With the World Health Organisation and members of the scientific community telling us Genetically Modified plants are safe what is there to worry about? Metabolic diseases and cancers, industrial pollution, the creating of high risk mono-cultures and control of seeds are just a few issues raised by those who say there’s plenty to concern us about the practice of injecting plants with pesticides and making them more dependent on chemical intervention than ever. Environmentalist Dr Vandana Shiva says the impact of industrial farming is so bad, it’s a war on our planet.
Dr Shiva is the founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun, India and the founder of Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade.
A short version of this interview first appeared on The Wire
It’s nearly ten years since Kevin Rudd said climate change was the great moral challenge of our time. While three quarters of Australians now believe climate change is happening, some still aren’t sure whether it’s just a natural cycle or whether it’s caused by human activity like burning coal. Yet the science remains clear – the planet is warming and the changing climate means is resulting in extreme weather events around the world. Nobel Prize winner Peter Doherty says our lack of understanding of the science comes down to the knowledge wars being run by vested interests, who stand to lose if we take meaningful action on climate change . He’s urging you to inform yourself and his book, the Knowledge Wars, is a guide to navigating what is misinformation and what is real.
At the upcoming G20 forum in Australia 19 countries plus the European Union will discuss their future economic prospects and and any threats to our prosperity. Missing from the agenda though, is climate change, which the Committee for Economic Development of Australia says poses a serious threat to our economy. In a report released today CEDA argues that falling behind on reducing greenhouse gas emissions leaves Australia’s economy vulnerable, and it is business and the community who will pay the price.
CEDA CEO, Stephen Martin, says it is inappropriate for Australian businesses to assume the international response to regulate and control emissions will have no influence on their activities. He is calling for the government to take stronger action on climate change, and wants to see a National Risk Register established to help business assess the likely impact of climate change such as increasing extreme weather events, droughts and bush fires.
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Professor The Honourable Stephen Martin, Chief Executive, CEDA
Our children are sicker; cancer, obesity, allergies and mental health issues are on the rise in adults; and, frighteningly, we may be less intelligent than previous generations. In the meantime chemicals are being pumped into every part of our environment – the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Author Julian Cribb says our poisoned planet is a bigger issue than climate change, and it’s something we all need to take urgent action on.
In his new book, Poisoned Planet, Julian Cribb says we have the tools to clean it up and create a healthier, safer future for us all.
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Author, journalist, editor and science communicator, Julian Cribb
While the Coalition ploughs ahead with its promise to axe the carbon tax and bring in it’s alternate “Direct Action” plan, there’s a growing sense in the Australian community that action isn’t happening fast enough. A new poll from the Lowy Institute has revealed Australians want the government to show more leadership on the issue that has plagued so many of our political leaders. For former Independent Rob Oakeshott, Australia’s lack of progress on climate change is not just frustrating. He says it’s a missed opportunity.
Oakeshott has just released his memoir “The Independent Member for Lyne” in which he reflects on the key issues he tried to progress during his time in parliament. For the former National turned Independent, action on climate change was one of the deal clinchers in his choice to support Julia Gillard and the Labor Government in 2010.
“Nature is an awful lot more powerful than we are” – that’s the message from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the death toll from superstorm Hurricane Sandy hits 46 and could rise further. US President Barack Obama has now declared major disasters in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, and is promising the US government will do all it can to help local authorities cope with damage.
At over 1600 kms wide Hurricane Sandy covers a huge area, and it’s impact is being felt by an estimated 50-60 million people. But how much do we know about this kind of superstorm and how much is climate change playing a part?
Catherine Zengerer speaks to Tamara Braunstein from The American Red Cross to find out how they are coping with the influx of people in need of shelter, and with Kevin Walsh, Associate Professor of Meteorology at the University of Melbourne, to find out whether climate change contributed to Sandy’s intensity and timing.
The federal government announced today it will walk away from its so-called ‘Contract for Closure’ – the plan to help reduce carbon emissions by buying 2000 megawatts of energy from the top five polluting power stations in the country.
It’s a move which has disappointed environment groups, but the Opposition is happy.
Catherine Zengerer speaks with Tony Moore, Climate Change Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation, Sean Murray, Friends of the Earth Spokesperson on Coal and Greens Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt.
With 710 kilometres of lowlying coastline subject to frequent storms, Bangladesh is a country particularly vulnerable to climate change. Two visiting climate change experts from Bangladesh are warning that sea level rises will create large scale disasters that will affect the whole region. They say there could be as many as 20 to 30 million Bangladeshi’s displaced by rising sea levels and that will mean huge refugee problems for surrounding countries.
Catherine Zengerer speaks with Mohammad Harunur Rashid Bhuyan, Research Associate to the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies and , political economic and security analyst.
2010 was the hottest year on record and 13 of the world’s hottest years have all occurred in the past 15 years. Here in Australia our record rainfalls are also being attributed to climate change. These are some of the key messages from the latest State of the Climate report, released today by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.
So how can we have some of our coolest temperatures and global warming at the same time?
Catherine Zengerer speaks with Dr Rob Vertessy, Acting Director of the Bureau of Meteorology and CEO of the Climate Institute, John O’Connor.
The world’s finest experts came together this week in Adelaide to discuss food security and its potential for 2050, as a greater demand is placed on food production with the growth of population. Catherine Zengerer attended a National Forum on Food Security to discover both national and international challenges for food systems.
She spoke to experts who raised concerns over climate control, poverty in developing countries and the world’s capacity to deal with food problems. They explained the issues are very different between people in developed countries who find food inexpensive and those in underdeveloped countries who spend 60-80% of their incomes on food. The real question is whether the world can fulfil future food needs with an expected population growth of nine billion by 2050, which means the world will need to produce 70% more food than today.
Featured in story: Professor Per Pinstrup Anderson – World Food Prize Laureate and Professor of Food and Nutrition Policy and Economics at Cornell University in New York; Professor Peter Langridge – University of Adelaide