• Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived while those in power laugh at us | Richard Flanagan

    Five years ago I was contacted by a stranger, Prof Peter Davies, an eminent water scientist. He wanted to meet because he had news he thought would interest me. The night we met Davies told me that the south-west of Tasmania – the island’s vast, uninhabited and globally unique wildland, the heart of its world heritage area – was dying. The iconic habitats of rainforest, button grass plains, and heathlands had begun to vanish because of climate change. I was shocked. I had understood that climate change’s effects on Tasmania would be significant but not disastrous; the changes mitigated by Tasmania being surrounded by seas that were not heating as quickly as others: the island’s west would get wetter, the east a little warmer and drier, but compared to much of the world it didn’t seem (...)

  • Antarctic’s future in doubt after plan for world’s biggest marine reserve is blocked | World news | The Guardian

    A humpback whale shows its flukes while feeding in Antarctic waters.
    Photograph: Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace/EPA

    A plan to turn a huge tract of pristine Antarctic ocean into the world’s biggest sanctuary has been rejected, throwing the future of one of the Earth’s most important ecosystems into doubt.

    Environmental groups said Russia, China and Norway had played a part in blocking the proposal, with the other 22 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the organisation set up to protect Antarctic waters, backing the proposal.

    The 1.8m sq km reserve – five times the size of Germany – would have banned all fishing in a vast area of the Weddell Sea and parts of the Antarctic peninsula, safeguarding species including penguins, killer whales, leopard seals and blue whales.

    Experts said it would also have played a key role in tackling climate change, as the seas around the Antarctic soak up huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But following days of talks in Hobart in Tasmania, the CCAMLR rejected the plan, which needed unanimous agreement to pass.

  • The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger | The New Yorker

    Tasmania, which is sometimes said to hang beneath Australia like a green jewel, shares the country’s colonial history. The first English settlers arrived in 1803 and soon began spreading across the island, whose human and animal inhabitants had lived in isolation for more than ten thousand years. Conflict was almost immediate. The year that the Orchard farmhouse was built, the Tasmanian government paid out fifty-eight bounties to trappers and hunters who presented the bodies of thylacines, which were wanted for preying on the settlers’ sheep. By then, the number of dead tigers, like the number of live ones, was steeply declining. In 1907, the state treasury paid out for forty-two carcasses. In 1908, it paid for seventeen. The following year, there were two, and then none the year after, or the year after that, or ever again.

    By 1917, when Tasmania put a pair of tigers on its coat of arms, the real thing was rarely seen.

    Like the dodo and the great auk, the tiger found a curious immortality as a global icon of extinction, more renowned for the tragedy of its death than for its life, about which little is known. In the words of the Tasmanian novelist Richard Flanagan, it became “a lost object of awe, one more symbol of our feckless ignorance and stupidity.”

    But then something unexpected happened. Long after the accepted date of extinction, Tasmanians kept reporting that they’d seen the animal. There were hundreds of officially recorded sightings, plus many more that remained unofficial, spanning decades.

    Expeditions to find the rumored survivors were mounted—some by the government, some by private explorers, one by the World Wildlife Fund. They were hindered by the limits of technology, the sheer scale of the Tasmanian wilderness, and the fact that Tasmania’s other major carnivore, the devil, is nature’s near-perfect destroyer of evidence, known to quickly consume every bit of whatever carcasses it finds, down to the hair and the bones.

    #Tasmanie #biodiversité #extinction

    • Many scientists believe that even now, in this age of environmental crisis and ever-increasing technological capability, more animals are discovered each year than go extinct, often dying off without us even realizing they lived. We have no way to define extinction—or existence—other than through the limits of our own perception. For many years, an animal was considered extinct a half century after the last confirmed sighting. The new standard, adopted in 1994, is that there should be “no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died,” leaving us to debate which doubts are reasonable. Because the death of a species is not a simple narrative unfolding conveniently before human eyes, it’s likely that at least some thylacines did survive beyond their official end at the Hobart Zoo, perhaps even for generations.

      Tiger enthusiasts are quick to bring up Lazarus species—animals that were considered lost but then found—which in Australia include the mountain pygmy possum (known from fossils dating from the Pleistocene and long thought to be extinct, it was found in a ski lodge in 1966); the Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink (rediscovered in a snake’s stomach in 1992); and the bridled nailtail wallaby, which was resurrected in 1973, after a fence-builder read about its extinction in a magazine article and told researchers that he knew where some lived. In 2013, a photographer captured seventeen seconds of footage of the night parrot, whose continued existence had been rumored but unproven for almost a century. Sean Dooley, the editor of the magazine BirdLife, called the rediscovery “the bird-watching equivalent of finding Elvis flipping burgers in an outback roadhouse.”

    • This is the dream that the explorer Abel Tasman was chasing when he sailed east from Mauritius on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, in 1642. (Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, had become a popular stopover for Dutch sailors, who restocked their larders with a large and easily hunted bird that lived there, the dodo.) Almost seven weeks later, his crew sighted land, which they took for part of a continent, never discovering that it was an island. Onshore, they initially met no people, although they heard music in the forest and saw widely spaced notches carved into trees, which led Tasman to speculate, in his published journal, that giants lived there—a notion that may have inspired Jonathan Swift’s Brobdingnagians. Tasman also wrote that a search party “saw the footing of wild Beasts having Claws like a Tyger.”

      Aboriginal Tasmanians, who had lived on the land for roughly thirty-five thousand years, were dying in large numbers, succumbing to new diseases introduced from Europe and attacks by colonists who wanted to raise livestock on the open land where they, and the thylacine, hunted. In 1830, just twenty-seven years after colonization, Tasmania’s lieutenant-governor called on the military, and every able-bodied male, to join a human chain that would stretch across the settled areas of the island and sweep the native people into exile. The operation, which used up more than half the colony’s annual budget, became known as the Black Line, for the people it targeted. That same year, a wool venture in the northwest offered the first bounties for dead thylacines, and the government of the island began offering them for living Aboriginal people—later to be amended to include the dead as well.

    • Éteindre une espèce, c’est souvent involontaire. (Conduire sa voiture, manger de la viande, jeter du plastique...). Découvrir une espece, c’est volontaire (financer une mission scientifique, s’intéresser aux sciences, choisir un métier sans débouchés en SVT...). Donc c’est incomparable.

    • L’article mentionne à plusieurs reprises des vies brisées par la passion pour cette quête : des mecs que leur compagne quitte parce qu’elles en ont marre de voir l’argent du ménage passer en caméras ou que leur mec soit toujours en vadrouille et ne parle que de ça. Très peu de femmes dans le reportage et la seule dont j’ai le souvenir est mesurée, elle a un propos d’ONG.

      Ça tourne mal pour eux mais n’est-ce pas genré, de pouvoir avoir une passion et la vivre comme ça ? Dans l’image que j’ai de la société à travers des reportages comme ça ou mes observations perso, les femmes ne peuvent pas se permettre d’avoir des passions et de les vivre, c’est un énième privilège masculin. Je pensais à ça en plaignant (ma première réaction) ces types qui compliquent leur vie avec la recherche de ce tigre (marsupial).

  • Show 620 (Radio Campus Paris)

    Put Use When Can : It is a cold and rainy December evening in Paris and we’re sitting in the studio at Radio Campus, just round the corner from the Place des Vosges.The French radio artist Julia Drouhin is over from Tasmania. We have just finished recording our monthly F-Air Play session, where the artist and composer Ocean Viva Silver set us some sticky questions and we replied as best we could with a selection of field recordings, a thumb piano, voices, a small record player and a melodica. We have 45 minutes left in the studio before the next programme, so we decide to leave the microphones open and to play along to the creaks and squeaks of the studio chair and the friendly buzz of the mixing desk. Never waste a good opportunity we say to ourselves, Put.Use.When.Can.

    Produced by (...)

  • ’World’s Oldest Beer’ Brewed With Yeast from 18th Century Shipwreck – gCaptain

    photo: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

    Led by Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Conservator David Thurrowgood, the research team was able to extract live yeast from a bottle pulled from the wreck of the Sydney Cove, which sank in 1797 on Preservation Island off Tasmania. The team then used the yeast to brew beer using recipes and techniques from the same period – calling the brew Preservation Ale.

    “The yeast is unique to science, and has genetic links to European brewing, baking and wine yeast used before modern specialised strains were developed,” said Thurrowgood.

    “The beer has a distinctly light and fresh flavour, giving a taste that has not been sipped for 220 years.”

    The team has also since baked a loaf of sourdough bread from the same yeast.

  • Maps are as much about art – and lies – as science

    Harry Beck’s tube map sketch. Photo: Victoria & Albert Museum © TfL

    Maps are as much about art – and lies – as science
    As a new exhibition at the British Library will show, the 20th century became the great age of the map – fuelled by war and travel
    Stephen Bayley

    Stephen Bayley

    29 October 2016

    Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line

    The British Library, 4 November until 1 March 2017

    In Australia, I have been told, the female pubic area is sometimes known as a ‘mapatasi’ because its triangular shape resembles a map of Tasmania. And since we are discussing cartography and the nether regions, it is wonderful to find in the British Library’s new exhibition, Maps and the 20th Century, that Countess Mountbatten wore knickers made out of second world war airmen’s silk escape maps.

    #cartographie #art #manipulation #exposition #british_library

  • Research findings back up Aboriginal legend on origin of Central Australian palm trees

    The scientific world is stunned by research which backs an Aboriginal legend about how palm trees got to Central Australia.

    Several years ago Tasmanian ecologist David Bowman did DNA tests on palm seeds from the outback and near Darwin.

    Professor David Bowman, University of Tasmania
    The results led him to conclude the seeds were carried to the Central Desert by humans up to 30,000 years ago.

    Professor Bowman read an Aboriginal legend recorded in 1894 by pioneering German anthropologist and missionary Carl Strehlow, which was only recently translated, describing the “gods from the north” bringing the seeds to Palm Valley

    #aborigènes #légende #australie

  • Tasmania Wants To Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2020 | ThinkProgress

    Tasmania has given the climate community something to smile about after months of frowning toward Australia. Since being elected in September, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been waging an anti-climate crusade. He’s abandoned the country’s long-held emissions reduction target, taken steps towards repealing the carbon emissions trading scheme, and started an international row with the likes of Al Gore and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres over climate change’s role in this year’s intense, early season bushfires.

    Amidst all that, Abbott also found time to slash funding for renewable energy. Now Tasmania, Australia’s island state off the southeastern edge of the continent, has taken it’s own initiative in the face of Abbott’s many setbacks and released a climate change strategy aimed at achieving 100 percent renewable power usage by 2020.

    Tasmania’s new plan — known as the Climate Smart Tasmania plan — includes energy reduction targets across multiple sectors with an interim 2020 target to reduce carbon emissions to 35 percent below 1990 levels.

    #climat #Tasmanie #Australie

  • Gay marriage beach BBQ ’great success’ in Tasmania
    Over 200 people hit the beach for Australian state’s first ever barbecue in support of equal marriage legislation
    03 December 2012 | By Matthew Jenkin
    Hundreds attend Tasmania’s first Marriage Equality Beach BBQ
    Photo by Rafael Manzanilla

    Tasmania’s first Marriage Equality Beach BBQ has been hailed ’a great success’ after over 200 people attended.

    Event organiser Helen Richardson said the popularity of the barbecue in the Australian state’s capital Hobart yesterday (2 December) shows marriage equality has strong community support.

    ’Today’s BBQ sent a message to Upper House members, particularly Jim Wilkinson in whose electorate the event was held, that marriage equality has strong support across the community.

    ’Supporters of marriage equality are saying loud and clear to Legislative Councillors who voted against the legislation, that we are in 2012 not 1912.

    ’It’s time all Tasmanians, regardless of sexual orientation, are able to marry their life partner.’

    In September this year Tasmania became the first Australian state to pass marriage equality legislation through a lower house of parliament.

    The bill was narrowly defeated by two votes in the Upper House and the state government has promised to re-introduce it in the New Year.

    Speakers at the barbecue included Hobart Alderman, Helen Burnett, local resident, mum and same-sex partner, Jo Richardson, Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome and Rainbow Labor spokesperson, Robbie Moore.

    Croome said marriage equality supporters will continue to advocate for reform up until the legislation returns, while Moore announced a marriage equality protest outside the office of Upper House member, Vanessa Goodwin, on 19 December.

    Both Jim Wilkinson and Vanessa Goodwin voted against the State Government’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill.