurred in the Pilliga state forest,
where there are plans to build a massive uncon-
ventional gas hub.
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The low-down on
Climate Change
Understanding what is really happening to our planet
By Lauren Shearman
Drouin, Victoria, Australia.
Smoky night from bushfires.
photo credit: Steven Sandner
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As one of the most pressing issues faced by our so-
ciety, climate change receives a great deal media
attention. Consequently, the term ‘climate change’
is thrown about in our nation’s discourse with the
assumption we all know what it means. But what is
it exactly?
Is it just changing seasons or is it global warming?
Is it to do with greenhouse gas emissions or is it
just propaganda? With the doom-laden warnings
of some scientists and total denial by others, it
is a wonder we have any idea what is actually
going on.
IPCC’s (international Panel of Climate Change)
Fifth Assessment Report describes climate change
as a shift in the variability of our climate - changes
in temperature, wind patterns, rainfall etc –that
can clearly be identified by statistical tests and that
has persisted for an extended period. The report
Wind farm and greenhouse gas farm, together
Photo credit: Kevin Dooley Flickr © 2010 under attribution licence
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strongly suggests anthropogenic emissions to be
the cause of recent dramatic change.
Now intellectuals will be intellectuals and dispute
all arising facts and figures. There is an argument
that suggests human impact is not the cause; the
measurable climatic changes we witness today
are no different from the natural fluctuations in the
Earth’s geologic history.
But while debate continues over this and that, one
thing does not change—our responsibility for a
sustainable planet. Thus, what we can understand
climate change to be is the transformation of the
Earth’s biosphere. The clearing forests, irrigating
deserts and building of cities, among many other
things, is affecting our planet like never before in
human history. So while mathematicians decide if
temperatures are rising and politicians argue over
the need for environmental policy, we can recog-
nise that our planet is subject to change and, from
whatever natural or anthropogenic cause, we need
to keep our planet healthy.
Contrary to popular belief, the solution to climate
change is not a simple Al-Gore rhythm. At risk
of losing your attention, the solution is that climate
change needs you to change. But be not alarmed,
this is nothing dramatic or time taxing. What it es-
sentially comes down to is stopping waste. TAT
GEO is here to offer simple and nifty tricks for a
sustainable future (see our sustainable living col-
umn and eco website reviews for more informa-
tion) as well as provide an article on a renewable
energy sources with each new addition.
In the meantime here is something to ponder. The
Earth is 4.6 billion years old. If we scale that to 46
years, we have been here four hours. The industrial
revolution began one minute ago. In that time we
have destroyed more than 50% or the world’s for-
ests. Now is the time to recognise climate change.
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If you can remember John Lennon’s song Power to
the People making the top-of-the-pops, you obvi-
ously didn’t live the iconic sixties lifestyle, or you
wouldn’t be able to remember.
The ethos behind its simple, repetitive lyrics
about creating a revolution through individ-
ual actions seemed possible in the sixties and
seventies. That idealistic dream vapourised in
subsequent decades, as increasingly despotic
governments rose to power, both through mili-
tary coups and by using vested media interests
and the ballot box. Many people feel helpless
to change anything now. We’ve watched indi-
vidual rights erode, along with key pillars of our
natural environment.
Here in Australia, we bear witness to the destruc-
tion of fifty percent of the Great Barrier Reef in the
last twenty years. Scientists are still unable to quan-
tify the relative contributing factors but what is cer-
tain is its catastrophic nature in such a short period.
That hasn’t stopped our governments approving
coal seam gas processing plants, ports, and the
mass shipping of coal through its waters – fiddling
while the planet burns. With the latest scientific re-
ports showing our annual fire seasons are becom-
ing longer and more extreme every year, this is
more than a metaphor.
We seem to have forgotten the cornerstone of sus-
tainable environmental management adopted by
governments the world over: the precautionary
principle. At the United Nations ‘Earth Summit’
Conference in 1992, most countries, including
Australia, were signatories to the Rio Declaration’s
‘Agenda 21’. Section 15 states:
Precautionary Principle: In order to protect
the environment, the precautionary approach
shall be widely applied by States, according
to their capabilities. Where there are threats
of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full
scientific certainty shall not be used as a rea-
son for postponing cost-effective measures to
prevent environmental degradation.
By Julie Davies
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Great Barrier Reef Corals – worth preserving
photo credit: Julie Davis
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Bushfire 300m from author’s home in 2009
photo credit: Julie Davis
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As one of the world’s wealthiest nations, which
came through the global financial crisis better than
most, and the second highest polluter per capita,
Australia should be leading climate change action
“according to our capabilities”. The reverse is hap-
pening, because Agenda 21 is not legally bind-
ing or enforceable. We’ve obviously also forgotten
other Declaration principles, such as polluter pays
and intergenerational equity.
The one bright spot on the horizon is that we now
know people power is possible. It is happening
around us daily and you may even be part of the
movement. Groups and individuals, from widely
varying walks of life, are taking direct action, in
the traditional and social media, with their local
politicians and with their wallets. The green slogan:
‘Think globally, act locally’ has meaning again.
One man in the small Central Queensland town of
Yeppoon decided the best way to help reduce car-
bon dioxide emissions was to get everyone onto
solar electricity – power to the people in its most
literal meaning.
Photo-journalist Rhodes Watson called a public
meeting in 2009 to organise the bulk purchase of
solar panels, expecting 20-30 people to attend.
Well over a hundred turned up. They put together
their heads and their money to source a large ship-
ment of solar panels, to make them affordable to
more people than ever before. Then he did it all
again, for those who didn’t come on board the first
time. The collective organised squads of local elec-
tricians to install the panels and found temporary
storage while they were fitted across the district
over eighteen months.
Yeppoon residents tell the government
they want the reef protected 2004
photo credit: Julie Davis
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Rhodes’ wife became ill before the first bulk-buy
exercise was complete and he could no longer
afford to buy panels for his own house, although
he continued to organise the project. Commu-
nity action inspires community spirit: the other
members of the group paid for his panels so he
wouldn’t miss out. There were even some spare
solar panels, which were donated to local com-
munity groups. Rhodes’ efforts were subsequently
recognised with an Australia Day award. The
Capricorn Coast now has one of the highest con-
centrations of domestic solar power systems in
Australia and it all started with one man and a
simple idea.
Direct action and people power have also proven
to be successful on a nation-wide scale. Australia’s
Climate Commission provided government with re-
liable, apolitical scientific information and facts on
all aspects of climate change. When the new Fed-
eral Government decommissioned the Commission
within days of taking office in September 2013,
its Chief Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flan-
nery didn’t take the news lying down.
He and his fellow commissioners, other scientists
and many volunteers undertook a crowd-funding
exercise, appealing through the social media for fi-
nancial support to keep the facts flowing, because
“information is the currency of democracy”. It was
successful beyond anyone’s dreams. Within a few
weeks, a new Climate Council had formed, the
previous commissioners were working for free, and
tens of thousands of Australians had funded them
to cover running costs and expenses for six months.
The Climate Council has already produced reports
on the impact of climate change on bushfire risk,
extreme weather, global action in the next critical
decade and renewable energy.
Importantly, in our 15-second attention span soci-
ety, it is also providing concise, plain-English infor-
mation through the traditional and social media to
counter the simplistic and erroneous statements we
daily hear from those who should know better.
The Council is now seeking small regular dona-
tions through bank debits, so it may have some
certainty to continue its operations into the future,
Rhodes Watson
photo credit: Gladstone Observer
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making longer term projects possible. You can sup-
port the Climate Council on Facebook and Twitter
(@climatecouncil) to help spread their facts and by
donating to the Climate Council on https://www.
One of the reasons people feel powerless is the
financial and legal might of the industries and
government agencies they must battle to preserve
their local environment. It can be an expensive
and enormously stressful task taking a mining gi-
ant to court or challenging a government decision
and most sensible people would baulk at the idea.
Strong causative evidence is needed, as well as le-
gal expertise in environmental legislation and court
procedures, to say nothing of deep pockets. This
is where Environmental Defenders’ Offices (EDOs)
come into the picture.
EDOs provide invaluable legal advice and legal
education to members of the public, community
and environmental groups. They have made criti-
cal contributions to reforming environmental laws
over the last two decades. EDOs also run public
interest court cases for individuals affected by de-
velopment of their land, such as mines and coal
seam gas wells, and for interested parties, like con-
servation groups.
In Queensland, lawyer Jo-anne Bragg has been
at the helm of the Environmental Defenders’ Of-
fice in Brisbane for twenty-two years and is now
the longest serving EDO solicitor in Australia. She
recently held briefings in Central Queensland on
changes in environmental legislation. Horrified
residents discovered the Federal Government has
also defunded all Environmental Defenders’ Of-
fices, right across Australia, and is in the pro-
cess of handing federal regulatory powers to
the states, whose interests do not encompass our
wider national responsibilities and international
Climate Council members
L-R Lesly Hughes, Gerry Hueston, Tim Flannery, Veena Sahajwalla, Will Steffan.
photo credit: Julie Davis
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In addition, the Queensland State Government
is now changing existing laws to limit who can
bring court actions in environmental disputes to
those who are directly impacted. For example,
this will now mean that farmers concerned about
coal seam gas wells leaking or contaminating/
depleting their ground water cannot bring action
in court to stop or rectify the situation unless there
is a well on their property. The Great Artesian
Basin and atmospheric currents do not recognise
property boundaries, nor is there any evidence
that contamination or depletion of artesian water
could be rectified in human rather than geological
The Queensland Government is also reducing the
standing of scientific data and of environmental
regulatory agencies in planning decision-making.
It might be worth checking what is happening to
your state environmental and planning regulations.
The Queensland EDO has changed its owl logo to a
phoenix rising from the ashes, as they seek private
donations to continue their work. If Environmental
Defenders’ Offices are to continue operating, they
now also need to be crowd-funded. If you would like
to donate to your state’s office, you can find links to
them through: http://www.edo.org.au/
Take back the power, people.
EDO owl rises from the ashes
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The Palm Oil Problem
Three years ago, I was privileged enough to travel
to Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Bor-
neo. For the final part of my journey I was on a
tiny plane which, alarmingly, leaked puffs of steam
from the ceiling for the thirty minutes that we were
on board.
Outside my window, the outskirts of the city of Miri
quickly gave way to a broad sea of green foliage. I
had never seen rainforest from the air before. Then,
before I even had time to take the scenery in, the
landscape changed dramatically. What was rain-
forest became a jagged mess of brown lines. It was
as though the earth had been carved open. It took
me a moment or two to realise this was where the
forest had been logged and burned. Then again,
just as abruptly as the first change, the brown chaos
turned into order – the strict order that only humans
can create. Rows upon rows of green blobs, sec-
tioned into neat rectangles, for as far as I could see.
“Oil Palms.” The man next to me explained.
He paused a while. As a senior lecturer and re-
searcher in forest ecology, he made this trip at least
once every year.
…how Zoos Victoria are changing the
way the world sees palm oil
By Annie Aulsebrook
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View from a small plane flying over
Borneo, Malaysia - the dramatic transition
from rainforest to cleared land.
photo credit: Annie Aulsebrook
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“A third of those wouldn’t have
been there last year.”
While I was too stunned to clarify
my neighbour’s statement on that
flight, I have had plenty of time to
learn more about Oil Palms since.
Oil Palm trees are cultivated for a
product derived from their fruit:
palm oil. Palm oil is extremely
versatile and is in higher demand
than ever before. About half of
all products found in Australian
supermarkets contain palm oil,
including baked products, fried
products, confectionary, tooth-
pastes and shampoos.
Unfortunately, Oil Palms only
grow in the tropics. Because of
this, rainforests in South-East Asia
are being rapidly demolished
to make way for plantations. In
fact, Malaysia and Indonesia
now produce 85% of the world’s
palm oil, and the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP)
recognises palm oil production
as the main driver of rainforest
destruction in these two coun-
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Oil Palm plantations in Borneo, Malaysia. Rainforests in South-East Asia
are being rapidly cleared to make way for plantations such as these.
photo credit: Annie Aulsebrook
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A forest view in Gunung Mulu National Park
(Borneo, Malaysia).
photo credit: Annie Aulsebrook
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The ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ solution
In 2009, Zoos Victoria launched ‘Don’t Palm Us
Off’—a campaign that ultimately aimed to bring
about change to this dire situation. Loss of habitat
to Oil Palm plantations is a major threat to three of
the most popular species at Melbourne Zoo: Suma-
tran tigers, Asian elephants and Sumatran orang-
utans. Orang-utans in particular have become the
face of the palm oil problem: the single biggest
threat to this critically endangered and well-loved
species is unsustainable palm oil production.
“The same visitors we see coming through our
Zoo gates were unknowingly contributing to one
of the biggest threats many species in South-East
Asia were facing.” Says Community Conservation
Manager Ms Emily Dunstan, a key developer and
driver of the campaign.
“It made sense for us to draw their attention to it
and provide them with a meaningful way to speak
up and get involved in reducing the threat.”
Initially, ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ focussed on address-
ing two issues. First, people needed to be made
aware of the problems with unsustainable palm oil.
Next, people were encouraged to demand their
right to choose whether to buy products contain-
ing palm oil. There is currently no law that requires
palm oil to be labelled as anything other than ‘veg-
etable oil’ on product packaging. This often makes
it impossible to distinguish between palm oil and
other oils, such as soy, canola and sunflower oils.
‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ was extremely successful at
raising awareness. A combination of campaign-
ing tools, including hand-outs, online social me-
dia and a short film shown at Melbourne Zoo
and on Channel 10, prompted national media
coverage. A recent research article also com-
pared multiple choice answers given by zoo
visitors before, during and after the campaign.
As visitors left the orang-utan exhibit they were
asked what the main threat to orang-utans was,
and what product was most responsible. Before
the campaign, only 54% of visitors understood
that palm oil was the product most responsible
for habitat loss. During and after the campaign,
visitors were far more likely to identify palm oil as
the product to blame, with 75 to 97% answering
this question correctly.
In 2009 and 2010, Zoos Victoria also collect-
ed more than 163,000 signatures in support
of mandatory labelling of palm oil. These were
passed on to Food Standards Australia and
New Zealand (FSANZ), which inspired legisla-
tion that was introduced to Parliament. While
the legislation passed through the Senate, it
never got voted on in the House of Representa-
tives. The political aspect of this campaign was
slightly more controversial and received a scath-
ing report by Tim Wilson from the Institute of
Public Affairs. However, there has recently been
renewed political discussion on the topic of la-
belling, and FSANZ will be releasing a relevant
report later this year.
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From cereal to toothpaste, many people are
surprised by the number of products in our
supermarkets that contain palm oil.
The (above/below) are just some of those that
have been targeted by Zoos Victoria’s
‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ Campaign.
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Why not boycott?
Is all palm oil ‘bad’? It depends on who you ask,
but not all palm oil production depends on the de-
struction of primary rainforest. In fact, many people
would be surprised to hear that, if grown responsi-
bly, palm oil can be a relatively sustainable source
of oil. The yield of palm oil can be six to ten times
higher than that of some of its alternatives. In oth-
er words, six to ten times more land would be re-
quired to obtain the same yield of soy or rapeseed
oils. Because of this, organisations such as Zoos
Victoria suggest that boycotting palm oil may not
be the best option.
“We are about saving wildlife and fighting its ex-
tinction, so we need to look at the alternatives com-
panies are likely to switch to.” Ms Dunstan says.
“Essentially I could be condemning 10,000 hect-
ares of the Amazon to deforestation by saving
1,000 hectares of forest in South-East Asia through
a boycott.”
Advocating Certified Sustainable
Palm Oil (CSPO)
Zoos Victoria re-launched ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ last
year with a subtle shift in focus: Certified Sustainable
Palm Oil (CSPO). CSPO is palm oil that has been
grown on a plantation approved by the Roundtable
of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO is a non-
for-profit organisation that includes stakeholders
such as oil palm producers, investors, Oxfam and
the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). CSPO
plantations cannot be built on land that has been
deforested since 2005. In other words, the RSPO
aims to force the palm oil industry to use land that
has already been cleared and degraded, rather
than demolishing primary forest. CSPO plantations
must also be managed according to a set of envi-
ronmental, social and economic standards.
Captive orang-utans such as Santan and Dewi have become ambassadors for their wild
relatives that are at risk of extinction from habitat loss, much of which is to make way for
Oil Palm plantations.
photo credit: Melbourne Zoo
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photo credit: Melbourne Zoo
At Melbourne Zoo, visitors
form an emotional connection
with orang-utans, while
also learning about issues
associated with palm oil.
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The CSPO scheme is not entirely flawless, however.
Some groups have criticised the RSPO standards
for allowing secondary forests to be cleared for Oil
Palm plantations. While secondary forests are of-
ten considered to be ‘less valuable’ than primary
forests, they still provide valuable habitat for wild-
life and their destruction contributes to greenhouse
gas emissions. Nonetheless, CSPO does have the
potential to preserve livelihoods that depend on
palm oil without as much damage to wildlife habi-
tat. When outlining their current stand on CSPO,
Zoos Victoria state that “while we understand that
having a fully segregated, traceable line of CSPO
is not without its issues, we believe there is enough
will from manufacturers and consumers to push this
form of CSPO into the Australian market.”
The success of the re-launched ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’
campaign has proven this to be true. A new aim of
‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ is to encourage people to contact
retailers and manufacturers, asking that they ensure
any palm oil they use is 100% CSPO and clearly la-
belled. An ingenious aspect of this campaign is the
‘Zoopermarket’. Set up like a supermarket checkout,
the ‘Zoopermarket’ can be found both online and at
the orang-utan exhibit at Melbourne Zoo. It allows
visitors to scan popular supermarket products to find
out how the manufacturer ‘rates’ in terms of palm
oil. Do they use palm oil? If so, do they use CSPO?
Is it labelled? After scanning, visitors are given the
opportunity to email the company directly, congratu-
lating them on their good work or demanding that
they change their practices. Visitors can also send
in postcards, signed in support of palm oil being
sustainably produced and clearly labelled.
Since ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ re-launched, more than
21,000 emails and postcards have been collected.
Over 12,000 of these have been from the online
‘Zoopermarket’. These masses of emails are not
going unheeded. In just the last year, ‘Don’t Palm
Us Off’ has succeeded in getting five companies to
commit to using 100% CSPO.
In September 2013, Zoos Victoria ran out of ‘red’
companies – companies that used unlabelled, un-
sustainable palm oil – because all of these com-
panies had at the very least made a public com-
mitment to convert to CSPO in the near future.
Companies such as Unilever and Woolworths have
confirmed that their new commitment was prompt-
ed by the community awareness brought about
by Zoos Victoria and WWF. Australasia’s leading
food company, Goodman Fielder, has also com-
mitted to sourcing mass-balance CSPO from 2014
onwards, and said that ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ was
the trigger in getting this commitment over the line.
The list of companies with similar stories is exten-
sive, which is a promising sign for the future of this
It is easy for people to feel frustrated and helpless
when confronted with conservation issues. None-
theless, ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ has become an inspir-
ing example of bringing about real change. By
raising awareness and rallying thousands of peo-
ple to tell companies what they want, Zoos Victoria
has changed not only the way the general public
view palm oil, but actually made a change to what
we are seeing on our supermarket shelves. Accord-
ing to Ms Dunstan, they did it by “making it simple
for people and providing a way for them to get
involved immediately.”
“By demonstrating the changes this campaign has
made and reporting back, keeping people up to
date, and always looking ahead – we have found
that the community has really latched onto this cam-
paign and felt part of a bigger movement.”
For more information
Zoos Victoria ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ campaign:
Online Zoos Victoria ‘Zoopermarket’:
A recent research article that evaluates the
‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ campaign is available at:
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photo credit: Melbourne Zoo
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photo credit: LC Nottassen, Flickr © 2009 under attribution licence
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By Lauren Shearman
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photo credit: Bestsy Weber, Flickr © 2011 under attribution licence
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From microbes to whales, our oceans hold an
abundance of life. In fact the majority of life on
Earth swims, crawls, eats, fights and lives in our
seas. Some of the largest and best known sea
creatures only make up only a tiny proportion of
the ocean’s biodiversity. Scientists estimate that for
every known oceanic species at least four more
have yet to be discovered.
This estimation comes from the international Census
of Marine Life (http://www.coml.org/) completed
in 2010. More than 2,700 scientists from across
the globe collaborated to study and synthesize infor-
mation on marine biodiversity. After a decade of re-
search and exploration, the census had documented
ocean realms all connected through distribution and
movements of animals. The Ocean Biogeographic
Information System (www.iobis.org) - the world’s
largest online repository of geo-referenced data –
allows this information to be accessed by policy
makers, teachers, and students alike. The site links
to more than 800 datasets containing information
on where and when marine organisms have been
Why is this information important?
The Census provides a scientific foundation for fu-
ture marine research and environmental policy. Its
information is significant to our understanding of
what needs to be done to protect ocean resources.
The internet database allows public users to iden-
tify biodiversity hotspots and plot species’ locations
with temperature, salinity, and depth. There is a
critical need for information such as this to guide
the management of fisheries, conserve diversity,
reverse losses of habitat, reduce impacts of pollu-
tion, and respond to global climate change. Prior
to the Census, the number of known species in the
ocean was estimated at 230,000. Now, with the
knowledge gained over the last decade, this esti-
mate has risen to nearly 250,000. Scientists be-
lieve that there as many as three times this number
is yet to be discovered. Excluding microbes, the
total number of marine species in the global ocean
could surpass one million.
Why study biodiversity?
Census scientists discovered and described 1,200
new species. While the discovery of species is
fascinating in its own right, the discoveries were
important because they added to our knowledge
of the diversity and distribution of marine life in the
global oceans. Biodiversity is crucial to our under-
standing of the world as shows us how life evolved
and it continues to evolve. It provides an insight
into the functioning of ecosystems and thus how
we can help maintain them for our own benefit.
Biodiversity is also a measure of the health of an
ecosystem. All species perform specific roles that
make them an integral part of their environment, in
many cases, essential to human survival as well. A
diverse biological community allows for varied and
balanced interactions among species. This means
greater competition, predation, productivity and
ability to withstand environmental pressure than a
non-diverse community.
What did Census scientists learn?
The Census found more than was anticipated - life
in the ocean was revealed to be more diverse, more
connected and more altered than imagined. Cen-
sus scientists learnt that the human impacts on ma-
rine ecosystems not only began much earlier in our
history, but were also broader in scope than previ-
ously thought. Researchers found life in the most
unexpected of places, including the inhospitable
depths of the ocean where there is no oxygen. Spe-
cies thought to be extinct were rediscovered and
1,200 new species were formally described. Addi-
tionally, migratory routes were mapped and breed-
ing/feeding grounds of particular animals were
identified so that policy makers know how best to
protect our endangered wildlife. A complete re-
view of Census findings can be found at http://
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Who’s the
Real Predator?
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Real Predator?
By Danelle Scicluna
photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
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The recent implementation of the Western Austra-
lian (WA) shark cull has caused controversy and
conflict amongst the Australian public. However,
what has received relatively little attention is the
possible reasons why sharks may be venturing clos-
er to Perth’s shoreline. Some researchers believe
that climate change may hold the answer.
With the first killings taking place on Australia Day,
the plans and policies became notorious actions.
Contracted fishermen were ordered to kill sharks
found one kilometre from popular beach sites
around the Perth region. It was not long before dis-
turbing footage and images made their way into
the media for the nation to see.
The policy was bought about due to the increased
number of shark attacks that have been occurring
along WA shorelines over the past decade. Ac-
cording to the Australian Shark Attack Files (ASAF)
kept by Taronga Zoo researchers, the annual av-
erage of unprovoked shark encounters increased
from 6.5 cases in the 1990s to 12.5 cases over
the last decade. Aimed at creating safe swimming
zones for the public, the policy targets Bull Sharks,
Tiger Sharks and Great White Sharks over three
metres in length.
Researchers have been considering possible rea-
sons as to why sharks may be occupying areas
closer to the shore. Whilst more studies are needed
to cement these ideas, they believe that human in-
duced climate change may be a contributing fac-
tor influencing shark behaviour and distribution.
Furthermore, Australia’s increasing human popu-
lation has also been strongly associated with the
increased shark encounters.
It is known that climate change is having dramatic
negative effects on our ecosystem, both worldwide
photo credit: Phil Watson
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and within our nation. Data from the CSIRO show
that WA coastal waters have increased by less than
0.5°C since the 1960s. Whilst this may seem like
the most minute increase, it is an increase nonethe-
less and one that can have potentially detrimen-
tal effects on sensitive marine species. Over time,
there is fear that ocean temperatures will continue
to rise, forcing species to either adapt to warmer
waters or relocate to cooler regions if they are to
have any chance of survival.
There is every possibility that increased water tem-
peratures are drawing sharks to Perth’s coastline.
A good example was seen in 2011 when the WA
coast experienced a marine heatwave causing
water temperature to increase by up to 3°C. This
lead to numerous ecological disasters such as fish
kills and coral bleaching. Of particular interest was
the numerous WA fisheries that reported the move-
ment of subtropical species, such as Whale Sharks,
further south than their usual locality. It is thought
the whale sharks were seeking out cooler waters.
On the subject of rising sea temperature, a study
conducted at the University of New South Wales
found that a slight increase in water temperature
can cause some fish to become more aggressive. It is
thought that an increase in sea temperature is linked
to their metabolism, resulting in an increased need
to feed. Whilst the study was carried out on damsel
fish, head researchers believed that the same theory
could be applied to sharks. There is little evidence to
substantiate this theory but it is an interesting aspect
to consider when thinking about the effect climate
change might have on shark behaviour.
Climate change is also believed to be altering
some of the world’s ocean currents. Extending over
5000 kilometres, the Leeuwin Current (LC) is the
longest coastal current in the world. It runs along
photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
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the WA coast, carrying warm, low nutrient water
south and its strength is largely associated with the
El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.
Climatic models predict that increased levels of
carbon dioxide in the future will lead to stronger
El Niño events. As a result, the LC is expected to
weaken in the coming century. However, for the
past two decades, stronger currents (which are at-
tributed to natural decadal variability) have been
observed. The Journal of Geophysical Research
published a paper which suggests that a stronger
LC and LC eddies may cause convective mixing of
nutrients into the oceans euphotic zone. This results
in increased regional productivity. Furthermore,
stronger currents are likely to bring nutrients from
the north further south to Perth’s coastline.
The LC has also been found to affect the abun-
dance of marine life in the region. For example, a
fact sheet issued in 2011 by WAs Department of
Fisheries states that, along with other environmen-
tal factors, the LC’s strength can influence Western
Rock Lobster populations. When the LC is stron-
ger, higher proportion of juveniles can return to
the coast and so recruitment (addition of juvenile
lobsters to an adult population) is higher. Natu-
rally, increased productivity and food availability
would draw numerous marine species to the area,
and sharks would be no exception. Whilst more
research is needed, this offers a possible explana-
tion as to why sharks appear to be venturing out of
the deep and closer to Perth’s shoreline.
Alternatively, many believe that Australia’s rising
population and growing interest in marine activi-
ties is responsible for the increase in reported shark
encounters. A government census showed that
Perth experienced a population growth of 14.3%
between 2006 and 2011. However, not only is the
population increasing but it is becoming more dis-
persed along the coastlines. Naturally this results
photo credit: Phil Watson
Protesters rally together at Torquay VIC earlier this month in an attempt
to save the sharks from WAs recent catch and kill policy.
photo credit Danelle Scicluna
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Protesters showing their support by signing a
No Shark Cull in WA petition
photo credit Danelle Scicluna
photo credit: Phil Watson
in a higher number of beach goers occupying a
greater area of ocean. Given this, it is not surpris-
ing to see an increase in the annual average num-
ber of reported shark sightings and encounters.
To add fuel to the fire, an increased vested interest
in offshore activities only provides more opportu-
nities for interaction between humans and sharks.
According to ASAF, of the 12 unprovoked shark
attack cases seen in 2012, 86% involved surfers,
7% involved SCUBA divers and 7% snorkelers. This
demonstrates that an increase in reported shark at-
tacks may be the combined result of climate change
effecting their distribution and humans spending
more time in the ocean.
Whatever the reason, scientists, conservationists,
naturalists and general members of the public from
around the nation have been rallying together in
an attempt to stop the WA culling. They all agree
that the current shark cull is not the way to create
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safe zones and minimise shark encounters along the
WA coast. On the contrary, baiting drum lines and
the disposal of culled shark carcasses only a few
kilometres from the coast of popular beaches is in-
evitably going to attract more sharks into the area.
In addition, removal of an apex predator is sure to
have detrimental impacts. Ecological effects will be
seen as the removal of sharks will result in an over
or under abundance of life lower down the food
chain. Furthermore, the baited drum lines pose a
potentially high threat to both non-shark species
and to sharks less than three metres in length.
Six days into the ‘catch and kill’ policy, a Tiger
Shark believed to be about two metres in length
was pulled up dead after being caught on a bait-
ed hook. Speculation remains over how the Gov-
ernment will ensure that shark length and species
guidelines are adhered to.
Even shark bite victims have rallied against the cull,
despite the injuries they have been left with. Paul de
Gelder is one such victim. Attacked by a Bull Shark
in Sydney Harbour in 2009, he was left with ex-
tensive injuries, causing him to lose both a forearm
and leg. Despite this, he is a leading figure fighting
Protesters rally together at Torquay VIC earlier this month in an attempt
to save the sharks from WAs recent catch and kill policy.
photo credit Danelle Scicluna
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
to save the sharks from the cull. In his Blogspot post
from early this year, he states that Premier Colin
Barnett’s “plan is flawed”, and that the ocean is
“a wondrous, beautiful, dangerous place that pro-
vides our planet with all life. It and its inhabitants
need protection from those that would do it harm”.
Instead of ruthlessly culling the mysterious creatures
of the sea, numerous alternatives and initiatives
could be implemented. In Brazil, drum lines are de-
signed to keep the captured sharks alive by allow-
ing them to swim in large circles, thereby minimising
stress. They are then measured, sexed and tagged
before being released further out at sea, allowing
scientists to learn more about their behaviour.
Another alternative is the use of a Shark Shield.
This device emits an electric field underwater that
interferes with shark’s Ampullae of Lorenzini (sensi-
tive sensory organs).The interference causes tem-
porary high levels of discomfort for the shark and,
in doing so, repels them away from the user. Such
devices would be ideal for surfers and scuba divers
that venture into waters further offshore.
With new technology and ongoing research we
can continue to gain more information about one
of the oceans most feared predators. In doing so,
we can learn what factors affect and influences
their behaviour and we can take the appropriate
precautions in order to stay safe in what is right-
fully their environment. It is hoped that one day, the
negative stigma that surrounds sharks will be ab-
solved and that we can continue to live in a world
where these mysterious yet majestic creatures are
both respected and protected.
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Sustainable living protects our beautiful
diversity of wildlife
The easy way to give back
By Jessica Crisp
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Attempting to reverse the ef-
fects of pollution, protecting our
beautiful diversity of wildlife and
reducing our levels of consump-
tion may seem like an impossible
task. As an individual it can be
hard to see where you fit into the
big picture. How can I help the
critically endangered Blue Fin
Tuna? How do I stop those fos-
sil fuels pumping into our atmo-
sphere? Realistically, how can I
make a difference?
While these issues seem too large
and complex to overcome on our
own, that doesn’t mean each of
us can’t make a difference. No
matter how small or insignificant
it may seem.
This column will look at ways in
which we can all make simple
alterations to our current lifestyle.
Each of us can have an impact
lasting longer than our years on
this planet. The basic principle
of sustainable living is to live in
an environment without taking
anything from it that can’t be re-
placed. This may seem daunting,
but even small steps are important
in developing a society that can
live in harmony with the planet.
An easy and quick to get start-
ed with a more sustainable way
of living is to shop with a con-
science. There is an abundance
of products out there which not
only look great but do great
things for the environment and
the worldwide community.
Let’s start with the most basic
product. Whether you fold or
Help protect our
beautiful diversity of
photo credit: Lauren Shearman
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
scrunch your loo roll, there’s no
denying we get through quite a
lot of this simple, everyday es-
sential. Whilst there’s no getting
round the fact trees are still being
felled in their millions so we can
grace our bottoms with the soft
stuff, it is just one of the issues
Who Gives A Crap is tackling.
Their 100% recycled loo rolls
raise money to help build toilets
and improve sanitation across
the developing world. Wateraid
receives 50% of their profits to
provide one person with a toilet
for a week. Not only are they
helping improve the health of
poorer communities, better sani-
tation and waste management
means a healthier planet too.
If the fact that one and a half
acres of the Amazon rainforest
is destroyed every second wor-
ries you, it’s time to take action.
And it’s simpler than you might
think; no chaining yourself to
trees here! If you, or anyone you
know, need a new timepiece,
pick up an inspired design from
WeWood. Made from com-
pletely natural materials, free of
anything artificial or toxic, these
watches give back as one tree is
planted for each one purchased.
They may not be able to turn
back the time, but they can sure
change the future. (http://www.
Of course, the Amazon rain forest
is not the only threatened area.
Pick up a set of headphones from
UrbanEars’ Re:Plattan collec-
tion, made from recycled parts,
does Proof’s top quality eyewear
give back to nature by being
made from sustainable wood, it
helps those in need of eye care in
India. Each pair of glasses sold
will fund sight-giving surgery in
India to those who can’t afford it.
Help trees and people – double
whammy! (http://www.iwant-
as each purchase secures the
protection of five square metres
of the Costa Rican rainforest.
Looking to update your specs
or sunnies? Forego the plastic
frames you can nab for a few dol-
lars in favour of a pair which will
ease your conscience. Not only
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We’ve all heard of Toms; the
footwear brand whose so-comfy-
shoes paved the way for the idea
of consumer companies having
a social or environmental con-
science. Their ‘One for One’
mantra means that for each pair
purchased, one pair of shoes is
donated to those in need. Whilst
this may not immediately ap-
pear sustainable, the fact that
many shoes are produced in the
regions in which they are donat-
ed suggests the opposite. Styles
featuring locally made materials
and local production means few-
er miles travelled to their destina-
tion. A prime example of sustain-
ability! (http://www.toms.com)
These are just a few examples
of the range of items out there
which encourage sustainabil-
ity and stress the importance
of protecting our planet and its
community. The simple of act
of purchasing a watch or loo
roll will see you become a part
of that too. It’s not that hard
after all.
photo credit: Lauren Shearman
Rainforests provide 40% of
the world’s oxygen. As crucial
ecosystems, rainforest need
our protection
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By Danelle Scicluna
nowhere to
glide & hide
Squirrel glider in nestbox
photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
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Lions and tigers and bears may make
you go “Oh My!” but Australia’s
gliding possums will have you
feeling all fuzzy with their ador-
able furry coats and cute little
pointed noses.
Meet the endemic Squirrel
Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis).
This species resides in areas
of mature remnant vegetation
in northern and central Victo-
ria and throughout the east-
ern regions of New South
Wales and Queensland. It
is an arboreal species, with
a body size of 18-23cm
and weight of 200-300g,
and is known to glide dis-
tances of up to 90m between
trees. Squirrel Gliders have a
grey coloured fur coat (with a
white or cream underside) and
a distinct dark stripe
which begins at the nose and runs along the back.
The Squirrel Glider also has a membrane that extends
from each fifth front toe to its back foot, enabling it to
glide, and its long bushy tail acts as a rudder, helping
to guide its descent. The Squirrel Glider is similar in
appearance to its smaller relative, the Sugar Glider
(Petaurus breviceps). To the untrained eye they can
be hard to distinguish from one another. As a gen-
eral rule, the Squirrel Glider has a longer and more
pointed head, narrower ears and a bushier tail.
Squirrel Gliders are an omnivorous species that
feed on insects, pollen, nectar and sap, where diet
is seasonal depending on resource availability. The
species tend to live in small groups, generally com-
prised of one adult male and a couple of adult
females together with their offspring. The Squirrel
Glider is a polyoestrous species, meaning it has
multiple reproductive cycles per year. In most cas-
es, a female will produce one to two litters a year
(each litter containing one or two young). The spe-
cies has a lifespan of three to five years.
Baby Squirrel gliders in care
photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
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It has been suggested that the Squirrel Glider plays
a number of important roles in the ecosystem. For
instance, its diet of pollen and nectar reveals that
the Squirrel Glider may be an important forest
pollinator. It is also believed that it plays a role
in regulating the number of canopy insects present
in an ecosystem by feeding on them. In doing so,
the Squirrel Glider can be seen as an animal of
ecological importance by contributing to and main-
taining improved forest health.
This nocturnal species relies on mature trees for hol-
lows because they provide dens and safe breeding
sites. However extensive land clearing in northern
Victoria has seen the loss of Squirrel Glider habitat.
The removal of trees takes away the species’ food
resources and shelter requirements. Land clearing
also increases habitat fragmentation, which then
isolates Squirrel Glider populations. Furthermore,
introduced species such as foxes and cats (which
prey on the marsupial) add further pressure to the
Squirrel Glider’s already threatened existence.
While in Queensland the species is considered
common, its distribution across Victoria is limited.
As a result, the Squirrel Glider is featured in the
Squirrel glider distribution
photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
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Department of Environment & Primary Industries
(DEPI) 2014 threatened species list and is consid-
ered a threatened taxon in Victoria under the Flora
and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. This is never a
good sign for any species.
Thankfully, there are conservation programs work-
ing to prevent the Squirrel Glider from ever becom-
ing extinct. One such organisation is the Regent
Honeyeater Project. Established 19 years ago, it is
an independent, not-for profit- organisation based
in the north-east regions of Victoria. As its name
suggests, it is heavily involved with the endangered
Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia). How-
ever, it also takes an interest in conserving other
threatened species, one of which is the Squirrel
The Regent Honeyeater Project Co-ordinator, Ray
Thomas, works with landowners and local gov-
ernments who agree to revegetate areas of their
land. In doing so, wildlife corridors (thin strips of
vegetation that connect fragmented habitats) can
be established and degraded land can be reha-
bilitated. This is an important aspect of conserva-
tion as revegetation enables the Squirrel Glider
to move across the landscape, increasing genetic
flow. The species is further helped by the numerous
nest boxes that the project has installed. These offer
Squirrel Gliders the comfort and safety of a man-
made hollow while the revegetated areas mature
and develop.
Despite running for less than two decades, the Re-
gent Honeyeater Project has already shown prom-
ising results. The nest boxes have proven to be in-
credibly beneficial to the threatened species. It is
estimated that Squirrel Gliders are currently inhab-
iting and breeding in 75% of installed nest boxes.
Wildlife corridors that are as young as four years
old are also aiding in Squirrel Glider survival by
providing safer moving grounds for them to travel
The efforts of the Regent Honeyeater Project to con-
serve the threatened Squirrel Glider are admirable,
photo credit: Flickr © 2007 under attribution licence
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
but the project staff can’t do it alone. In fact, com-
munity members and numerous volunteer groups
are essential for the project’s success. Volunteers
can assist in a variety of tasks ranging from tree
planting to fencing and nest-boxing surveys. Over
the years, The Regent Honeyeater Project has seen
over 28,000 volunteers come together to restore
1400 hectares of habitat, install 400 nest boxes
and plant 525,000 seedlings at 490 different sites.
The good news is that you can easily get involved
with such a great cause. The Regent Honeyeater
Project has a number of volunteer days in the com-
ing months and would love to see you there. You
are guaranteed to meet some fantastic people, get
your hands dirty and have a great weekend away
with some spectacular views of the Benalla region.
Dates are listed below and more information can
be found via the Project website (Under the “When”
tab): http://regenthoneyeater.org.au/index.php
If you intend to join a volunteer weekend, please
contact the project co-ordinator Ray Thomas.
This helps to ensure things run smoothly and that
adequate tools and equipment are available on
the day.
Contact Ray on (03) 5761 1515 or via e-mail at
Nest Boxing weekends:
5–6th April
3–4th May
Tree Planting Weekends:
9–10th August
23–24th August
6–7th September
20–21st September
Through ongoing awareness and support, it is
hoped that Squirrel Glider numbers will continue to
increase and hopefully spread to new territories for
generations to come.
photo credit: Troy Bell Flickr © 2009 under attribution licence
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
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We all know that, as humans, we are making an
impact on our environment that is not necessarily a
good one. Climate change, endangered species,
degrading ecosystems – they are all misfortunate
consequences of our own doing. Most of us want
to do something about it, but don’t know where to
begin. Some of us may even wonder if there’s any
point to taking any action – can one person in a
world of seven billion people really make a differ-
ence? This is where organisational websites, such
as Eco-shout come out to play.
Described by its creators as a “catalyst to action”, Eco-
shout doesn’t disappoint. Providing viewers with in-
formation on why something needs to be done about
our environment and how you can get involved, the
website is an ideal starting point for anyone wanting
to reduce their ecological footprint. Volunteering op-
portunities and jobs in the environmental field; where
to acquire campaign training or enrol in short courses
in sustainability and conservation; links for grants to
launch your campaign or environmental group – this
is just some of the useful information and the website
has to offer. No matter how you want to get involved,
Eco-Shout has something for you.
Not only does this website supply information and
avenues for actively helping our planet, but also
brings together a community of like-minded people.
I don’t know about you, but I find reducing my eco-
logical footprint fairly difficult when I live with broth-
ers who cannot even differentiate a recycling bin
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from a waste bin. Eco-shout’s ‘share-housing net-
work’ allows you to find people to live with who are
on the same environmental wavelength as yourself,
making your resolution to be more environmentally
friendly a collective household effort. There are also
opportunities to meet others passionate about sav-
ing our environment at related events posted on the
website – festivals, information sessions and fund-
raising events, just to name a few. While surfing
Eco-Shout, you realise you are not the only person
in a world of seven billion wanting to better the way
we treat our environment. Making a difference sud-
denly seems like a more realistic pursuit.
Perhaps the most heartening aspect of this website,
however, is the value it places on the history of
our country. Australia’s ecosystem thrived before
the arrival of English settler’s, which suggests we
have a lot to learn from our country’s Indigenous
people. Advertising Indigenous events alongside
other environmental events and providing a link to
an Indigenous language map are some of the ways
Eco-shout reminds of us exactly “whose land [we
are] walking on”.
So if you feel that you could be doing more for our
natural world, that you could be more involved in
changing the way we treat our environment, head
to www.ecoshout.org.au. Whether you find some
new eco-friendly housemates or learn a simple task
you can implement into your everyday life; any ac-
tion, big or small, can make a difference.
By Bethany Mete
photo credit:
Flickr © 2007 under attribution licence
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the Polish Dog Trotter
Pocker’s tours Australia as part of his worldwide mission
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
It was once said by a great wiz-
ard of our time, Albus Dumb-
ledore; “it is our choices, Harry,
that show what we truly are, far
more than our abilities.” In this
reflection, the choice of a woman
to save a helpless victim is truly
The story, however, is not as you
might expect. It begins in 2008
with the decision to buy a dog.
Kasia Pisarska, was advised not
go in search of her fancied West
Terrier breed, but to instead visit a
shelter. Confronted with the choice
of almost 2000 neglected dogs,
Kasia’s eyes were opened to the
importance of dog adoptions.
She returned home that day with
Rocky: A little dog without pedi-
gree, without training and even
without the qualities Kasia her-
self looked for in a dog. Yet, she
had saved his life and loved him
since their first meeting.
Kasia later made the decision to
purchase another dog – one that
would not only touch her life but
many worldwide. This particular
dog, however, also was not as
you might expect. He was actually
a soft toy. Going by the name of
Pocker the Polish Dog Trotter, this
mascot’s mission is to put animal
adoption on a global agenda.
When asked about the inspira-
tion for her project, Kasia re-
plied: “I wished my experience
and my voice could travel all over
the world without crying for this
terrible thing, but doing things.”
the Polish Dog Trotter
By Lauren Shearman
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Kasia Pisarska provides
a voice for all the world’s
homeless dogs.
Pocker the Polish Dog
Trotter beginning his
journey in Nałeczow,
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And just like that, Pocker left his home town in Po-
land and began his journey around the world.
The rules to Pocker’s quest are very simple. If he
is not travelling with Kasia he travels with one of
his fans; somebody who understands that all dogs
deserve a loving home.
Pocker passes only from hand to hand, never
travelling in a bag and never being sent by post
mail. The role of the person taking care of Pocker
is to take pictures with him and to tell at least to
one person each day about the plight of homeless
dogs. Central to the project is helping people un-
derstand that the cool thing is not to buy animals
but to adopt those without homes or hope for the fu-
ture. As Pocker’s catch phrase says, “Adopt! Don’t
spend money for love.”
Meeting new people each day, Pocker has visited
government offices, schools, hospitals, shelters and
houses. Being both very well educated and well
behaved, he may even be carried on a wedding
trip, business trip or a vacation.
Pocker was purchased in a second hand shop and
so, like the adopted Rocky, was neglected and
waiting for a new owner. In his new life, Pocker
has travelled far and wide including Warsaw, Chi-
cago, Florida, London and recently Sydney, Buda-
pest and Athens. Pocker’s project runs on Kasia’s
strong belief that “we must act because even if we
cannot change the world, the world of that dog or
animal is something we can change.”
Earlier this year Pocker made his debut in Austra-
lia. Visiting iconic Bondi Beach and Melbourne’s
Victoria Markets among other places, Pocker fur-
ther spread the word about animal adoptions.
The plight of homeless dogs in Australia is rather
alarming. While there are there national records
of homeless dog numbers, the Animal Welfare
League Queensland has estimated that 200,000
domesticated animals are euthanased every year,
with dogs constituting the majority of this figure.
The most effective solution to Australia’s dog home-
lessness is adoption. Not only does it remove dogs
Pocker travels far and wide visiting not
only shelters but also schools and offices
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Adopt! Don’t spend
money for love:
Pocker promotes the
importance of adoptions.
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from an uncertain future in the pound, but the adop-
tion process itself ensures a more suitable match
between dog and owner. Furthermore, adoption
presents the opportunity to save not only one life
but possibly two; for every dog that is adopted an-
other may be released from the pound to take its
place in a rescue shelter.
The easiest way for Australians to go about adopt-
ing is to visit http://www.pedigreeadoptiondrive.
com.au– this will connect you to the largest nation-
al directory of pets available for adoption.
Unfortunately, many misconceptions surround dog
adoptions. Many hold the belief that because a
dog has ended up in a pound there must be some-
thing wrong with the creature. In reality, the main
reason dogs are surrendered to pounds is because
of their owner’s lifestyle change. Additionally,
there is also a belief that only half-breeds or mutts
may be found in pounds. This again is untrue, pure
breeds are particularly common, especially when
a certain pedigree such as a Chihuahua falls out
of fashion.
Pocker makes worldwide
friendships as he gains support for
adoptions at Sydney’s Bondi Beach
Spreading the importance of dog adoptions glob-
ally is by no means an easy task, but it is certainly
an inspiring mission. Kasia hopes that one day
Pocker might reach all continents. Pocker’s journey
can be followed via his facebook page: https://
Gtrotter/172019979659784?fref=ts and all sup-
port is greatly appreciated.
Kasia herself is not only an animal lover but an
acclaimed Polish TV journalist. Amusingly, her
two current dogs Hacker and Jocker also have
their own Facebook page, which the public can
follow at https://www.facebook.com/pages/
Hacker/300292469983344 and https://www.
257?fref=ts respectively.
The world is needlessly euthanasing too many dogs
each year. Only through a change in the public’s
support and understanding of adoption can homes
be found. So if you are in the market for that per-
fect pet please do consider adoption and help save
the life of man’s best friend.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Sharing in the
success of adoptions
is a heart-touching
experience for Pocker
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Pocker spreading the word about the
plight of homeless dogs
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Kasia’s adopted dogs
Jocker and Hacker
Independent Media Inspiring Minds