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Coronavirus risks in public bathrooms: What goes into the toilet doesn’t always stay there

<p>Most public restrooms are grungy in the best of times. Now, we have the coronavirus risk to contend with, too. There are lots of risks – dirty sinks and door handles, airborne particles and other people in small, enclosed spaces who may or may not be breathing out the coronavirus.</p> <p>So, how do you stay safe when you’re away from home and you’ve really got to go?</p> <p>As a medical doctor and epidemiologist, I study infectious diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract. Here are four things to pay attention to when it comes to any public restroom.</p> <p><strong>What goes into the toilet doesn’t always stay there</strong></p> <p>Have you ever thought about what happens when you flush a toilet?</p> <p>Scientists who worry about disease transmission in hospitals have, and their findings are worth remembering when you’re in a public restroom.</p> <p>All that bubbling, swirling and splashing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02786826.2013.814911">can aerosolize fecal waste</a>, sending tiny particles airborne. A <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-018-0301-9">study on hospital bathrooms</a> found that the amount of those particles spiked after a toilet was flushed, and the concentration in the air remained high 30 minutes later. It didn’t matter if the test was done right next to the toilet or 3 feet away. Second and third flushes continued to spread particles. Another study, published June 16, simulated toilet plumes from flushing and also found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0013318">a large number of particles rose above the toilet seat</a> and lingered in the air. The scientists’ advice: close the lid before flushing.</p> <p>Researchers have found that the new coronavirus, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30083-2">SARS-CoV-2, can be shed in feces for up to a month</a> after the illness. That’s longer than in respiratory samples, though how much of that time the virus could be causing infections and whether the virus has infected humans through fecal waste <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html">isn’t yet known</a>.</p> <p><strong>Surfaces can harbor the virus, so wash up</strong></p> <p>The aerosols generated when <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2006874117">someone infected with coronavirus coughs or even talks</a> can be inhaled, of course, but they also settle out on surrounding surfaces, such as bathroom counter tops.</p> <p>To stay safe, be extra careful and touch as little as possible in public restrooms, including door handles. Whatever you do, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/well/live/coronavirus-spread-transmission-face-touching-hands.html">don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth</a> after touching these surfaces – your mucous membranes are the coronavirus’s entryway into your body.</p> <p>When you’re done, <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-hand-washing-really-is-as-important-as-doctors-say-132840">thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water</a>, and maybe <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/jam.13014">skip the hot-air hand dryer</a>, which can also create aerosols and blow them toward you.</p> <p>Carrying face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes with you can help you be prepared, particularly if the facilities lack soap or running water.</p> <p><strong>Enclosed spaces are a problem</strong></p> <p>The air in an enclosed space like a public restroom can have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30245-9">coronavirus particles in it for several hours</a> after someone infectious with COVID-19 was there.</p> <p>Scientists still don’t know how <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-we-do-and-do-not-know-about-covid-19s-infectious-dose-and-viral-load-135991">much of the virus you have to take in</a> to become infected, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Limiting the amount of time spent in any enclosed indoor space – restrooms and <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-lower-your-coronavirus-risk-while-eating-out-restaurant-advice-from-an-infectious-disease-expert-138925">restaurants</a> included – can reduce the potential for getting sick from the coronavirus.</p> <p><strong>Wear a mask, and walk out if others aren’t</strong></p> <p>One of the more insidious characteristics of the new coronavirus is that someone infected with the virus can be spreading it <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25774/chapter/1#3">two to three days before they show any symptoms</a>. Some people don’t show symptoms at all, but they can still be infectious for days.</p> <p>Based on surveillance during the Princess cruise ship outbreak in Yokohama, Japan, <a href="http://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.10.2000180">15 to 20% of the people tested positive</a> for the coronavirus had no symptoms. <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.10182">Data from Wuhan, China</a>, put the number of asymptomatic cases at closer to 40%.</p> <p>Keeping <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa189">at least 6 feet away from others</a> and wearing a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0843-2">mask can help you avoid spreading the coronavirus</a> if you’re asymptomatic and don’t realize it. They can also help protect you, though social distancing in small public restrooms isn’t always possible.</p> <p>If someone else is in the restroom without a mask on, the best advice is to walk out. It isn’t worth the risk.</p> <p><em>Written by William Petri. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-goes-into-the-toilet-doesnt-always-stay-there-and-other-coronavirus-risks-in-public-bathrooms-139637">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Antarctica without windchill and the Louvre without queues: How to travel the world from home

<p>SpaceX’s recent <a href="https://theconversation.com/spacexs-historic-launch-gives-australias-booming-space-industry-more-room-to-fly-139760">Falcon 9 rocket launch</a> proves humanity has come leaps and bounds in its effort to reach other worlds. But now there’s a quicker, safer and environmentally friendlier way to travel to the centre of the galaxy – and you can do it too.</p> <p><a href="https://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2020/gcenter/">NASA</a> has co-developed a free virtual reality (VR) adventure providing 500 years of travel around the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. The experience is available to download from two major VR stores, <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/1240350/Galactic_Center_VR/">Steam</a> and <a href="https://www.viveport.com/21f8b24c-783b-4af2-8e81-a63a14553721">Viewport</a>, in a non-collapsed star system near you.</p> <p>And this kind of spacefaring may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of virtual travel and tourism.</p> <p><strong>The virtual travel bug</strong></p> <p>Simply speaking, VR refers to technology that immerses users in a computer-generated world that removes them from reality. Augmented Reality (AR), however, aims to superimpose virtual imagery over a user’s view of the real world. Pokémon Go is a popular AR game.</p> <p>VR-based tourism has a longer history than you might think. In the 1850s, it involved staring at <a href="https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/stereo/background.html">stereographs</a> with a <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/sterographs-original-virtual-reality-180964771/">stereoscope</a>. With this invention, viewers looked at slightly different images through each eye, which were then assembled by the brain to make a new image providing the illusion of spatial depth (in other words, a 3D effect).</p> <p>A century later, 1950s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinerama">Cinerama</a> widescreen viewing inspired cinematic travel though its large, curved screens and multiple cameras.</p> <p>The 1960s <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2014-02-16-morton-heiligs-sensorama-simulator.html">Sensorama</a> foretold a shiny future of multimodal immersive cinematic experiences, playing 3D films with sound, scents and wind to immerse users. In <a href="https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/history.html">VR circles</a>, Ivan Sutherland became famous for inventing the head-mounted display, as well as augmented reality (AR).</p> <p>Travel restrictions under COVID-19 <a href="https://www.ft.com/virtualtravel">present an opportunity</a> for virtual reality travel to finally take off.</p> <p>In an era of lockdowns and social distancing, we could use VR to travel to remote, distant or even no longer existing places. Remote tourism is here (the <a href="https://www.remote-tourism.com/">Faroe Islands</a> offers a great example), and interest in VR tourism is <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/solrogers/2020/03/18/virtual-reality-and-tourism-whats-already-happening-is-it-the-future/#5b39a26228a6">blossoming</a>.</p> <p><strong>VR comes in many forms</strong></p> <p>The word “virtual” can refer to an immersive 3D experience, but also 360° panorama photographs and movies (a <a href="https://wiki.panotools.org/Panorama_formats">cylinder, sphere or cube of photographs</a>).</p> <p>What is deemed “virtual” varies greatly across different devices and platforms. Let’s look at some of the ways this term is applied.</p> <p><strong>Desktop virtual environments</strong>: these are computer-based 3D environments on a flat screen, without the spatial immersion of VR platforms.</p> <p><strong>Cinematic VR</strong>: these are phone-based panoramic environments. Many desktop experiences of 360° movies or images can be conveyed in low-cost <a href="https://arvr.google.com/cardboard/">stereoscopic VR through smartphones</a>. Google Street view can be viewed in <a href="https://www.blog.google/products/google-vr/get-closer-look-street-view-google-earth-vr/">Google VR</a> on Android and <a href="https://3g.co.uk/guides/what-smartphones-work-with-virtual-reality">some Apple</a> smartphones, but it’s not real VR.</p> <p><strong>Head-mounted displays</strong>: HMDs such as <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-Google-Cardboard/">Google Cardboard</a> and <a href="https://arvr.google.com/daydream/smartphonevr/">Google Daydream</a> are what many people think of when they hear “virtual reality”. Some HMDs are self-contained, not requiring connection to a computer or console. Arguably, the market is <a href="https://3dinsider.com/oculus-vs-htc-vive-vs-psvr/">dominated</a> by the Oculus range owned by Facebook, the HTC Vive range, and PlayStation VR.</p> <p><strong>VR in a pandemic</strong></p> <p>In a post-coronavirus age, device sharing is problematic. HMDs aren’t easy to clean and VR software can quickly become obsolete, with new headsets sometimes not running two-year-old software. Users also have to deal with costly updates, eyestrain, and having to share displays that sat on someone else’s face.</p> <p>Developing and sharing content across different devices can be a nightmare but there are increasingly <a href="https://www.vrtourviewer.com/">simple</a> and effective ways to create <a href="https://www.pocket-lint.com/ar-vr/news/google/142054-google-arcore-android-s-equivalent-to-apple-arkit-explained">AR</a> and VR content, despite a bewildering range of platforms and equipment (there are more than <a href="https://www.archives.gov/files/applied-research/ncsa/8-an-overview-of-3d-data-content-file-formats-and-viewers.pdf">140 3D file formats</a>).</p> <p>Despite this, many VR projects are not preserved – including <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/8/2425">virtual heritage</a> projects! Even for the largest HMD companies, supplies can be <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/20/21177442/half-life-alyx-vr-headset-compatible-valve-oculus-rift-quest-htc-steamvr-available">limited</a>.</p> <p><strong>Places you can virtually visit now</strong></p> <p>Nonetheless, there are plenty of VR programs available to help relieve lockdown boredom, with many sites <a href="https://www.digitaltrends.com/virtual-reality/best-virtual-reality-apps/">offering</a> <a href="https://www.lifewire.com/virtual-reality-tourism-4129394">lists</a> of their favourite picks.</p> <p>The Street View app for Google Daydream and Cardboard provides a “virtual tour” of <a href="https://chernobyl-city.com/virtual-tour/">Chernobyl</a>. <a href="https://earth.google.com/web/@-10.50049963,35.75744511,1062.93460117a,116.59974009d,35y,0h,0t,0r/data=CisSKRIgMzczNGFmOTk5MTIzMTFlOTliOTNjYmE2MDYxMWYzYzMiBXNwbC0w">Google Earth</a> and <a href="https://earth.google.com/web/@-10.50049963,35.75744511,1062.93460117a,116.59974009d,35y,0h,0t,0r/data=CgQSAggB">Google Earth Voyager</a> feature travel sections, too.</p> <p><a href="https://arvr.google.com/earth/">Google Earth VR</a> is available on the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/348250/Google_Earth_VR/">HTC Vive</a> and <a href="https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1513995308673845/">Oculus Rift</a>. <a href="https://www.vrfocus.com/tag/tourism/">VRfocus</a> also has an interesting travel section. You can virtually explore <a href="https://grandtour.myswitzerland.com/">Switzerland</a> or <a href="https://www.virtualyosemite.org/">Yosemite</a>.</p> <p>Or you may want to stay in Australia. Australian company <a href="http://whitesparkpictures.com.au/">White Spark Pictures’</a> Cinematic/360 experience of <a href="https://www.dneg.com/antarctica_vr/">Antarctica</a> tours museums. Melbourne-based company <a href="https://www.lithodomosvr.com/">Lithodomos</a> brings “the ancient world to life” and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=no.hallingdata.hiddenar&amp;hl=en_AU">Hidden AR</a> offers mythical augmented reality.</p> <p>Other links to check out include:</p> <ul> <li>the Guardian’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/mar/23/10-of-the-worlds-best-virtual-museum-and-art-gallery-tours">review</a> of the world’s best virtual museum and art gallery tours</li> <li><a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/">Google Arts and Culture’s</a> virtual tours and online exhibits from myriad <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en">museums and galleries</a>, as well as scavenger hunts – including at <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/project/virtual-tours">the British Museum</a></li> <li>the Louvre’s <a href="https://arts.vive.com/us/articles/projects/art-photography/mona_lisa_beyond_the_glass/">Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass</a></li> <li>the <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/515020/The_VR_Museum_of_Fine_Art/">VR Museum of Fine Art</a>.</li> <li>Europeana’s <a href="https://teachwitheuropeana.eun.org/stories-of-implementation/implementation-of-vintage-vr-soi-hr-109/">vintage stereo VR</a> and <a href="https://pro.europeana.eu/data/vintage-stereoscope-cards">examples</a> of how to create stories and <a href="https://teachwitheuropeana.eun.org/learning-scenarios/vintage-vr-ls-es-14/">lessons</a> with stereosonic VR prints</li> <li>The Smithsonian’s <a href="https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour">virtual tour</a> and downloadable <a href="https://3d.si.edu/">3D artefacts</a>, including a tour of a <a href="https://airandspace.si.edu/vrhangar">hangar</a> from the National Air and Space Museum</li> <li><a href="https://sketchfab.com/museums">Sketchfab</a>’s cultural heritage section which can be accessed through <a href="https://sketchfab.com/virtual-reality">VR headsets or Google Cardboard-enabled smartphones</a>. There’s also a places and travel <a href="https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/categories/places-travel?date=week&amp;sort_by=-likeCount">section</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Escapism through gaming</strong></p> <p>There are also VR games with which you can:</p> <ul> <li>escape inside a physical exhibition of Assassin’s Creed – <a href="https://uploadvr.com/preview-e3-2018-assassins-creed-vr-wireless/">Temple of Anubis VR</a></li> <li>travel through New Orleans, <a href="https://store.playstation.com/en-au/product/EP2397-CUSA18498_00-TWDSSSTDEDITION0">but with zombies</a></li> <li>tour medieval fantasy worlds via <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B072MZ3NLC?tag=georiot-au-default-22&amp;th=1&amp;psc=1&amp;ascsubtag=trd-3438856826073335000-22">Skyrim VR</a></li> <li>explore alien worlds with <a href="https://www.playstation.com/en-au/games/no-mans-sky-ps4/">No Man’s Sky</a> on PlayStation VR</li> <li>watch Amazonian <a href="https://www.viveport.com/6792ef3d-0775-4ab4-b3d3-3d9c15b64d47">shamans</a>, or</li> <li>explore <a href="https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/vr/">Minecraft</a> in VR.</li> </ul> <p>VR can show your outer space, and also convey interpretations of <a href="https://www.viveport.com/1edac723-2fed-4e56-b509-b0b8e796ba81">time and space</a>. With it, there is vast potential for travelling to infinity and beyond.</p> <p><em>Written by Erik Malcolm Champion. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/antarctica-without-windchill-the-louvre-without-queues-how-to-travel-the-world-from-home-140174">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Climate explained: does your driving speed make any difference to your car’s emissions?

<p><strong><em>Does reducing speed reduce emissions from the average car?</em></strong></p> <p>Every car has an optimal speed range that results in minimum fuel consumption, but this range differs between vehicle types, design and age.</p> <p>Typically it looks like this graph below: fuel consumption rises from about 80km/h, partly because air resistance increases.</p> <p>But speed is only one factor. No matter what car you are driving, you can reduce fuel consumption (and therefore emissions) by driving more smoothly.</p> <p>This includes anticipating corners and avoiding sudden braking, taking the foot off the accelerator just before reaching the peak of a hill and cruising over it, and removing roof racks or bull bars and heavier items from inside when they are not needed to make the car lighter and more streamlined.</p> <p><strong>Driving wisely</strong></p> <p>In New Zealand, <a href="https://www.aa.co.nz/about/newsroom/media-releases/events/aa-energywise-rally-starts-with-a-rush/">EnergyWise rallies</a> used to be run over a 1200km course around the North Island. They were designed to demonstrate how much fuel could be saved through good driving habits.</p> <p>The competing drivers had to reach each destination within a certain time period. Cruising too slowly at 60-70km/h on straight roads in a 100km/h zone just to save fuel was not an option (also because driving too slowly on open roads can contribute to accidents).</p> <p>The optimum average speed (for both professional and average drivers) was typically around 80km/h. The key to saving fuel was driving smoothly.</p> <p>In the first rally in 2002, the Massey University entry was a brand new diesel-fuelled Volkswagen Golf (kindly loaned by VW NZ), running on 100% biodiesel made from waste animal fat (as Z Energy has been <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/05/02/106691/biofuels-z-energys-tortuous-carbon-solution">producing</a>).</p> <p>A car running on fossil diesel emits about 2.7kg of carbon dioxide per litre and a petrol car produces 2.3kg per litre. Using biofuels to displace diesel or petrol can reduce emissions by up to 90% per kilometre if the biofuel is made from animal fat from a meat works. The amount varies depending on the source of the biofuel (sugarcane, wheat, oilseed rape). And of course it would be unacceptable if biofuel crops were replacing food crops or forests.</p> <p>Regardless of the car, drivers can reduce fuel consumption by 15-20% by improving driving habits alone – reducing emissions and saving money at the same time.</p> <p><strong>Fuel efficiency</strong></p> <p>When you are thinking of replacing your car, taking into account fuel efficiency is another important way to save on fuel costs and reduce emissions.</p> <p>Many countries, including the US, Japan, China and nations within the European Union, have had fuel efficiency standards for more than a decade. This has driven car manufacturers to design ever <a href="http://www.climatechangeauthority.gov.au/files/files/Light%20Vehicle%20Report/CCA_TransportReport_Appendices.WEB.pdf">more fuel-efficient vehicles</a>.</p> <p>Most light-duty vehicles sold globally are subject to these standards. But Australia and New Zealand have both dragged the chain in this regard, partly because most vehicles are imported.</p> <p>New Zealand also remains hesitant about introducing a “<a href="https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/government-announces-consultation-light-vehicle-fleet-feebate">feebate</a>” scheme, which proposes a fee on imported high-emission cars to make imported hybrids, electric cars and other efficient vehicles cheaper with a subsidy.</p> <p>In New Zealand, driving an <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-why-switching-to-electric-transport-makes-sense-even-if-electricity-is-not-fully-renewable-136502">electric car results in low emissions</a> because electricity generation is 85% renewable. In Australia, which still relies on coal-fired power, electric cars are responsible for higher emissions unless they are recharged through a local renewable electricity supply.</p> <p>Fuel and electricity prices will inevitably rise. But whether we drive a petrol or electric car, we can all shield ourselves from some of those future price rises by driving more efficiently and less speedily.</p> <p><em>Written by Ralph Sims. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-does-your-driving-speed-make-any-difference-to-your-cars-emissions-140246">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Sun, sand and uncertainty: The promise and peril of a Pacific tourism bubble

<p>Pacific nations have largely <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=12328702">avoided</a> the worst health effects of COVID-19, but its economic impact has been devastating. With the tourism tap turned off, unemployment has soared while GDP has plummeted.</p> <p>In recent weeks, Fiji Airways laid off 775 employees and souvenir business Jack’s of Fiji laid off 500. In Vanuatu 70% of tourism workers have lost their jobs. Cook Islands is estimated to have experienced a <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/05/18/1177034/an-island-in-debt">60% drop in GDP</a> in the past three months.</p> <p>In response, many are calling for the Pacific to be included in the proposed <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121727144/coronavirus-transtasman-travel-bubble-date-down-to-australians-winston-peters-says">trans-Tasman travel corridor</a>. Such calls have come from <a href="https://devpolicy.org/vanuatu-a-tourism-sector-perspective-on-potential-recovery-from-covid-19-and-tc-harold-20200506-1/">tourism operators</a>, <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/418156/pressure-mounts-on-nz-and-aust-to-include-pacific-in-bubble">politicians</a> and at least one <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/ideasroom/2020/05/28/1205479/nz-pacific-islands-bubble-should-come-first">health expert</a>.</p> <p>Quarantine concerns aside, there is economic logic to this. Australians and New Zealanders make up <a href="http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2019/06/tourism-sector-achieves-3-16-million-visitor-arrivals-in-18/">more than 50%</a> of travellers to the region. Some countries are massively dependent: two-thirds of visitors to Fiji and three-quarters of visitors to Cook Islands are Aussies and Kiwis.</p> <p>Cook Islands has budgeted NZ$140 million for economic recovery, but this will increase the tiny nation’s debt. Prime Minister Henry Puna has <a href="https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/travel/2020/06/cook-islands-prime-minister-calls-for-pacific-bubble-as-soon-as-new-zealand-enters-covid-19-alert-level-1.html">argued for</a> a limited tourism bubble as soon as New Zealand relaxes its COVID-19 restrictions to alert level 1. Cook Islands News editor Jonathan Milne <a href="https://player.whooshkaa.com/coronavirus-nz?episode=665993">estimates</a> 75-80% of the population is “desperate to get the tourists back”.</p> <p>A Pacific bubble would undoubtedly help economic recovery. But this merely highlights how <a href="https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/impact-of-covid-19-on-tourism-in-small-island-developing-states/">vulnerable</a> these island economies have become. Tourism <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337854342_Development_and_change_Reflections_on_tourism_in_the_South_Pacific">accounts</a> for between 10% and 70% of GDP and up to one in four jobs across the South Pacific.</p> <p>The pressure to reopen borders is understandable. But we argue that a tourism bubble cannot be looked at in isolation. It should be part of a broader strategy to diversify economies and enhance linkages (e.g. between agriculture and tourism, to put more local food on restaurant menus), especially in those countries that are most perilously dependent on tourism.</p> <p><strong>Over-dependence on tourism is a trap</strong></p> <p>Pacific nations such as Vanuatu and Fiji have recovered quickly from past crises such as the GFC, cyclones and coups because of the continuity of tourism. COVID-19 has turned that upside down.</p> <p>People are coping in the short term by reviving subsistence farming, fishing and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/08/two-piglets-for-a-kayak-fiji-returns-to-barter-system-as-covid-19-hits-economy">bartering</a> for goods and services. Many are still suffering, however, due to limited state welfare systems.</p> <p>In Fiji’s case, the government has taken the drastic step of allowing laid-off or temporarily unemployed workers to withdraw from their superannuation savings in the National Provident Fund. Retirement funds have also been used to <a href="https://www.fijivillage.com/news/We-need-Fiji-Airways-to-come-back-strongly-for-the-future-of-the-country---Koroi-48r5xf/">lend FJ$53.6 million</a> to the struggling national carrier, Fiji Airways.</p> <p>Fiji has taken on more debt to cope. Its debt-to-GDP ratio, which ideally should sit below 40% for developing economies, has risen from 48.9% before the pandemic to 60.9%. It’s likely to <a href="http://www.economy.gov.fj/images/Budget/budgetdocuments/supplements/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf">increase further</a>.</p> <p>High debt, lack of economic diversity and dependence on tourism put the Fijian economy in a very vulnerable position. Recovery will take a long time, probably requiring assistance from the country’s main trading partners. In the meantime, Fiji is pinning hopes on joining a New Zealand-Australia <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/416392/fiji-keen-to-join-nz-australia-travel-bubble">travel bubble</a>.</p> <p><strong>Out of crisis comes opportunity</strong></p> <p>Supporting Pacific states to recover is an opportunity for New Zealand and Australia to put their respective Pacific <a href="https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/about-us/mfat-annual-reports/mfat-annual-report-2018-19/case-study-the-pacific-reset-a-year-on/">Reset</a> and <a href="https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/pacific/Pages/the-pacific">Step-Up</a> policies into practice. If building more reciprocal, equitable relationships with Pacific states is the goal, now is the time to ensure economic recovery also strengthens their socio-economic, environmental and political infrastructures.</p> <p>Economic well-being within the Pacific region is already closely linked to New Zealand and Australia through seasonal workers in horticulture and viticulture, remittance payments, trade and travel. But for many years there has been a major trade imbalance in favour of New Zealand and Australia. Shifting that balance beyond the recovery phase will involve facilitating long-term resilience and sustainable development in the region.</p> <p>A good place to start would be the recent United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific <a href="https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/Policy%20brief_MPFD_Combating%20COVID-19%20in%20Asia%20and%20the%20Pacific%20updated.pdf">report</a> on recovering from COVID-19. Its recommendations include such measures as implementing social protection programs, integrating climate action into plans to revive economies, and encouraging more socially and environmentally responsible businesses.</p> <p>This is about more than altruism – enlightened self-interest should also drive the New Zealand and Australian agenda. Any longer-term economic downturn in the South Pacific, due in part to over-reliance on tourism, could lead to instability in the region. There is a clear <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/the-next-economic-crisis-could-cause-a-global-conflict-heres-why">link</a> between serious economic crises and social unrest.</p> <p>At a broader level, the pandemic is already <a href="https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Coronavirus-gives-China-an-edge-as-it-expands-sway-in-the-Pacific">entrenching</a> Chinese regional influence: loans from China make up 62% of Tonga’s total foreign borrowing; for Vanuatu the figure is 43%; for Samoa 39%.</p> <p>China is taking the initiative through what some call “<a href="https://devpolicy.org/chinas-coronavirus-covid-19-diplomacy-in-the-pacific-20200527-1/">COVID-19 diplomacy</a>”. This involves funding pandemic stimulus packages and offering aid and investment throughout the Pacific, including drafting a <a href="https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/free-trade-agreement-talks-underway-between-fiji-and-china/">free trade agreement</a> with Fiji.</p> <p>That is not to say Chinese investment in Pacific economies won’t do good. Rather, it is an argument for thinking beyond the immediate benefits of a travel bubble. By realigning their development priorities, Australia and New Zealand can help the Pacific build a better, more sustainable future.</p> <p><em>Written by Regina Scheyvens and Apisalome Movono. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/sun-sand-and-uncertainty-the-promise-and-peril-of-a-pacific-tourism-bubble-139661">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Climate change is the most important mission for universities of the 21st century

<p>Universities are confronting the possibility of <a href="https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/3392469/Australian-Universities-COVID-19-Financial-Management.pdf">profound sector-wide transformation</a> due to the continuing effects of COVID-19. It is prompting much needed debate about what such transformation should look like and what kind of system is in the public interest.</p> <p>This is now an urgent conversation. If universities want a say in what the future of higher education will look like, they will need to generate ideas quickly and in a way that attracts wide public support.</p> <p>This will involve articulating their unique role as embedded, future-regarding, ethical generators of crucial knowledge and skills, well-equipped to handle coming contingencies and helping others do the same.</p> <p>And this means higher education changes are entangled with another major force for transformation – climate change.</p> <p>How can universities credibly claim to be preparing young people for their futures, or to be working with employers, if they do not take into account the kind of world they are helping to bring about?</p> <p><strong>A vital role in a climate changed world</strong></p> <p>Whether indexed by the continual climb in <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heat-and-humidity-are-already-reaching-the-limits-of-human-tolerance/">extreme heat and humidity</a>, the <a href="http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/">melting of Arctic ice</a>, the eruption of <a href="https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/australian-bushfires-why-they-are-unprecedented">unprecedented mega-fire events</a> or the <a href="https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/">rapid degradation of ecosystems</a> and <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/05/26/2008198117">disruption of human settlements</a>, climate change is here.</p> <p>It is rapidly exacerbating environmental and social stress across the globe, as well as directly and indirectly impacting all institutions and areas of life. And worse still, global greenhouse gas concentrations are moving in exactly the opposite direction to what we need, with <a href="https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html">carbon emissions growing by 2.0% in 2019, the fastest growth for seven years</a>.</p> <p>Much-needed transitions towards low carbon and well-adapted systems are emerging. But they are too piecemeal and slow relative to what is needed to avoid large scale <a href="https://www.deepsouthchallenge.co.nz/projects/climate-change-cascade-effect">cascading</a> and <a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/compound-costs-how-climate-change-damages-australias-economy/">compounding impacts to our planet</a>.</p> <p>Universities, along with all other parts of our society, will feel the effects of climate change. The cost of the devastation at the Australian National University due to the summer’s fires and hailstorm, for instance, is estimated to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-27/coronavirus-hail-bushfires-cause-225m-loss-at-anu/12290522">be A$75 million dollars</a>.</p> <p>Failure to appropriately adapt to the increasing likelihood of such events <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0715-2">threatens to undermine research of all sorts</a>.</p> <p>Whether due to climate impacts (such as <a href="https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/09/06/npr-coastal-labs-studying-increased-flooding-consider-moving-due-to-increased-floodin">the effects of sea level rise on coastal laboratories</a>) or policy and market shifts away from carbon-intensive activities (such as coal powered energy), research investments face the risk of becoming <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-stranded-assets-matter-and-should-not-be-dismissed-51939">stranded assets</a>. Not only could expensive infrastructure and equipment be rendered redundant, but certain skills, capabilities and projects could too.</p> <p>Universities are key to enabling Australian society to transition to a safer and lower emissions pathway. They are needed to provide the knowledge, skills and technologies for this positive transition. And they are also needed to <a href="https://climateoutreach.org/system-change-vs-behaviour-change-is-a-false-choice-covid-19-shows-how-theyre-connected/">foster the social dialogue and build the broad public mandate</a> to get there.</p> <p>This means old ideas of universities as isolated and values-free zones, and newer notions of them as cheap consultants to the private sector, fundamentally fail to fulfil the role universities now need to play.</p> <p>They must become public good, mission-driven organisations devoted to rapidly progressing human understanding and action on the largest threat there has ever been, to what they are taken to represent and advance – human civilisation.</p> <p><strong>Universities must become more sustainable…</strong></p> <p>Inaction will erode the trust on which universities rely, especially among the key constituencies universities are meant to serve – young people and the private, community and public sectors.</p> <p><a href="https://globalclimatestrike.net/">Students</a>, <a href="https://www.asyousow.org/report/clean200-2019-q1">businesses</a>, <a href="https://en.unesco.org/events/climate-change-and-ngos-eight-international-forum-ngos-official-partnership-unesco">not-for-profit organisations</a> and certain <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/09/climate-change-report-card-co2-emissions/">governments</a> are already acting far more forcefully than universities, even as the latter claim to be intellectual leaders.</p> <p>Who universities invest in, fund, partner with and teach, and how, will increasingly be judged through a climate change lens. All actors in the fossil fuel value chain – including <a href="https://www.marketforces.org.au/marsh-mclennan-present-greenwash-at-agm/">insurance brokers</a> and <a href="https://gofossilfree.org/australia/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/09/ExposeTheTies_digital.pdf?_ga=2.89096216.248025022.1590905170-1969762787.1590905170">researchers</a> – are coming under pressure to stop facilitating a form of production that enriches a few while endangering all.</p> <p>Networks such as the <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/03/universities-form-global-network-climate-change">International Universities Climate Alliance</a>, the <a href="http://www.gauc.net/about/about.html">Global Alliance of Universities on Climate</a> and <a href="https://www.acts.asn.au/">Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability</a> are pushing for change in and by the sector.</p> <p>In 2019, <a href="https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190710141435609">three global university networks organised an open letter</a> signed by more than 7,000 higher and further education institutions. It called for the sector to reduce emissions and invest in climate change research, teaching and outreach. Even more have signed the <a href="https://www.sdgaccord.org/climateletter">SDG (sustainable development goals) Accord’s climate emergency declaration</a>, which calls for:</p> <ul> <li>mobilising more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation</li> <li>committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest</li> <li>increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programs.</li> </ul> <p>Some universities are already starting to build aspects of climate change into their operations. Most prominent have been efforts to divest university finances from direct support of fossil fuels. While some institutions are still dragging their feet, the University of California has announced it will <a href="https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-19/uc-fossil-fuel-divest-climate-change">fully divest </a> its US$126 billion endowment from fossil fuels.</p> <p>Pressure is similarly growing for <a href="https://unisuperdivest.org/">Unisuper to stop investing</a> Australian university staff superannuation into corporations that endanger the very future staff are saving for.</p> <p>University campuses are being refigured as sites of energy production and consumption. <a href="https://www.strathmore.edu/serc/">Strathmore University in Kenya </a>and <a href="https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2019/nov/rmit-leads-the-way-on-renewable-energy">RMIT University in Australia</a> are among those who produce their own renewable energy.</p> <p>Although <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-universities-are-not-walking-the-talk-on-going-low-carbon-72411">few universities are working towards absolute reductions in emissions</a>, or have appropriate climate adaptation plans, initiatives such as the <a href="https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/top-universities-climate-action">Times Higher Education Impact Index</a> are increasing interest in visible climate action.</p> <p><strong>… and they must change teaching and research</strong></p> <p>Teaching and research too must change. University students can <a href="https://study.curtin.edu.au/offering/course-pg-masters-of-environment-and-climate-emergency--mc-envclm/">choose programs and optional modules dedicated to climate change</a>. But this isn’t enough. Climate change has to be integrated in all disciplines.</p> <p>It is essential universities do not quarantine climate change as some kind of specialist topic. A <a href="https://journals.aom.org/doi/full/10.5465/amp.2018.0183.summary">recent analysis of management studies</a> found a profound lack of engagement across the discipline with the implications of climate change.</p> <p>As Cornell University’s Professor of Engineering Anthony Ingraffea argues, when it comes to educating the future generation, <a href="https://www.enr.com/articles/48389-a-call-to-action-for-engineers-on-climate-change">“doing the right thing on climate change should be baked into an engineer’s DNA”</a>.</p> <p>This means recognising the strong overlap between work that has instrumental value for climate change action and work that celebrates the intrinsic value of human understanding. The intellectual and social challenges presented by climate change are perhaps the greatest justification yet for why we need open-minded, open-ended exploration and dialogue of the sort universities can provide.</p> <p>Universities produce the knowledge galvanising others to act. It is time for them to act too. It is time for all of us who work in or with universities to reappraise our institutions in light of the changes needed, the changes coming, and the changes already here.</p> <p>This is the public mission of universities in the 21st century. And it is the most pressing mission there is.</p> <p><em>Written by Lauren Richards and Tamson Pietsch. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-the-most-important-mission-for-universities-of-the-21st-century-139214"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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Turn off the porch light: 6 easy ways to stop light pollution from harming our wildlife

<p>As winter approaches, marine turtle nesting in the far north of Australia <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/2eb379de-931b-4547-8bcc-f96c73065f54/files/national-light-pollution-guidelines-wildlife.pdf">will peak</a>. When these baby turtles hatch at night, they crawl from the sand to the sea, using the relative brightness of the horizon and the natural slope of the beach as their guide.</p> <p>But when artificial lights outshine the moon and the sea, these hatchlings become disorientated. This leaves them vulnerable to predators, exhaustion and even traffic if they head in the wrong direction.</p> <p>Baby turtles are one small part of the larger, often overlooked, story of how light pollution harms wildlife across the <a href="https://theconversation.com/getting-smarter-about-city-lights-is-good-for-us-and-nature-too-69556">land</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/bright-city-lights-are-keeping-ocean-predators-awake-and-hungry-68965">underwater</a>.</p> <p>Green Turtle’s Battle For Survival | Planet Earth | BBC Earth.</p> <p>Today, more than 80% of people – and 99% of North American and European human populations – <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/6/e1600377">live under light-polluted skies</a>. We have transformed the night-time environment over substantial portions of the Earth’s surface in a very short time, relative to evolutionary timescales. Most wildlife hasn’t had time to adjust.</p> <p>In January, Australia released the <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/national-light-pollution-guidelines-wildlife">National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife</a>. These guidelines provide a framework for assessing and managing the impacts of artificial light.</p> <p>The guidelines also identify practical solutions that can be used globally to manage light pollution, both by managers and practitioners, and by anyone in control of a light switch.</p> <p>The guidelines outline six easy steps anyone can follow to minimise light pollution without compromising our own safety.</p> <p>Although light pollution is a global problem and true darkness is hard to come by, we can all do our part to reduce its impacts on wildlife by changing how we use and think about light at night.</p> <p><strong>1. Start with natural darkness. Only add light for a specific purpose</strong></p> <p>Natural darkness should be the default at night. Artificial light should only be used if it’s needed for a specific purpose, and it should only be turned on for the necessary period of time.</p> <p>This means it’s okay to have your veranda light on to help you find your keys, but the light doesn’t need to stay on all night.</p> <p>Similarly, indoor lighting can also contribute to light pollution, so turning lights off in empty office buildings at night, or in your home before you go to sleep, is also important.</p> <p><strong>2. Use smart lighting controls</strong></p> <p>Advances in smart control technology make it easy to manage how much light you use, and adaptive controls make meeting the goals of Step 1 more feasible.</p> <p>Investing in smart controls and LED technology means you can remotely manage your lights, set timers or dimmers, activate motion sensor lighting, and even control the colour of the light emitted.</p> <p>These smart controls should be used to activate artificial light at night only when needed, and to minimise light when not needed.</p> <p><strong>3. Keep lights close to the ground, directed and shielded</strong></p> <p>Any light that spills outside the specific area intended to be lit is unnecessary light.</p> <p>Light spilling upward contributes directly to artificial sky glow – the glow you see over urban areas from cumulative sources of light. Both sky glow and light spilling into adjacent areas on the ground can disrupt wildlife.</p> <p>Installing <a href="https://www.ledlightexpert.com/Light-Shields-Explained--Outdoor-Parking-Lot-Light-Shielding_b_42.html">light shields</a> allow you to direct the light downward, which significantly reduces sky glow, and to direct the light towards the specific target area. Light shields are recommended for any outdoor lighting installations.</p> <p><strong>4. Use the lowest intensity lighting</strong></p> <p>When deciding how much light you need, consider the intensity of the light produced (lumens), rather than the energy required to make it (watts).</p> <p>LEDs, for example, are often considered an “environmentally friendly” option because they’re relatively energy efficient. But because of their energy efficiency, LEDs produce between two and five times as much light as incandescent bulbs for the same amount of energy consumption.</p> <p>So, while LED lights save energy, the increased intensity of the light can lead to greater impacts on wildlife, if not managed properly.</p> <p><strong>5. Use non-reflective, dark-coloured surfaces.</strong></p> <p>Sky glow has been shown to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep01722">mask lunar light rhythms</a> of wildlife, interfering with the celestial navigation and migration of <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/313/5788/837">birds</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/424033a">insects</a>.</p> <p>Highly polished, shiny, or light-coloured surfaces – such as structures painted white, or polished marble – are good at reflecting light and so contribute more to sky glow than darker, non-reflective surfaces.</p> <p>Choosing darker coloured paint or materials for outdoor features will help reduce your contribution to light pollution.</p> <p><strong>6. Use lights with reduced or filtered blue, violet and ultra-violet wavelengths</strong></p> <p>Most animals are sensitive to short-wavelength light, which creates blue and violet colours. These short wavelengths are known to suppress melatonin production, which is known to disrupt sleep and interfere with circadian rhythms of many animals, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/22/6400/htm">including humans</a>.</p> <p>Choosing lighting options with little or no short wavelength (400-500 nanometres) violet or blue light will help to avoid unintended harmful effects on wildlife.</p> <p>For example, compact fluorescent and LED lights have a high amount of short wavelength light, compared low or high-pressure sodium, metal halide, and halogen light sources.</p> <p><em>Written by Emily fobert, Katherine Dafforn and Mariana Mayer-Pinto. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/turn-off-the-porch-light-6-easy-ways-to-stop-light-pollution-from-harming-our-wildlife-132595">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Be still, my beating wings: Hunters kill migrating birds on their 10,000km journey to Australia

<p>It is low tide at the end of the wet season in Broome, Western Australia. Shorebirds feeding voraciously on worms and clams suddenly get restless.</p> <p>Chattering loudly they take flight, circling up over Roebuck Bay then heading off for their northern breeding grounds more than 10,000 km away. I marvel at the epic journey ahead, and wonder how these birds will fare.</p> <p>In my former role as an assistant warden at the Broome Bird Observatory, I had the privilege of watching shorebirds, such as the bar-tailed godwit, set off on their annual migration.</p> <p>I’m now a conservation researcher at the University of Queensland, focusing on birds. Populations of migratory shorebirds are in sharp decline, and some are threatened with extinction.</p> <p>We know the destruction of coastal habitats for infrastructure development has <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14895">taken a big toll on these amazing birds</a>. But a study I conducted with a large international team, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320719311036">which has just been published</a>, suggests hunting is also a likely key threat.</p> <p><strong>What are migratory shorebirds?</strong></p> <p>Worldwide, there are 139 migratory shorebird species. About 75 species breed at high latitudes across Asia, Europe, and North America then migrate south in a yearly cycle.</p> <p>Some 61 migratory shorebird species occur in the Asia-Pacific, within the so-called East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This corridor includes 22 countries – from breeding grounds as far north as Alaska and Siberia to non-breeding grounds as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand. In between are counties in Asia’s east and southeast, such as South Korea and Vietnam.</p> <p>The bar-tailed godwits I used to observe at Roebuck Bay breed in Russia’s Arctic circle. They’re among about 36 migratory shorebird species to visit Australia each year, <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/da31ad38-f874-4746-a971-5510527694a4/files/revision-east-asian-australasian-flyway-population-sept-2016.pdf">amounting to more than two million birds</a>.</p> <p>They primarily arrive towards the end of the year in all states and territories – visiting coastal areas such as Moreton Bay in Queensland, Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia, and Corner Inlet in Victoria.</p> <p>Numbers of migratory shorebirds have been falling for many species in the flyway. The trends have been detected since the 1970s <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/MU/MU15056">using citizen science data sets</a>.</p> <p>Five of the 61 migratory shorebird species in this flyway are globally threatened. Two travel to Australia: the great knot and far eastern curlew.</p> <p>Threats to these birds are many. They include the <a href="http://decision-point.com.au/article/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place/">loss of their critical habitats</a> along their migration path, <a href="https://theconversation.com/contested-spaces-saving-nature-when-our-beaches-have-gone-to-the-dogs-72078">off-leash dogs disturbing them on Australian beaches</a>, and climate change likely <a href="https://theconversation.com/arctic-birds-face-disappearing-breeding-grounds-as-climate-warms-62656">contracting their breeding grounds</a>.</p> <p><strong>And what about hunting?</strong></p> <p>During their migration, shorebirds stop to rest and feed along a network of wetlands and mudflats. They appear predictably and in large numbers at certain sites, making them relatively easy targets for hunters.</p> <p>Estimating the extent to which birds are hunted over large areas was like completing a giant jigsaw puzzle. We spent many months scouring the literature, obtaining data and reports from colleagues then carefully assembling the pieces.</p> <p>We discovered that since the 1970s, three-quarters of all migratory shorebird species in the flyway have been hunted at some point. This includes almost all those visiting Australia and four of the five globally threatened species.</p> <p>Some records relate to historical hunting that has since been banned. For example the Latham’s snipe, a shorebird that breeds in Japan, was legally hunted in Australia until the 1980s. All migratory shorebirds are now legally protected from hunting in Australia.</p> <p>We found evidence that hunting of migratory shorebirds has occurred in 14 countries, including New Zealand and Japan, with most recent records concentrated in southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, and the northern breeding grounds, such as the US.</p> <p>For a further eight, such as Mongolia and South Korea, we could not determine whether hunting has ever occurred.</p> <p>Our research suggests hunting has likely exceeded sustainable limits in some instances. Hunting has also been pervasive – spanning vast areas over many years and involving many species.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>The motivations of hunters vary across the flyway, according to needs, norms, and cultural traditions. For instance, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/condor/article-abstract/121/2/duz023/5523065?redirectedFrom=fulltext">Native Americans in Alaska</a> hunt shorebirds as a food source after winter, and <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c1a9e03f407b482a158da87/t/5c42eb8e8a922d3a72d42879/1547889551203/Chowdury-Sonadia.pdf">low-income people in Southeast Asia hunt and sell them</a>.</p> <p>National governments, supported by NGOs and researchers, must find the right balance between conservation and other needs, such as food security.</p> <p>Efforts to address hunting are already underway. This includes mechanisms such as the <a href="https://www.cms.int/en/taskforce/ittea">United Nations Convention</a> on Migratory Species and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway <a href="https://www.eaaflyway.net/task-force-on-illegal-hunting-taking-and-trade-of-migratory-waterbirds/">Partnership</a>. Other efforts involve helping hunters find <a href="https://www.birdlife.org/asia/news/targeting-hunters-save-spoon-billed-sandpiper">alternative livelihoods</a>.</p> <p>Our understanding of hunting as a potential threat is hindered by a lack of coordinated monitoring across the Asia-Pacific.</p> <p>Additional surveys by BirdLife International, as well as <a href="https://cpree.princeton.edu/research/biodiversity/saving-endangered-species">university researchers</a>, is underway in southeast Asia, China, and Russia. Improving hunting assessments, and coordination between them, is essential. Without it, we are acting in the dark.</p> <p><em>The author would like to acknowledge the contributions of Professor Richard A. Fuller (University of Queensland), Professor Tiffany H. Morrison (James Cook University), Dr Bradley Woodworth (University of Queensland), Dr Taej Mundkur (Wetlands International), Dr Ding Li Yong (BirdLife International-Asia), and Professor James E.M. Watson (University of Queensland).</em></p> <p><em>Written by Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/be-still-my-beating-wings-hunters-kill-migrating-birds-on-their-10-000km-journey-to-australia-138382">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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The coronavirus survival challenge for NZ tourism: affordability and sustainability

<p>Until a trans-Tasman travel bubble is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/trans-tasman-bubble-coronavirus-what-might-happen-next/12212580">established</a>, there is little doubt the New Zealand tourism industry will <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413845/covid-19-domestic-travellers-eyed-to-keep-tourism-sector-viable-after-lockdown">rely entirely</a> on domestic travel post-COVID-19.</p> <p>Without underplaying the impact the pandemic will have on discretionary spending in both countries, however, there may be a silver lining to the crisis.</p> <p>New Zealand is in the fortunate position of having an <a href="https://tia.org.nz/about-the-industry/quick-facts-and-figures/">already strong</a> domestic tourism sector. Domestic tourists spent NZ$23.7 billion annually (or NZ$65 million a day) pre-COVID-19, compared to a total spend of NZ$12.7 billion (or NZ$47 million a day) by international visitors. <a href="https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/11857">Research</a> pre-COVID-19 showed 65% of New Zealanders wanted to explore more of their country, a figure expected to increase.</p> <p>True, New Zealanders generally don’t have the deep pockets international tourists have. Their higher overall spend is a reflection of their numbers, not their bank balances. But with the big ticket tourist attractions now missing the bigger spenders, the market will rule.</p> <p>Regional tourism organisations, attractions and operators may need to rethink their offerings and their pricing. While tramping the <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/things-to-do/walking-and-tramping/great-walks/">great walks</a> may be perfectly affordable for a family of four, taking the family on a whale watch, a bungy jump or a cruise on Milford Sound may not be – especially as parts of one big holiday. Indeed, it has been found that <a href="https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/11857">price</a> is the major decision-making factor for 30% of New Zealanders when it comes to holidays.</p> <p>So this is also an opportunity to give New Zealanders back a piece of the summer pie – not only for the COVID-19 recovery but in the longer term. Summers have tended to be characterised by a large influx of international tourists, with Kiwis settling for shoulder seasons (and unfavourable weather) to tramp the famous tracks when they are <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99088942/tourists-outnumber-new-zealanders-on-the-great-walks--and-the-gaps-growing">less crowded</a>.</p> <p>But domestic tourists who have grown accustomed to off-peak holidays away from high-cost destinations will soon tip the scales. Now is the time for operators to win back their hearts.</p> <p>With New Zealand’s gradual easing of its strict lockdown (possibly to the stage of allowing non-essential travel by mid-May), tourism can clearly support the economic revival of local communities. The challenge is how to reinvent New Zealand tourism as an initially purely domestic industry.</p> <p>Overall, only a handful of New Zealand destinations have depended entirely on international tourists. These also happen to be the places most heavily associated with overtourism in the past. Given that the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2020.1759131">growth model</a> driven by short-term, dollars-first business thinking has led to an <a href="https://www.noted.co.nz/money/money-economy/nz-tourists-should-we-limit-number-visitors">unsustainable</a> tourism market, might this also be a chance to restore some equilibrium?</p> <p>That will mean no more killing the goose that lays the <a href="https://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/pristine-popular-imperilled-the-environmental-consequences-of-projected-tourism-growth">golden egg</a>. Some hotspots, such as the <a href="https://www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz/">Tongariro Alpine Crossing</a> and <a href="https://www.thecoromandel.com/activities/must-do/hot-water-beach/">Coromandel’s Hot Water Beach</a> may be managed by restricting visitor numbers.</p> <p>Such strategies have long been in place in other places, such as the <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/milford-track/">booking requirement</a> for the Milford Track. We have also seen tremendous problems associated with too many cruise ships in too small places. Akaroa is a prime example, and limiting both the number of visits and the size of vessels may be a feasible <a href="https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018685520">future strategy</a>.</p> <p>As part of our own research (yet to be published) into the pressing issues of overtourism we conducted interviews with various tourism stakeholders around New Zealand, including city and regional councils, the Department of Conservation, residents and operators. This took place just before New Zealand’s strictest lockdown level was imposed, without any real foreknowledge of the eventual economic impact of COVID-19.</p> <p>Nonetheless, our interviewees shared very similar sentiments when it came to how the industry can evolve sustainably only if New Zealanders themselves embrace the behaviours they expect (and sometimes demand) of foreign tourists. According to our subjects, too many Kiwis still hold on to a past when the country’s population was half its current size and SUVs and large motorhomes didn’t crowd the roads and parking lots.</p> <p>Initiatives such as the <a href="https://tiakinewzealand.com/">Tiaki Promise</a>, which promote environmental and cultural sensitivity to tourists, have largely targeted international visitors. These now need to turn the lens inwards so that Kiwis become better ambassadors within their own backyard.</p> <p>Kiwis love their country, but they will now need to truly discover what it has to offer, not only for a weekend of tramping or a quick getaway, but for their main summer holiday. And they will have to become better kaitiaki (or guardians) of their homeland in the process.</p> <p>The absence of international tourists will be a huge challenge, but also an opportunity. If we get it right, when those foreign visitors are allowed to return (most likely at first from Australia) we will have found ways to grow – or limit – their numbers and their expectations so that our tourism industry can thrive as well as survive.</p> <p><em>Written by Sabrina Seeler and Michael Lueck. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-coronavirus-survival-challenge-for-nz-tourism-affordability-and-sustainability-137256">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

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Fleas to flu to coronavirus: how ‘death ships’ spread disease through the ages

<p>One of the haunting images of this pandemic will be stationary cruise ships – deadly carriers of COVID-19 – at anchor in harbours and unwanted. Docked in ports and feared.</p> <p>The news of the dramatic spread of the virus on the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1632">Diamond Princess</a> from early February made the news real for many Australians who’d enjoyed holidays on the seas. Quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, over 700 of the ship’s crew and passengers became infected. To date, <a href="https://www.cruisemapper.com/accidents/Diamond-Princess-534">14 deaths</a> have been recorded.</p> <p>The Diamond Princess’s sister ship, the Ruby Princess, brought the pandemic to Australian shores. Now under <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/police-to-probe-second-ruby-princess-voyage-as-part-of-criminal-investigation-20200417-p54kpo.html">criminal investigation</a>, the events of the Ruby Princess forced a spotlight on the petri dish cruise ships can become. The ship has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/05/ruby-princess-was-initially-refused-permission-to-dock-over-coronavirus-fears-inquiry-told">linked to 21 deaths</a>.</p> <p>History shows the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29737663">devastating role ships can play</a> in transmitting viruses across vast continents and over many centuries.</p> <p><strong>Rats in the ranks</strong></p> <p>Merchant ships carrying rats with infected fleas were transmitters of the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/past/article-abstract/244/1/3/5532056?redirectedFrom=fulltext">Plague of Justinian</a> (541-542 AD) that devastated the Byzantine Empire.</p> <p>Ships carrying grain from Egypt were home to flea-infested rats that fed off the granaries. Contantinople was especially inflicted, with estimates as high as <a href="https://www.history.com/news/microbe-behind-black-death-also-caused-devastating-plague-800-years-earlier">5,000 casualties a day</a>. Globally, up to 50 million people are estimated to have been killed – half the world’s population.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/plague-black-death-quarantine-history-how-stop-spread/">Black Death</a> was also carried by rats on merchant ships through the trade routes of Europe. It struck Europe in 1347, when 12 ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina.</p> <p>Subsequently called “death ships”, those on board were either dead or sick. Soon, the Black Death spread to ports around the world, such as Marseilles, Rome and Florence, and by 1348 had reached London with devastating impact.</p> <p>The Italian writer, poet and scholar, Giovanni Boccaccio, <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/black-death-oh-father-why-have-you-abandoned-me/">wrote</a> how terror swept through Florence with relatives deserting infected family members. Almost inconceivably, he wrote, “fathers and mothers refused to nurse their own children, as though they did not belong to them”.</p> <p>Ships started being <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/plague-black-death-quarantine-history-how-stop-spread/">turned away</a> from European ports in 1347. Venice was the first city to close, with those permitted to enter forced into a 40-day quarantine: the word “quarantine” derives from the Italian <em>quarantena</em>, or 40 days.</p> <p>By January 1349, mass graves proliferated outside of London to bury the increasing numbers of dead.</p> <p>Army and naval ships, as well as travellers around the globe, also carried cholera pandemics throughout the 19th century. In the first pandemic <a href="https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-cholera">in 1817</a>, British army and navy ships are believed to have spread cholera beyond India where the outbreaks originated.</p> <p>By the 1820s, cholera had spread throughout Asia, reaching Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan through shipping. British troops spread it to the Persian Gulf, eventually moving through Turkey and Syria.</p> <p>Subsequent outbreaks from the 1820s through to the 1860s relied on trade and troops to spread the disease across continents.</p> <p><strong>At war with the Spanish Flu</strong></p> <p>The Spanish influenza of 1918-1919 was originally carried by soldiers on overcrowded troop ships during the first world war. The rate of transmission on these ships was rapid, and soldiers died in large numbers.</p> <p>One New Zealand rifleman <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1811.AD1811">wrote</a> in his diary in September 1918:</p> <p><em>More deaths and burials total now 42. A crying shame but it is only to be expected when human beings are herded together the way they have been on this boat.</em></p> <p>The flu was transmitted throughout Europe in France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain. Three-quarters of French troops and over half of British troops fell ill in 1918. Hundreds of thousands of US soldiers travelling on troop ships across the Atlantic and back provided the perfect conditions for transmission.</p> <p><strong>The fate of cruising</strong></p> <p>A new and lethal carrier in the 21st century has emerged in the pleasure industry of cruise ships. The <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2020/01/20/state-of-the-cruise-industry-smooth-sailing-into-the-2020s/#364b397665fa">explosion</a> of cruise holidays in the past 20 years has led to a proliferation of luxury liners plying the seas.</p> <p>Like historical pandemics, the current crisis shares the characteristic of rapid spread through ships.</p> <p>The unknown is in what form cruise ships will continue to operate. Unlike the port-to-port trade and armed forces that carried viruses across continents centuries ago, the services cruise lines offer are non-essential.</p> <p>Whatever happens, the global spread of COVID-19 reminds us “death ships” are an enduring feature of the history of pandemics.</p> <p><em>Written by Joy Damousi. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/fleas-to-flu-to-coronavirus-how-death-ships-spread-disease-through-the-ages-137061">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Dinner to die for: how fish use their spines to fend off hungry seals

<p>What price are you willing to pay for food?</p> <p>For most of us, that’s a question about money. But what if the cost were actual pain, injury and death? For some seals and dolphins, this a real risk when hunting.</p> <p>We took a <a href="https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03473">close look</a> at a New Zealand (or long-nosed) fur seal that stranded at Cape Conran in southeastern Australia, and discovered it had numerous severe facial injuries. These wounds were all caused by fish spines, and they show the high price these animals are willing to pay in pursuit of a meal.</p> <p><strong>Victim or perpetrator?</strong></p> <p>When the unfortunate seal was first spotted dead on the beach, it was clear something was amiss: the animal was emaciated, and had a large fish spine stuck in its cheek.</p> <p>A team of scientists from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Museums Victoria and Monash University decided to investigate, and took a CT scan of the seal’s head. The results were striking: fish spines had penetrated not just both cheeks, but also the nose and jaw muscles.</p> <p>On closer examination, we also found ten stab wounds, likely from further fish spines that had been pulled out. The wounds were spread all over the face and throat, and at least some appear to have festered. They may have made feeding difficult, and ultimately may have caused the animal to starve.</p> <p>These wounds were likely not the result of unprovoked attacks. They were probably inflicted by prey that simply did not want to be eaten.</p> <p><strong>How to fight off a hungry seal … or at least teach it a lesson</strong></p> <p>Many fish species have evolved elaborate defence systems against predators, such as venomous spines that can inflict painful wounds.</p> <p>Our seal appears to have been done in by two species of cartilaginous fish. One was the elusive <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_ghostshark">Australian ghostshark</a> (also known as elephant fish), a distant relative of true sharks that has a large serrated spine on its back.</p> <p>The other was a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urolophidae">stingaree</a>: a type of small stingray with a venomous tail barb that can be whipped around like a scorpion’s tail. Its sting is normally aimed at would-be predators, but sometimes also catches the feet of unwary humans.</p> <p><strong>How to eat a spiky fish</strong></p> <p>Until recently, most of what we knew about the diet New Zealand fur seals was based on bony remains left in their poo. This technique largely overlooks cartilaginous fish, whose skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone. As a result, we didn’t realise fur seals target these creatures.</p> <p>New <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12686-016-0560-9">studies of the DNA of devoured prey</a> in the seals’ scats now suggest they commonly feed on ghostsharks. Stingarees and other rays are less common, but evidently still form part of their diet. So how do the seals handle such dangerous prey on a regular basis?</p> <p>It all comes down to table manners. Ghostsharks and rays are too large to be swallowed whole, and hence must be broken into smaller chunks first. Fur seals achieve this by violently shaking their prey at the water’s surface, largely because <a href="https://theconversation.com/sharp-claws-helped-ancient-seals-conquer-the-oceans-92828">their flippers are no longer capable of grasping and tearing</a>.</p> <p>Fur seals can eat small fish whole, but need to tear large prey into edible chunks.</p> <p>Shaking a fish in the right way (for example by gripping it at the soft belly) may allow seals to kill and consume it without getting impaled. Nevertheless, some risk remains, whether because of struggling prey, poor technique, or simply bad luck. The wounds on our seal’s cheeks suggest that it may accidentally have slapped itself with a ghostshark spine while trying to tear it apart.</p> <p><strong>Fish spines – a common problem?</strong></p> <p>One of the challenges we face as scientists is knowing how to interpret isolated observations. Are fish spines a common problem for fur seals, or was our individual just particularly unlucky? We don’t know.</p> <p>New techniques like analysing DNA from scats means that we are only just beginning to get a better idea of the full range of prey marine mammals target. Likewise, medical imaging techniques such as CT scanning are rarely applied to marine mammal strandings, and injuries like the ones in our seal may often go unnoticed.</p> <p>Nevertheless, fish spine injuries have been observed in other ocean predators, including dolphins, killer whales, and rays. One wedgefish described in <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.170674">another recent study</a> had as many as 62 spines embedded in its jaw! Now that we know what to look for, we may finally get a better idea of how common such injuries really are.</p> <p>For now, this extraordinary example vividly demonstrates the choices and dangers wild animals face as they try to make a living. For our seal, the seafood ultimately won, but we will never know if the fish that killed it got away, or if the wounds they left are evidence of the seal’s last meal.</p> <p><em>Written by David Hocking, Felix Georg Marx, Silke Cleuren and William Parker. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/dinner-to-die-for-how-fish-use-their-spines-to-fend-off-hungry-seals-133627">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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3 ways nature in the city can do you good – even in self-isolation

<p>Spending time at the beach or taking a <a href="https://theconversation.com/reducing-stress-at-work-is-a-walk-in-the-park-57634">walk in the park</a> can help us recover from the mental and physical impacts of life’s stresses. But physical distancing measures to contain COVID-19 have included closing <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/21/bondi-beach-closed-down-after-crowds-defy-ban-on-gatherings-of-more-than-500-people">beaches</a>, <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-australia-why-playgrounds-outdoor-gyms-had-to-close/news-story/a89cfc97d6352263c994b0d2e0b797bb">playgrounds</a> and <a href="https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/city-file/article/royal-botanic-gardens-close-due-coronavirus">parks</a>, adding to the challenges to our mental health. When we stay home to <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-has-australia-really-flattened-the-curve-of-coronavirus-until-we-keep-better-records-we-dont-know-136252">flatten the curve</a>, how can we help ourselves by taking advantage of the benefits associated with nature?</p> <p>The <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3">evidence for nature supporting human well-being</a> has grown in recent decades. We researched the links between nature and urban residents’ well-being and found there are benefits of nature that we can still enjoy now, even in lockdown. Our findings point to some of the ways we can improve our well-being by engaging with everyday nature close to home.</p> <p><strong>1. A room with a view</strong></p> <p>We <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3">reviewed the evidence</a>, collected <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-017-0702-1">survey data</a> on self-reported well-being and biodiversity indicators, and organised <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">focus groups</a> in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, to better understand participants’ relationship with urban nature.</p> <p>If you’re stuck at home, the good news is there is plenty of research that suggests <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/00139160121973115">a view through a window</a> of vegetation or a body of water can provide a micro-break. A view of nature through a window has even <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402">aided hospital patients’ recovery</a> from surgery. A short, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.04.003">40-second glance at a green roof</a> supports cognitive restoration better than a view of concrete.</p> <p>Our research found urban residents had greater self-reported well-being when they had nature nearby or visible from their homes. Participants valued a view of vegetated areas – green space – and bodies of water – blue space. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">One participant said</a>:</p> <p><em>I could live in something that was pretty grim if it had a balcony that looked out [at nature].</em></p> <p>Participants in our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">focus groups</a> also highlighted the importance of seeing changes in the natural world, such as change in the weather or the seasons. Even if your view does not have a lot of vegetation or water, a view of the sky can allow engagement with nature’s dynamism.</p> <p>A view out a window at nature’s dynamism can improve our well-being. Lucy Taylor, Author provided</p> <p><strong>2. Gardening – indoors and out</strong></p> <p>If you’re lucky enough to have a yard or balcony, now may be a good time to do some gardening. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007">Gardening can offer benefits</a> such as reductions in stress, anxiety and depression. As a physical activity, gardening can also improve physical fitness and support weight loss.</p> <p>Gardens can also provide <a href="https://theconversation.com/bandbs-for-birds-and-bees-transform-your-garden-or-balcony-into-a-wildlife-haven-129907">habitat for wildlife</a>, potentially introducing you to new plants, pollinating insects and birds. <a href="https://theconversation.com/biodiversity-and-our-brains-how-ecology-and-mental-health-go-together-in-our-cities-126760">Urban biodiversity benefits us</a> too.</p> <p>Our study found strong links between gardening and self-reported well-being. If you don’t have a yard, gardening on a balcony or tending to indoor plants also has benefits. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-017-0702-1">One participant explained</a>:</p> <p><em>Having a small vegetable garden and flowers in pots makes me feel happy and content … It is wonderful to see things grow in the city.</em></p> <p>Gardening in a yard, on a balcony, or even tending indoor plants does us good. Peter Lead, Author provided</p> <p><strong>3. Green exercise</strong></p> <p>We know exercise is good for physical fitness and <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-your-mental-health-deteriorating-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-heres-what-to-look-out-for-134827">mental health</a>. “Green exercise”, or exercise that takes place in and around nature, can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1021/es903183r">improve your mood and self-esteem</a>.</p> <p>Our study found strong links between how often urban residents exercised and their self-reported well-being. One participant described how important green exercise is to them:</p> <p><em>Being able to walk my dog down at the beach or go up into the hills is a great stress relief and keeps me fit and healthy and, best of all, it’s free.</em></p> <p>Another participant described <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">exercising in a public park</a>:</p> <p><em>I feel significantly calmer, [my] breathing rate goes down. I love the feel of that moist air going into my lungs from all the trees and I really do feel different.</em></p> <p>To limit infection, residents of cities around the world are subject to a range of national and local constraints on when and how they leave the house to exercise. It is important to follow physical distancing guidelines, but it is also <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-04/coronavirus-queensland-exercise-safety/12115924">important to exercise</a> rather than be both isolated and sedentary.</p> <p><strong>Urban nature now and for the future</strong></p> <p>Nature can support our well-being now, when we all could use the help, but we need to protect it. <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1060902">Climate change talks have been postponed</a> because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is clear climate change has not stalled, even taking into account <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-changes-brought-on-by-coronavirus-could-help-tackle-climate-change-133509">the effect of lockdown on emissions</a>.</p> <p>There are lasting ways to <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-must-fight-climate-change-like-its-world-war-iii-here-are-4-potent-weapons-to-deploy-131052">reduce our emissions</a> and create <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-the-blueprint-for-liveable-low-carbon-cities-we-just-need-to-use-it-121615">low-carbon</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-another-hot-summer-here-are-6-ways-to-cool-our-cities-in-future-110817">cooler cities</a>. And the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-what-the-coronavirus-pandemic-can-teach-us-about-tackling-climate-change-134399">earlier we act, the better the outcomes</a> will be.</p> <p>If you have a yard, <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-solution-to-cut-extreme-heat-by-up-to-6-degrees-is-in-our-own-backyards-133082">planting trees</a> might be a good lockdown activity now and will ultimately <a href="https://theconversation.com/here-are-5-practical-ways-trees-can-help-us-survive-climate-change-129753">benefit your future</a>.</p> <p>Taking time to notice nature – via a glance outside, <a href="https://theconversation.com/running-out-of-things-to-do-in-isolation-get-back-in-the-garden-with-these-ideas-from-4-experts-134229">tending plants in pots or gardens</a>, or via green exercise – will improve your well-being. Appreciating nature and having access to it has never been so important.</p> <p><em>Written by Lucy Taylor, Dieter Hochuli and Erin Leckey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-ways-nature-in-the-city-can-do-you-good-even-in-self-isolation-133150">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Brexit: how the UK is preparing to secure its seas outside the EU

<p>Four dinghies carrying 53 migrants who tried to cross the English Channel from France were intercepted by British and French authorities <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-52207869">in early April</a>. The crossings are a reminder of the importance of maritime security and safety to the UK.</p> <p>Brexit has led to many uncertainties, including over the governance of the UK’s seas in the future. Withdrawal from EU regulations at the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 2020 raises questions over how to face the difficult task of managing maritime risks which are currently managed alongside the EU.</p> <p>Uncertainty has also spurred new government efforts by shining a light on the need to secure UK waters, something we’ve written about in <a href="http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/policybristol/briefings-and-reports-pdfs/SafeSeas%20report_v5.pdf">a new report</a>.</p> <p>The UK faces <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322813/20140623-40221_national-maritime-strat-Cm_8829_accessible.pdf">rapidly evolving risks</a> to its shipping lanes, fishing grounds and marine infrastructure. These risks include <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/722074/fisheries-wp-consult-document.pdf">illegal fishing</a>, human trafficking, <a href="https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/173-national-strategic-assessment-of-serious-and-organised-crime-2018/file">organised crime such as smuggling</a>, <a href="https://rm.coe.int/the-united-kingdom-s-strategy-for-countering-terrorism-june-2018/16808b05f3">terrorism</a>, and the potential for protests <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/04/greenpeace-banned-from-protesting-on-shell-north-sea-oil-rigs">at sea</a>.</p> <p>Terrorist attacks could cause significant loss of life if targeted against ferries and cruise liners. Illegal fishing could affect <a href="https://www.seafish.org/media/Publications/SeafishGuidetoIUU07-2016.pdf">the livelihoods of fishers and marine biodiversity</a>, while other risks could have an impact on the wider economy in a context where <a href="https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/latest/why-ports-are-crucial-britains-future/">95% of Britain’s trade</a> flows via the ocean.</p> <p>These risks tend to interlink with each other in ways that are increasingly well documented in other regions of the world. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016578361400143X">In Somalia</a>, for example, local fishers losing their stock as a result of illegal fishing have <a href="https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2442.pdf">turned to piracy</a>. What unintended consequences of new risks might appear in UK waters is still not fully understood.</p> <p>Maritime security threats can also take place simultaneously. Without greater understanding of these risks, it’s difficult to know which should be prioritised.</p> <p><strong>Added complication of Brexit</strong></p> <p>These issues have been complicated by the <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2019/10/brexits-challenge-maritime-security/">UK’s withdrawal from the EU</a>. During the current transition period the UK manages its waters within a wider EU maritime governance framework and under EU regulations, as it did while it was an EU member. While the UK isn’t expected to cease all cooperation with the EU when this comes to an end, it will be required to depend more on national enforcement and regulations.</p> <p>This shift is most visible in the fisheries sector. As part of the EU, British fisheries were managed under the Common Fisheries Policy meaning both UK and EU fishing boats had access to quotas in UK waters. Such arrangements are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X17307376">likely to come to an end</a> with the UK choosing to regulate its own waters.</p> <p>UK ports are also a hotspot for change as they seem likely to withdraw from EU port legislation. This could lead to <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/308/pdfs/uksiem_20190308_en.pdf">new national regulatory</a> challenges such as a need to balance harmonisation with the EU with the pursual of British priorities like the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/freeports-consultation">creation of freeports</a>, aimed to give British trade a competitive edge.</p> <p>Taking sole responsibility is made difficult by other complicating factors. In the UK, different risks are managed by <a href="https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2018-02-23.HL5857.h">different government agencies</a>, with problems of jurisdictional overlap.</p> <p>Depending where it takes place, multiple agencies could be involved in illegal fishing, for example. This could include the Marine Management Organisation, Marine Scotland, and the Royal Navy’s Fishery Protection Squadron. Other agencies may contribute boats or intelligence, such as the National Maritime Information Centre, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.</p> <p>Yet, a common understanding of the threats and consistent communication between departments <a href="http://www.safeseas.net/a-moment-of-opportunity-britain-and-the-maritime-security-challenge/">is lacking in some areas</a>. This is more of a problem for devolved issues such as fisheries, which add even more authorities, departments and agencies to the picture. The relationships between these different organisations are likely to be further tested by the <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2019/10/brexits-challenge-maritime-security/">challenges posed by Brexit</a>.</p> <p><strong>Opportunity for reform</strong></p> <p>But Brexit also offers the UK an opportunity to improve its maritime security. The leak of <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/831199/20190802_Latest_Yellowhammer_Planning_assumptions_CDL.pdf">Operation Yellowhammer</a> in 2019 raised the public profile of maritime issues such as delayed freight in ports, the illegal entry of EU fishing boats into UK waters and potential clashes between fishing vessels. This came at a time where there were high profile landings of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-46358700">illegal migrants along the south coast of the UK</a>, while Operation Yellowhammer warned of stretched maritime enforcement capabilities.</p> <p>The UK has started off well. In 2019, the UK government created the <a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2019-09-05/debates/CAD11F2C-9E6C-4092-9417-C34D68330187/MaritimeSecurity">Joint Maritime Security Centre</a> (JMSC) to coordinate all the different agencies involved and foster interaction between them. The JMSC conducted a joint UK maritime security exercise at the end of 2019, highlighting how coordination can improve enforcement. It is also preparing a new UK maritime security strategy.</p> <p>Interactions between the different government agencies involved in managing the risks to the UK seas need to become more frequent and overcome existing divides to create habits of cooperation and communication. Other groups such as fishing communities need to be included in deliberations. Transparency and information sharing in the process of drafting a new maritime security strategy can help to identify common goals, encourage involvement, and establish a shared basis for action.</p> <p>A review of resources would also be worthwhile to identify the means the UK has to secure its waters, what gaps exist, and how these means can best be shared.</p> <p><em>Written by Scott Edwards and Timothy Edmunds. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/brexit-how-the-uk-is-preparing-to-secure-its-seas-outside-the-eu-133548">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Anatomy of a heatwave: how Antarctica recorded a 20.75°C day last month

<p>While the world rightfully focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record.</p> <p>Our research, published today in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/GCB.15083">Global Change Biology</a>, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first-hand.</p> <p>Antarctica may be isolated from other continents by the Southern Ocean, but has worldwide impacts. It drives the <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/conveyor.html">global ocean conveyor belt</a>, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea level rise.</p> <p>Antarctica represents the simple, extreme end of conditions for life. It can be seen as a ‘canary in the mine’, demonstrating patterns of change we can expect to see elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>A heatwave in the coldest place on Earth</strong></p> <p>Most of Antarctica is ice-covered, but there are small ice-free oases, predominantly on the coast. Collectively 0.44% of the continent, these unique areas are <a href="http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/ice-free-areas-are-hot-property-in-antarctica">important biodiversity hotspots</a> for penguins and other seabirds, mosses, lichens, lakes, ponds and associated invertebrates.</p> <p>This summer, Casey Research Station, in the Windmill Islands oasis, experienced its first recorded heat wave. For three days, minimum temperatures exceeded zero and daily maximums were all above 7.5°C. On January 24, its highest <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_300017.shtml">maximum of 9.2°C</a> was recorded, almost 7°C above Casey’s 30-year mean for the month.</p> <p>The arrival of warm, moist air during this weather event brought rain to Davis Research Station in the normally frigid, ice-free desert of the Vestfold Hills. The warm conditions triggered extensive meltwater pools and surface streams on local glaciers. These, together with melting snowbanks, contributed to high-flowing rivers and flooding lakes.</p> <p>By February, most heat was concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula at the northernmost part of the continent. A new Antarctic <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-record-antarctic-continent-reported/">maximum temperature of 18.4°C</a> was recorded on February 6 at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the Peninsula - almost 1°C above the previous record. Three days later this was eclipsed when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/%202020/feb/13/antarctic-temperature-rises-above-20c-firsttime-record/">20.75°C was reported</a> at Brazil’s Marambio station, on Seymour Island east of the Peninsula.</p> <p><strong>What caused the heatwave?</strong></p> <p>The pace of warming from global climate change has been generally slower in East Antarctica compared with West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. This is in part due to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-30-years-of-the-montreal-protocol-the-ozone-layer-is-gradually-healing-84051">ozone hole</a>, which has occurred in spring over Antarctica since the late 1970s.</p> <p>The hole has tended to strengthen jet stream winds over the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-leaves-a-lasting-impression-on-southern-climate-34043">Southern Ocean</a> promoting a generally <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00787-x">more ‘positive’ state</a> of the Southern Annular Mode in summer. This means the Southern Ocean’s westerly wind belt has tended to stay close to Antarctica at that time of year creating a seasonal ‘shield’, reducing the transfer of warm air from the Earth’s temperate regions to Antarctica.</p> <p>But during the spring of 2019 a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-air-above-antarctica-is-suddenly-getting-warmer-heres-what-it-means-for-australia-123080">strong warming of the stratosphere</a> over Antarctica significantly reduced the size of the ozone hole. This helped to support a more ‘negative’ state of the Southern Annular Mode and weakened the shield.</p> <p>Other factors in late 2019 may have also helped to warm Antarctica. The Indian Ocean Dipole was in a strong ‘positive’ state due to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-hot-and-dry-australian-summer-means-heatwaves-and-fire-risk-ahead-127990">late retreat of the Indian monsoon</a>. This meant that water in the western Indian Ocean was warmer than normal. Air rising from this and other warm ocean patches in the Pacific Ocean provided energy sources that altered the path of weather systems and helped to disturb and warm the stratosphere.</p> <p><strong>Is a warming Antarctica good or bad?</strong></p> <p>Localised flooding appeared to benefit some Vestfold Hills’ moss banks which were previously very <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0280-0">drought-stressed</a>. Prior to the flood event, most mosses were grey and moribund, but one month later many moss shoots were green.</p> <p>Given the generally cold conditions of Antarctica, the warmth may have benefited the flora (mosses, lichens and two vascular plants), and microbes and invertebrates, but only where liquid water formed. Areas in the Vestfold Hills away from the flooding became more drought-stressed over the summer.</p> <p>High temperatures may have caused heat stress in some organisms. Antarctic mosses and lichens are often dark in colour, allowing sunlight to be absorbed to create warm microclimates. This is a great strategy when temperatures are just above freezing, but heat stress can occur once 10°C is exceeded.</p> <p>On King George Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula, our measurements showed that in January 2019 moss surface temperatures only exceeded 14°C for 3% of the time, but in 2020 this increased fourfold (to 12% of the time).</p> <p>Based on our experience from previous anomalous hot Antarctic summers, we can expect many biological impacts, positive and negative, in coming years. The most recent event highlights the connectedness of our climate systems: from the surface to the stratosphere, and from the monsoon tropics to the southernmost continent.</p> <p>Under climate change, extreme events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity, and Antarctica is not immune.</p> <p>If you’ve been let go and then retrospectively un-sacked, you are also guaranteed to get at least $1,500 per fortnight, which in that case might be less than you were being paid, but will be more than the $1,115 you would have got on Newstart (which has been renamed JobSeeker Payment).</p> <p>If you remain employed, and are on more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer will have to pay you your full regular wage. Employers won’t be able to cut it to $1,500 per fortnight.</p> <p>To get it, most employers will have to have suffered a 30% decline in their turnover relative to a comparable period a year ago. Big employers (turnover of $1 billion or more) will have to have suffered a 50% decline. Big banks won’t be eligible.</p> <p>Self-employed Australians will also be eligible where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30% decline in turnover. Among these will be musicians and performers out of work because large gatherings have been cancelled.</p> <p><strong>Half the Australian workforce</strong></p> <p>The payment isn’t perfect. It will only be paid in respect of wages from March 30, and the money won’t be handed over until the start of May – the Tax Office systems can’t work any faster – but it will provide more support than almost anyone expected.</p> <p>Its scope is apparent when you consider the size of Australia’s workforce.</p> <p>Before the coronavirus hit in February, 13 million of Australia’s 25 million residents were in jobs. This payment will go to <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job">six million</a> of them.</p> <p>Without putting too fine a point on it, for the next six months, the government will be the paymaster to almost <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0">half</a> the Australian workforce.</p> <p>Announcing the payment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said unprecedented times called for unprecedented action. He said the payment was more generous than New Zealand’s, broader than Britain’s, and more comprehensive than Canada’s, claims about which there is dispute.</p> <p>But for Australia, it is completely without precedent.</p> <p><em>Written by Dana M Bergstrom, Andrew Klekociuk, Diana Kind and Sharon Robinson. Reviewed by Emma Kucelj. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/anatomy-of-a-heatwave-how-antarctica-recorded-a-20-75-c-day-last-month-134550"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Why marine protected areas are often not where they should be

<p>There’s no denying the grandeur and allure of a nature reserve or marine protected area. The concept is easy to understand: limit human activity there and marine ecosystems will thrive.</p> <p>But while the number of marine protected areas is increasing, so too is the number of threatened species, and the health of marine ecosystems is <a href="https://ipbes.net/global-assessment">in decline</a>.</p> <p>Why? <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">Our research</a> shows it’s because marine protected areas are often placed where there’s already low human activity, rather than in places with high biodiversity that need it most.</p> <p><strong>Not where they should be</strong></p> <p>Many parts of the world’s protected areas, in both terrestrial and marine environments, are placed in locations with no form of manageable human activity or development occurring, such as fishing or infrastructure. These places are often remote, such as in the centres of oceans.</p> <p>And where marine protected areas have been increasing, they’re placed where <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">pressures cannot be managed</a>, such as areas where there is increased ocean acidification or dispersed pollution.</p> <p>But biodiversity is often highest in the places with human activity – we use these locations in the ocean to generate income and livelihoods, from tourism to fishing. This includes coastal areas in the tropics, such as the Coral Triangle (across six countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia), which has almost <a href="https://ccafs.cgiar.org/publications/marine-protected-areas-coral-triangle-progress-issues-and-options">2,000 marine protected areas</a>, yet is <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-seagrass-in-indonesias-marine-protected-areas-is-still-under-threat-125875">also home</a> to one of the largest shipping routes in the world and high fishing activity.</p> <p>What’s more, many marine industries are already regulated through licences and quotas, so it’s hard to establish a new marine protected area that adds a different type of management on top of what already exists.</p> <p>This leaves us with an important paradox: the places where biodiversity is under the most pressure are also the places humanity is most reluctant to relinquish, due to their social or economic value. Because of those values, people and industry resist changes to behaviour, leaving governments to try to find solutions that avoid conflict.</p> <p><strong>Lessons from the fishing industry</strong></p> <p>How can we resolve the paradox of marine protected areas? A strategy used in the fishing industry may show the way.</p> <p>Fisheries have had experience in going beyond the limits of sustainability and then stepping back, changing their approach to managing species and ecosystems for better sustainability, while still protecting economic, social and environmental values.</p> <p>In the past, many of the world’s fisheries regularly exceeded the sustainable limit of catches, and many species such as <a href="https://www.ccsbt.org/en/content/latest-stock-assessment">southern bluefin tuna</a> declined significantly in number. But <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/4/2218">strong rules around how a fishery should operate</a> mean declines have since been reversed.</p> <p>So how did they do it? In recent decades, many of the world’s large-scale fisheries implemented formal “harvest strategies”. These strategies can flip downward trends of marine species in places not designated a marine protected area.</p> <p>Harvest strategies have three steps. First is pre-agreed monitoring of species and ecosystems by fishers, regulators and other stakeholders. Second, regulators and scientists assess their impact on the species and ecosystems. And last, all stakeholders agree to put management measures in place to improve the status of the monitored species and ecosystems.</p> <p>These measures may include changing how fishing is done or how much is done. It’s a commonsense strategy that’s delivered <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-parks-and-fishery-management-whats-the-best-way-to-protect-fish-66274">successful results</a> with many fished species either recovering or recovered.</p> <p>In Australia, the federal government introduced a <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/sitecollectiondocuments/fisheries/domestic/harvest-strategy-policy.docx">formal harvest strategy policy</a> to manage fisheries in 2007. It was evaluated in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/71/2/195/788673">2014</a>, and the report found many (but not all) fish stocks are no longer overfished. This includes species such as orange roughy and southern bluefin tuna in Australia, which were overfished but are no longer so.</p> <p>But unfortunately, this positive trend has not been replicated for biodiversity hit by the combinations of other human activities such as coastal development, transport, oil and gas extraction and marine debris.</p> <p><strong>A consistent strategy</strong></p> <p>We need to adapt the experience from fisheries and apply a single, formal, transparent and agreed <em>biodiversity</em> strategy that outlines sustainable management objectives for the places we can’t put marine protected areas.</p> <p>This would look like a harvest strategy, but be applied more broadly to threatened species and ecosystems. What might be sustainable from a single species point of view as used in the fisheries might not sustainable for multiple species.</p> <p>This would mean for our threatened species, we would be monitoring their status, assessing whether the <em>total</em> population was changing and agreeing on when and how we would change the way that they are impacted.</p> <p>Such a strategy would also allow monitoring of whole marine ecosystems, even when information is limited. Information on trends in species and ecosystems often exists, but is hidden as commercial-in-confidence or kept privately within government, research or commercial organisations.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>Still, a lack of data shouldn’t limit decision making. Experience in fisheries without much data shows even rules of thumb can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2014.11.005">effective management tools</a>. Rules of thumb can include simple measures like gear restrictions or spatial or temporal closures that don’t change through time.</p> <p>Moving forward, all stakeholders need to agree to implement the key parts of harvest strategies for all marine places with high biodiversity that aren’t protected. This will complement existing marine protected area networks without limiting economic activity, while also delivering social and environmental outcomes that support human well-being.</p> <p>Our marine ecosystems provide fish, enjoyment, resources and and simple beauty. They must survive for generations to come.</p> <p><em>Written by Piers Dunstan, Natalie Downing, Simone Stevenson and Skipton Woolley. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-marine-protected-areas-are-often-not-where-they-should-be-133076">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Coronavirus RNA found on cruise ship 17 days after passengers abandoned liner

<p>Coronavirus RNA has been determined to have the ability to live for up to 17 days among surfaces after health authorities studies the <em>Diamond Princess</em> cruise ship.</p> <p>The disease can survive longer than research has previously shown, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown to us on Monday in new data.</p> <p>The study sought out to show how the Japanese and U.S government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned <em>Diamond Princess</em> ship in Japan and the <em>Grand Princess</em> ship in California has been.</p> <p>RNA is the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19, and was “identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the D<em>iamond Princess</em> but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” the researchers wrote.</p> <p>The CDC added the genetic material of the virus that specifically causes COVID-19 revealed that there was no indication that the virus can “spread by surface”.</p> <p>They also added researchers were unable to  “determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces,” and that more studies focussing on whether COVID-19 can be spread through touching surfaces on cruise ships was warranted.</p> <p>“COVID-19 on cruise ships poses a risk for rapid spread of disease, causing outbreaks in a vulnerable population, and aggressive efforts are required to contain spread,” the data report read.</p> <p>The CDC has urged people to stay away from cruise ships at this time if they are part of the more vulnerable population.</p> <p>Researchers at the national Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University previously found that COVID-19 can last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.</p> <p>The study also determined the RNA of the virus decreases over time on plastic and stainless steel.</p> <p>The new study set out to understand just how “transmission occurred across multiple voyages of several ships.” It noted at least 25 cruise ship voyages had confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 17.</p> <p>All of these cases where either detected during or after the cruise trip ended.</p> <p>Almost half, 46.5%, of the infections aboard the <em>Diamond Princess</em> were asymptomatic when they were tested.</p> <p>The study revealed it partially explaining the “high attack rate” of the virus among passengers and crew.</p> <p>On February 4, all 3,700 passengers and crew of the <em>Diamond Princess</em> were quarantined at a Japanese port after a passenger had been diagnoses with COVID-19 after returning to Hong Kong.</p> <p>What resulted was the largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China at the time, with more than 800 passengers and crew eventually going on to become infected.</p> <p>Nine people died due to the outbreak after disembarking the ship. Research revealed that 712 of 3,711 people on the <em>Diamond Princess</em>, or 19.2% were infected by COVID-19.</p> <p>78 cases were also found on the <em>Grand Princess,</em> which was force to moor off the coast of California after two passengers tested positive when they disembarked the vessel.</p> <p>The 78 cases tied back to the ship across separate voyages. California officials allowed the ship to remove all passengers from the vessel at the Port of Oakland.</p> <p>The <em>Diamond Princess and Grand Princess</em> has accounted for more than 800 total COVID-19 cases, including 10 deaths.</p>

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The end of global travel as we know it: an opportunity for sustainable tourism

<p>Saturday, March 14 2020, is “The Day the World Stopped Travelling”, in the words of <a href="https://skift.com/2020/03/15/the-day-the-world-stopped-traveling-a-letter-from-skift-founder/">Rifat Ali</a>, head of travel analytics company Skift.</p> <p>That’s a little dramatic, perhaps, but every day since has brought us closer to it being reality.</p> <p>The COVID-19 crisis has the global travel industry – “the most consequential industry in the world”, says Ali – in uncharted territory. Nations are shutting their borders. Airlines face bankruptcy. Ports are refusing entry to cruise ships, threatening the very basis of the cruise business model.</p> <p>Associated hospitality, arts and cultural industries are threatened. Major events are being cancelled. Tourist seasons in many tourist destinations are collapsing. Vulnerable workers on casual, seasonal or gig contracts are suffering. It seems an epic disaster.</p> <p>But is it?</p> <p>Considering <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/01/world/nasa-china-pollution-coronavirus-trnd-scn/index.html">human activities need to change</a> if we are to avoid the worst effects of human-induced climate change, the coronavirus crisis might offer us an unexpected opportunity.</p> <p>Ali, like many others, wants recovery, “even if it takes a while to get back up and return to pre-coronavirus traveller numbers”.</p> <p>But rather than try to return to business as usual as soon as possible, COVID-19 challenges us to think about the type of consumption that underpins the unsustainable ways of the travel and tourism industries.</p> <p><strong>Tourism dependency</strong></p> <p>Air travel features prominently in discussions about reducing carbon emissions. Even if commercial aviation accounts “only” for about 2.4% of all emissions from fossil-fuel use, flying is still how many of us in the industrialised world blow out our carbon footprints.</p> <p>But sustainability concerns in the travel and tourism sectors extend far beyond carbon emissions.</p> <p>In many places tourism has grown beyond its sustainable bounds, to the detriment of local communities.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-australia-might-be-at-risk-of-overtourism-99213">overtourism</a> of places like Venice, Barcelona and Reykjavik is one result. Cruise ships disgorge thousands of people for half-day visits that overwhelm the destination but leave little economic benefit.</p> <p>Cheap airline fares encourage weekend breaks in Europe that have inundated old cities such as Prague and Dubrovnik. The need for growth becomes self-perpetuating as tourism dependency locks communities into the system.</p> <p>In a 2010 paper <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23745318?seq=1">I argued</a> the problem was tourism underpinned by what sociologist Leslie Sklair called the “<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0263276410374634">culture-ideology of consumerism</a>” – by which consumption patterns that were once the preserve of the rich became endemic.</p> <p>Tourism is embedded in that culture-ideology as an essential pillar to achieve endless economic growth. For instance, <a href="https://www.tourism.australia.com/en/markets-and-stats/tourism-statistics/the-economic-importance-of-tourism.html">the Australian government</a> prioritises tourism as a “supergrowth industry”, accounting for almost 10% of “exports” in 2017-18.</p> <p><strong>Out of crisis comes creativity</strong></p> <p>Many are desperate to ensure business continues as usual. “If people will not travel,” said Ariel Cohen of California-based business travel agency <a href="https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3800229,00.html">TripActions</a>, “the economy will grind to a halt.”</p> <p>COVID-19 is a radical wake-up call to this way of thinking. Even if Cohen is right, that economic reality now needs to change to accommodate the more pressing public health reality.</p> <p>It is a big economic hit, but crisis invites creativity. Grounded business travellers are realising virtual business meetings work satisfactorily. Conferences are reorganising for virtual sessions. Arts and cultural events and institutions are turning to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/arts/music/coronavirus-pandemic-music-streaming.html">live streaming</a> to connect with audiences.</p> <p>In Italian cities under lockdown, residents have come out on their balconies to create music as a community.</p> <p>Local cafes and food co-ops, including my local, are reaching out with support for the community’s marginalised and elderly to ensure they are not forgotten.</p> <p>These responses challenge the atomised individualism that has gone hand in hand with the consumerism of travel and tourism. This public health crisis reminds us our well-being depends not on being consumers but on being part of a community.</p> <p>Staying closer to home could be a catalyst awakening us to the value of eating locally, travelling less and just slowing down and connecting to our community.</p> <p>After this crisis passes, we might find the old business as usual less compelling. We might learn that not travelling long distances didn’t stop us travelling; it just enlivened us to the richness of local travel.</p> <p><em>Written by Freya Higgins-Desbiolles. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-end-of-global-travel-as-we-know-it-an-opportunity-for-sustainable-tourism-133783">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down</p> <p>Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down. It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill. Read more:</p> <p><strong>It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill.</strong></p> <p>According to recent Mozo research, households were<a href="https://mozo.com.au/energy/articles/australians-set-to-waste-2-billion-on-bad-energy-habits-this-summer"> expected to waste a jaw dropping $774</a> on bad energy habits this summer, with the biggest culprit - leaving the air conditioner on overnight.</p> <p>So if you’ve been stung with a high summer energy bill, now is the time to get prepped in time for winter - below are some helpful tips.</p> <p><strong>Switch on smarter bulbs</strong></p> <p>Did you know that lighting accounts for seven per cent of a household’s annual energy usage?</p> <p>What’s even more surprising is that according to Red Energy, standard incandescent light bulbs use the majority of its energy to heat up a bulb and only 10% is then converted into light, making them highly inefficient. </p> <p>You can get smarter with your lighting by switching to more energy efficient light bulbs, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).</p> <p>These bulbs use up to 80 per cent less electricity and last up to 20 times longer than regular light bulbs, which can come in handy if you spend most of your time at home.</p> <p><strong>Take advantage of rebates in your state</strong></p> <p>Whether you live in New South Wales or Tasmania, most Australians dread the day their energy bill arrives in the mail.</p> <p>New research has even shown that<a href="https://mozo.com.au/energy/savings-tips/is-your-energy-bill-your-household-s-biggest-financial-stressor"> electricity costs is one of the top two financial stressors</a> for Australian households.</p> <p>So to ease the pinch of high bill, it’s worth looking into various government energy rebates you may be eligible for.</p> <p>There are a range of rebates available from solar battery storage to owning energy efficient appliances, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one you can apply for. </p> <p>For instance,<a href="https://www.moneymag.com.au/state-energy-rebate"> the Seniors Energy Rebate</a>, which is available in NSW, provides independent retirees with a $200 rebate on their electricity bill every year, while pensioners or veterans may be eligible for a $285 low-income household rebate.</p> <p>Just keep in mind that you may need to supply relevant documentation to confirm your eligibility, like your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, so be sure to have these handy when you apply.</p> <p><strong>Get picky with your plan</strong></p> <p>From picking up a new toaster to locking down a good deal on your phone bill, there’s no denying<a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/630/New-report-shows-how-retirement-village-consumers-can-save-thousands-by-shopping-around"> the value of shopping around</a> for the best price.</p> <p>And as deregulated energy markets, like New South Wales and Victoria continue to grow, the result can only mean competitive pricing and more options for customers.</p> <p>Following a Mozo number crunch of 427 electricity plans from 37 retailers, our data revealed that households have the potential to save an average of $554 a year, just by shopping around.</p> <p>So once you’re ready to start shopping around on energy plans, be sure to have your most recent bill nearby to make the process smoother.</p> <p>It’s important to look beyond flashy discounts and incentives many retailers offer new customers and instead consider whether the plan provides long term benefits and savings.</p> <p>Making sure there are no lock-in contracts or exit fees is also important because it can give you the flexibility to move between plans if better offers become available.</p> <p><strong>Go heavy with your sheets</strong></p> <p>As the seasons change, many Australians use it as an opportunity to give their bedroom a facelift with some new decor.</p> <p>But during winter, it’s also the chance to give your space an energy efficient upgrade.</p> <p>There’s nothing worse than a bad nights sleep or waking up in a with frozen fingers and toes, so it might be best to start with switching out your thinner bedsheets for thicker and heavier fabrics, like fleece.</p> <p>This will keep you warm during colder nights, without having to resort to the switching on the heating or electric blanket.</p> <p>Aside from being somewhat inexpensive, fleece sheets are great at insulating heat, are more durable and can absorb water or moisture faster than regular sheets.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post from <a href="https://mozo.com.au/">Mozo</a>, a trailblazer in energy comparison, providing Australians with practical energy saving tips and expert analysis.</em></p> <p><em>Mozo believes that getting a better deal on energy doesn’t have to be complicated and that no Australian should be paying more than they have for the same service.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Ceyda Erem. Republished with permission of Downsizing.com.au.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Can I take my children overseas without my partner’s permission?

<p>If you want to take your children overseas without their other parent, it’s important to understand how the law works, especially if you are separated or getting divorced.</p> <p>There are certain legal protections which are in place to prevent children being abducted by a parent and taken out of the country without the other parent’s permission.</p> <p>Even if you are just going for a holiday, it’s important to make sure you aren’t going to get into legal trouble for taking your children overseas without your partner or ex-partner’s permission.</p> <p><strong>Why do I have to get my partner’s permission?</strong></p> <p>In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases where one parent has taken a child out of Australia to another country.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.australianmissingpersonsregister.com/ParentalAbductions.htm">Australian Missing Persons Register</a>, over 150 children are abducted by a parent every year and many of them are never found.</p> <p>Children can be taken out of the country for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/apprehended-violence-order/">domestic violence</a>, other times it’s because of a custody dispute or because a parent wants to move and take their children with them, but doesn’t want to go through the usual processes in order to do so legally.</p> <p><strong>What does the law say about taking children overseas?</strong></p> <p>Although currently there is no law in place making it a crime, there are a number of provisions in place designed to prevent parents from taking children overseas without the other parent’s permission.</p> <p>If one parent takes a child away without the permission of the other parent, the other parent can apply for a recovery order from the court.</p> <p>A recovery order is a court-issued document which requires one parent to return a child or children.</p> <p>If you are served with a recovery order, it’s important to comply with any terms laid out as you can face further legal action if you don’t.</p> <p>Can my partner stop me taking the children overseas?</p> <p>If your partner is concerned that you may take the children overseas without their permission they can apply to have the names of your children placed on the airport watch list.</p> <p>The airport watch list is held by airports in Australia and is updated by the AFP. If any parent tries to remove a child who is on the airport watch list from the country they will not be allowed to leave.</p> <p>This applies to both parents, so if your partner has requested your children be listed, they won’t be able to take them out of the country until the court order is lifted (which can only be done by the AFP).</p> <p>As well as the airport watch list, your partner can also apply for a restraint for removal from Australia order.</p> <p>This is a formal court order which prohibits you from removing the children listed on the order from the country.</p> <p><strong>What if my partner won’t give permission?</strong></p> <p>If you want to take your children overseas and your partner won’t give you permission, you can apply to the <a href="http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home/Publications/Family+Law+Courts+publications/Children+and+international+travel+after+family+separation">Federal Circuit Court</a> in Australia.</p> <p>You will need to sign an affidavit and provide information about where you are going, your itinerary, any links you have with the country you are travelling to and any other relevant factors.</p> <p>You may also be required to pay a sum of money as security which will be refunded on your return.</p> <p><strong>Can I get a passport for my child?</strong></p> <p>Passport applications for children require the signature of each person with parental responsibility for the child.</p> <p>This is usually the parents named on the child’s birth certificate, but it can also include grandparents or other relatives who may have parental responsibility, or welfare organisations who have assumed responsibility for the child.</p> <p>Without the signature of both parents (or those with parental responsibility), a passport won’t be issued.</p> <p>However, it is possible to apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for <a href="https://www.passports.gov.au/web/brochureswebpages/brochurechildenparentalconsent.aspx">special consideration</a> to have a passport issued without the signature of both parents.</p> <p>Although it is difficult to take your children overseas without your partner’s permission it is possible under certain circumstances.</p> <p>The law exists to protect children and families from unlawful child abduction, so it’s important to seek legal advice if you are planning to take your children out of the country against your partner’s wishes.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/can-i-take-my-children-overseas-without-my-partners-permission/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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The world may lose half its sandy beaches by 2100: It’s not too late to save most of them

<p>For many coastal regions, sea-level rise is a looming crisis threatening our coastal society, livelihoods and coastal ecosystems. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0697-0">A new study</a>, published in Nature Climate Change, has reported the world will lose almost half of its valuable sandy beaches by 2100 as the ocean moves landward with rising sea levels.</p> <p>Sandy beaches comprise about a third of the world’s coastline. And Australia, with nearly 12,000 kilometres at risk, could be hit hard.</p> <p>This is the first truly global study to attempt to quantify beach erosion. The results for the highest greenhouse gas emission scenario are alarming, but reducing emissions lead to lower rates of coastal erosion.</p> <p>Our best hope for the future of the world’s coastlines and for Australia’s iconic beaches is to keep global warming as low as possible by urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p><strong>Losing sand in coastal erosion</strong></p> <p>Two of the largest problems resulting from <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/">rising sea levels</a> are coastal erosion and an already-observed increase in the frequency of coastal flooding events.</p> <p>Erosion during storms can have dramatic consequences, particularly for coastal infrastructure. We saw this in 2016, when <a href="https://theconversation.com/sydneys-wild-weather-shows-home-owners-are-increasingly-at-risk-60621">wild storms</a> removed sand from beaches and damaged houses in Sydney.</p> <p>After storms like this, beaches often gradually recover, because sand from deeper waters washes back to the shore over months to years and in some cases decades. These dramatic storms and the long-term <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S002532271630010X">sand supply</a> make it difficult to identify any beach movement in the recent past from sea-level rise.</p> <p>What we do know is that the rate of sea-level rise has <a href="https://theconversation.com/contributions-to-sea-level-rise-have-increased-by-half-since-1993-largely-because-of-greenlands-ice-79175">accelerated</a>. It has increased by half since 1993, and is continuing to accelerate from ongoing greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>If we continue to emit high levels of greenhouse gases, this acceleration will continue through the 21st century and <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-science-really-say-about-sea-level-rise-56807">beyond</a>. As a result, the supply of sand may not be able to keep pace with rapidly rising sea levels.</p> <p><strong>Projections for the worst-case scenario</strong></p> <p>In the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/">report</a>, released last year, the highest greenhouse gas emissions scenario resulted in global warming of more than 4°C (relative to pre-industrial temperatures) and a likely range of sea-level rise between 0.6 and 1.1 metres by 2100.</p> <p>For this scenario, this new study projects a global average landward movement of the coastline in the range of 40 to 250 metres if there were no physical limits to shoreline movement, such as those imposed by sea walls or other coastal infrastructure.</p> <p>Sea-level rise is responsible for the vast majority of this beach loss, with faster loss during the latter decades of the 21st century when the rate of rise is larger. And sea levels will continue to rise for centuries, so beach erosion would continue well after 2100.</p> <p>For southern Australia, the landward movement of the shoreline is projected to be more than 100 metres. This would damage many of Australia’s iconic tourist beaches such as Bondi, Manly and the Gold Coast. The movement in northern Australia is projected to be even larger, but more uncertain because of ongoing historical shoreline trends.</p> <p><strong>What happens if we mitigate our emissions</strong></p> <p>The above results are from a worst-case scenario. If greenhouse gas emissions were reduced such that the 2100 global temperature rose by about 2.5°C, instead of more than 4°C, then we’d reduce beach erosion by about a third of what’s projected in this worst-case scenario.</p> <p>Current global policies would result in about <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/cat-thermometer/">3°C of global warming</a>. That’s between the 4°C and the 2.5°C scenarios considered in this beach erosion study, implying our current policies will lead to significant beach erosion, including in Australia.</p> <p>Mitigating our emissions even further to achieving the Paris goal of keeping temperature rise to well below 2°C would be a major step in reducing beach loss.</p> <p><strong>Why coastal erosion is hard to predict</strong></p> <p>Projecting sea-level rise and resulting beach erosion are particularly difficult as both depend on many factors.</p> <p>For sea level, the major problems are estimating the contribution of melting Antarctic ice flowing into the ocean, how sea level will change on a regional scale, and the amount of global warming.</p> <p>The beach erosion calculated in this new study depends on several new databases. The databases of recent shoreline movement used to project ongoing natural factors might already be influenced by rising sea levels, possibly leading to an overestimate in the final calculations.</p> <p><strong>The implications</strong></p> <p>Regardless of the exact numbers reported in this study, it’s clear we will have to adapt to the beach erosion that we can no longer prevent, if we are to continue enjoying our beaches.</p> <p>This means we need appropriate planning, such as beach nourishment (adding sand to beaches to combat erosion) and other soft and hard engineering solutions. In some cases, we’ll even need to retreat from the coast to allow the beach to migrate landward.</p> <p>And if we are to continue to enjoy our sandy beaches into the future, we cannot allow ongoing and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The world needs urgent, significant and sustained global mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p><em>Written by John Church. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-world-may-lose-half-its-sandy-beaches-by-2100-its-not-too-late-to-save-most-of-them-132586">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Australians on board the Diamond Princess need to go into quarantine again: It’s time to reset the clock

<p>The evacuation of about 180 passengers pm February 20<sup>th</sup> from the cruise ship Diamond Princess to serve another period of quarantine back in Australia has raised questions about the best way to control spread of the coronavirus.</p> <p>The passengers had already spent 14 days quarantined on board the ship, which had been docked in Japan, and now face another 14 days at the Howard Springs quarantine facility close to Darwin.</p> <p>By contrast, Japan’s health ministry is allowing <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/world/asia/japan-cruise-ship-coronavirus.html">hundreds of people</a> to leave the ship without being subject to further quarantine.</p> <p>So what’s behind Australia’s announcement to impose a second quarantine period? And what were conditions like on board to prompt this decision?</p> <p><strong>What’s quarantine?</strong></p> <p>Quarantines have been put in place around the world as part of the global public health response to COVID-19 – the disease caused by a new coronavirus, now named SARS-CoV-2.</p> <p>The idea is to limit the spread of the virus within and between countries.</p> <p>Formal measures designed to limit contact between infected (or potentially infected) people are called “social distancing”. And they have been used to control communicable diseases for <a href="https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LEV.13.NLT">at least 2,500 years</a>.</p> <p>Today, the term <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5229a2.htm">quarantine refers to</a> the separation or restriction of movement of people who are not ill but are believed to have been exposed to an infectious disease.</p> <p>This differs to isolation, which is the term used for the separation or restriction of movement of people who are ill, thereby minimising onward transmission.</p> <p><strong>How long should quarantine last?</strong></p> <p>Quarantine periods are determined by certain characteristics of the infectious agent, most notably the incubation period. This is the period between being exposed to it and symptoms appearing.</p> <p>For COVID-19, the <a href="https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.5.2000062">average incubation period</a> is thought to be around six days, and can range from two to 11 days.</p> <p>While a <a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.06.20020974v1.full.pdf">preliminary report</a> has suggested a longer incubation period of up to 24 days, this is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25708">considered unlikely</a>.</p> <p>People who have been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 are considered to have been potentially exposed to the virus. As a precaution, these people are placed in quarantine, essentially to “sit out” their potential incubation period.</p> <p>The quarantine period of 14 days currently being used in Australia and elsewhere for COVID-19 takes into account the maximum known incubation period for this disease, plus a few extra days as a reasonable precaution.</p> <p>In quarantine, people will either develop the disease and have symptoms or they will remain well. In theory, if a person remains well after their period of quarantine, they are deemed uninfected and restrictions are lifted.</p> <p>Another factor that influences how long someone needs to be quarantined is the infectious period. That’s the period during which the infection can be transmitted from one person to another.</p> <p>If the infectious period starts before the symptoms (from asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic individuals), the virus can be transmitted silently. This can substantially complicate disease prevention and control.</p> <p>When a new virus emerges – as with SARS-CoV-2 – the infectious period is largely unknown. While the proportion of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic COVID-19 cases is not clear, it is increasingly apparent people can be infected <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001899?query=RP">without having any symptoms</a>. However, further evidence is needed to see if these people can infect others.</p> <p><strong>When is it best to extend the quarantine period?</strong></p> <p>Crucial to quarantine is ensuring that best possible infection control practices are put in place to prevent ongoing transmission.</p> <p>It is also essential to assess real-time data about newly diagnosed cases, which tells us how effective quarantine measures have been.</p> <p>In some circumstances, it may be necessary to extend a person’s period of quarantine, as in the case of the Australian citizens on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess.</p> <p><strong>So, what happened on board the Diamond Princess?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports">Data from the World Health Organisation</a> (WHO) give us clues to what’s behind Australia’s decision to impose a second period of quarantine.</p> <p>The graph below shows there may have been up to four possible waves of infections on board, including an initial undetected wave before quarantine measures were imposed.</p> <p>Evidence of ongoing transmission during the quarantine period supports the decision by several countries to evacuate their citizens from the Diamond Princess, including Australia, to “reset the clock” and to impose a further 14-day quarantine period.</p> <p>This additional measure – while causing considerable and understandable frustration to those affected – is designed to limit transmission of COVID-19 within Australia.</p> <p><strong>The rights of individuals versus public good</strong></p> <p>Implementing public health measures, such as isolation and quarantine, requires decision-making that <a href="https://www.who.int/healthsystems/topics/health-law/chapter10.pdf">balances the rights</a> of individuals and public good.</p> <p>When appropriately designed and implemented, quarantine and isolation work. Even when quarantine is not absolutely adhered to, it can still be effective at reducing the likelihood of large-scale outbreaks.</p> <p>With <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92450/">SARS</a> (severe acute respiratory syndrome), these strategies were thought to have been an important part in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691853/">controlling the epidemic</a>, though they were <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5229a2.htm">resource and labour intensive</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Stacey L Rowe and Benjamin Cowie. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/yes-australians-on-board-the-diamond-princess-need-to-go-into-quarantine-again-its-time-to-reset-the-clock-131906"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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"Raw with grief": White Island volcano victim finally wakes from coma to find husband and stepdaughter died

<p>Adelaide mother and engineer Lisa Dallow woke from a coma and received the heartbreaking news that her daughter and husband passed away in the White Island volcano tragedy.</p> <p>Lisa, 48, told relatives how she and other tourists fled for their lives as rocks rained down on them during the eruption on December 9.</p> <p>She woke in Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital burns unit and was given the news that her daughter Zoe, 15, and Gavin, 53 had passed.</p> <p>Relatives told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-woman-lisa-dallow-wakes-from-coma-to-hear-her-husband-gavin-and-daughter-zoe-died-in-the-white-island-volcano-tragedy/news-story/81e97399ddf87c0b4006d2a51933bcb9" target="_blank">The Advertiser</a></em><span> </span>that she was devastated.</p> <p>“Lisa is awake and has been told about Zoe and Gavin, so she now knows what has happened,” a family spokeswoman said.</p> <p>“It took a while for it to sink in and then she just kept saying she can’t believe they had died.”</p> <p>The family spokesman also said that Lisa had some memories of the volcano erupting.</p> <p>“She remembers it exploding and then telling everyone to run,” she said. “She then recalled how rocks were falling everywhere and hitting her on the back.</p> <p>“She remembers thinking: ‘When are they going to come and rescue us?’ The next thing she knows is she is in hospital wondering where she was.”</p> <p>After Lisa missed Gavin’s funeral at Adelaide Oval last month, her family has delayed Zoe’s memorial in the hopes that Lisa can attend as she undergoes intensive rehab.</p> <p>“She wasn’t able to go to Gavin’s funeral, but we are hoping she could make Zoe’s, so they have delayed it until she is a bit better,” the spokesperson explained.</p> <p>“It will be Lisa’s decision, so we all just have to wait and see. It is so devastating for everyone. We are still raw with grief.”</p> <p>Lisa was critically injured after suffering life-threatening burns to almost 60 percent of her body and is currently receiving high-level care from Australia’s top trauma doctors.</p> <p>“It really is a slow road to recovery, Lisa has been up and down,” the spokesman said.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-woman-lisa-dallow-wakes-from-coma-to-hear-her-husband-gavin-and-daughter-zoe-died-in-the-white-island-volcano-tragedy/news-story/81e97399ddf87c0b4006d2a51933bcb9" target="_blank">Adelaide Now</a><span> </span> <span> </span></em></p>

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