A new, controversial super-trawler, the Dutch-owned FV Margiris, has set sail for Tasmania, off the south-east coast of Australia, to take a haul of jack mackerel and redbait, prompting concerns it is going to decimate several Australian fish stocks as factory fishing has done elsewhere in the world. Greenpeace claims the industrial super-trawler is part of the European Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (PFA), responsible for "some of the worst fishing excesses on the planet.'' It is scheduled to be roaming between the Tasman Sea and Western Australia this spring. [more inside]
Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
"Why the fuss? Well, Colin's a baby whale..." Oh no. They named the doomed little thing ('little' meaning about the size of a large car). Mal Holland's report from the Daily Telegraph gives a very illuminating rundown of the nervous breakdown that "Sydney's booming whale watching industry" is experiencing right now... [more inside]
Greenfleet is an Australian environmental organisation who aim to help citizens offset their own greenhouse gas emmissions. Their Tree Totaller (Australian-based, but I'm sure conversions are easy) works out how many trees you need to offset your annual emmissions, based on private car, home energy use and flights. It's a very neat little flash-app, and at the end it lets you chose to "subscribe" to Greenfleet so they'll plant the necessary number of trees for you. I owe 44 trees, for only AU$103 a year.
World solar challenge 2003. Darwin to Adelaide 19 - 28 October. Check out the route. Meet the teams. Have a look at the Green Fleet class as well, where technology meets reality. I won't be able to watch the race but have high hopes for next year's Olympics.
A kilometre-high solar tower, to be built in the Australian outback by EnviroMission Ltd, will become the world's tallest structure when completed in 2006. Designed by Jorg Schlaich of Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, the solar tower (or solar chimney) operates like a hydroelectric power plant, but uses hot air instead of water, and it could provide enough electricity for 200,000 homes. Time calls it one of the best inventions of 2002, and I think it's one of the most ingenious ideas I've ever heard. Another solar chimney project was planned in Rajasthan, India, but I haven't found any information on its current status.
However you spell it, it sounds like good news. After five years of lobbying by the Aborigines, Australia set aside a huge chunk of the central Outback yesterday as the country’s largest national park. At 38,000 sq mi (98,000 sq km), Ngaanyatjarra is twice the size of Switzerland. This comes on the heels of the Canadian government's plans for ten new national parks and five new marine conservation areas over the next five years, a move greeted with skepticism by some. (And then there are those that say national parks are obsolete anyway). Has anyone been to any of these places?