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Why it’s time to reconsider the ecological contribution of introduced species – even in New Zealand

<p>The loss of biodiversity is one of the most catastrophic developments of our time. The impacts will possibly <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/461472a">outpace those of global warming</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433029/original/file-20211122-15-tb7265.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="A fantail" /></p> <p><span class="caption">New Zealand’s pīwakawaka: conservation often focuses on saving native species.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Imogen Warren</span></span></p> <p>Growing evidence that humans have triggered a <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/24/13596">sixth global mass extinction</a> means the protection of remaining species is a <a href="https://sdgs.un.org/goals">priority beyond dispute</a> to secure ecological services such carbon cycling, clean water and air, and healthy oceans.</p> <p>The key drivers of species loss are climate change, habitat degradation, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11148?report=reader">pollution</a>, and <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-018-1595-x">exotic species that become invasive</a>. This has led conservation ecologists to follow the simple rule of “protect natives, fight exotics”.</p> <p>If we had an unlimited budget, I would hardly challenge this view. But in a world where natural ecosystems face many other global changes apart from species loss, I argue we should reconsider the <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2021.758413/full">ecological role exotic species play</a>.</p> <h2>Ecosystem function over species mix</h2> <p>One could argue ecosystems are inherently so complex that we can never appreciate the exact contribution of an individual species, and therefore native species need to be protected at all cost.</p> <p>But this argument can be turned around. In many cases, exotic species are not detrimental to the resident species communities. It is not until an exotic species becomes invasive that <a href="https://rewilding.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/IUCN-GISP.pdf">substantial harm happens</a>.</p> <p>The deliberate spread of species has been an integral part of human evolution for thousands of years. Many economically important plant species are exotics in most places, but they make it possible to feed our growing population.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433030/original/file-20211122-25-khff1x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="New world cacti and succulents in Greece." /></p> <p><span class="caption">New worlld cacti and succulents have become part of the Mediterranean landscape.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Anna Holyph</span></span></p> <p>In a physically highly connected world, unintentional relocation of both terrestrial and marine species has now also become unavoidable.</p> <p>In some cases, introduced species can even complement native ecosystems. New world succulents are now very much part of the Mediterranean landscape, without <a href="https://www.presentica.com/doc/11177197/the-role-of-new-world-biodiversity-in-the-transformation-of-document">harming the local flora</a>.</p> <p>Sometimes, introduced species perform ecological functions similar to those that are (or were) performed by natives. For instance, European gorse stabilises coastal slopes in New Zealand, providing a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19644109">nursery for local plants</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433003/original/file-20211121-27-ccesaa.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Gorse covering a hill in New Zealand." /> <span class="caption">Gorse can act as a nursery plant for New Zealand’s native plant species.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Filip Fuxa</span></span></p> <p>In one particularly spectacular case, extinct tortoises were intentionally replaced with an exotic species through “assisted colonisation”. It seems to have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23773124/">worked</a>.</p> <p>However, earlier and much less scientifically informed attempts of assisted colonisation, such as the deliberate introduction of cane toads in Australia’s tropical north-east, <a href="https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00319.x">went terribly wrong</a>.</p> <h2>The bias of human perception</h2> <p>There are many ecosystem services humanity depends on: clean water, carbon cycling, removal of pollutants and excessive nutrient loads, mitigation of global warming through land-based and marine carbon sequestration, erosion prevention, just to name a few.</p> <p>The preservation of native species is one way of ensuring those services for future generations. An approach focused on ecological function weighs the cost of protecting natives and combating exotics against the role of new species assemblages shaped by human interference.</p> <p>At approximately equal cost, should the addition of a breeding pair of a rare bird be prioritised over the reforestation of several hectares of land? Such decisions are often difficult and must be based on the available science.</p> <p>Clearly, there may be other reasons — cultural or aesthetic values for example — to protect native species, beyond the provisioning of ecosystem services. But people seem biased by what they are used to.</p> <p>For example, Switzerland provides <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42731932">generous subsidies</a> to farmers for maintaining picturesque alpine meadows, even though the native vegetation before human intervention was a much less biologically diverse alpine forest.</p> <p>In Central Europe, the recently introduced Tree of Heaven (<em>Ailanthus altissima</em>) triggered substantial efforts to eradicate it, while the European chestnut (<em>Castanea sativa</em>), introduced by the Greeks and Romans some 2000 years ago, is highly valued and enjoys <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00334-004-0038-7">protection and even reforestation programmes</a>.</p> <p>The above examples illustrate why we may need a more sober approach centred on ecological function to effectively protect our remaining natural treasures and the ecosystem services they provide.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2021.711556/abstract">milestones in the evolution of life</a> did not depend on individual species or species assemblages, but on the emergence of new functional traits such as photosynthesis, predation or flight. Similarly, humankind ultimately relies on functioning ecosystems, regardless of which species provide them.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171195/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sebastian-leuzinger-797584">Sebastian Leuzinger</a>, Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-its-time-to-reconsider-the-ecological-contribution-of-introduced-species-even-in-new-zealand-171195">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shuttershock</em></p>

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The ocean is essential to tackling climate change. So why has it been neglected in global climate talks?

<p>Climate change is commonly discussed as though it’s a uniquely atmospheric phenomena. But the crisis is deeply entwined with the ocean, and this has largely been neglected in international climate talks.</p> <p>The latest international climate negotiations made some progress by, for the first time, <a href="https://www.becausetheocean.org/the-ocean-anchored-in-glasgow-climate-pact/">anchoring oceans</a> permanently into the multilateral climate change regime. But the <a href="https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/glasgow-climate-change-conference-october-november-2021/outcomes-of-the-glasgow-climate-change-conference">Glasgow Climate Pact</a> is still leagues from where it needs to be to adequately reflect the importance of oceans to our climate system.</p> <p>Most countries have targets for land-based emissions – but there are no such targets for oceans. Yet the ocean plays a vital role in helping balance the conditions humans and most other species need to survive, while also offering a substantial part of the solution to stop the planet warming over the crucial limit of 1.5℃ this century.</p> <p>So how can oceans help us tackle the climate crisis? And what progress has been made in international negotiations?</p> <h2>The ocean’s incredible potential</h2> <p>Since industrialisation, the ocean has absorbed <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar5/">93% of human-generated heat</a> and <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aau5153">one-third of anthropogenic carbon dioxide</a> (CO₂). The consequences of this are profound, including the thermal expansion of water (the key cause of sea level rise), ocean acidification, <a href="https://www.iucn.org/theme/marine-and-polar/our-work/climate-change-and-oceans/ocean-deoxygenation">deoxygenation</a> (oxygen loss), and forcing marine life to redistribute to other places.</p> <p>Alarmingly, this may one day lead the ocean to reverse its role as a carbon sink and release CO₂ <a href="https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000376708">back into the atmosphere</a>, as its absorption ability declines.</p> <p>Equally important is ocean-based climate mitigation, which could provide <a href="https://www.wri.org/insights/turning-tide-ocean-based-solutions-could-close-emission-gap-21">more than 20% of the emissions reductions</a> needed for the 1.5℃ goal.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/432511/original/file-20211117-25-34h4c8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/432511/original/file-20211117-25-34h4c8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Cargo ships" /></a> <span class="caption">The shipping industry is responsible for about 3% of global emissions.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Andy Li/Unsplash</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" class="license">CC BY</a></span></p> <p>Crucially, we must see changes to maritime industries. The shipping industry alone has a similar carbon footprint to Germany – if shipping were a country it would be the world’s sixth-largest emitter. Although high on the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-shipping-sector-is-finally-on-board-in-the-fight-against-climate-change-95212">International Maritime Organisation’s agenda</a>, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-reach-net-zero-we-must-decarbonise-shipping-but-two-big-problems-are-getting-in-the-way-170464">decarbonisation of shipping</a> still lacks <a href="https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/let-s-be-honest-un-secretary-general-slams-imo-s-progress-on-co2">adequate targets or processes</a>.</p> <p>Oceans can also provide climate-safe, sustainable food choices. Current food systems, such as emissions-intensive agriculture, fishing, and processed foods are responsible for <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00225-9">one-third of global emissions</a>. Considerable environmental (and health) benefits can be gained by shifting our diets to sustainable “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-fish-can-still-be-part-of-a-more-sustainable-food-future-167944">blue foods</a>”.</p> <p>These include seafoods sourced from fisheries with sustainable management practices, such as avoiding overfishing and reducing carbon emissions. Markets and technologies should also be geared towards the large-scale production and consumption of aquatic plants such as seagrasses.</p> <p>There’s also a wealth of opportunity in “blue carbon” – capturing CO₂ in the atmosphere by conserving and restoring marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes. However, the success of nature-based solutions depends on a healthy ocean ecosystem. For example, there are emerging concerns around the impact of <a href="https://theconversation.com/oil-companies-are-ploughing-money-into-fossil-fuelled-plastics-production-at-a-record-rate-new-research-169690">plastic pollution</a> on plankton’s ability to absorb CO₂.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/432512/original/file-20211117-21-1lqaa5q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/432512/original/file-20211117-21-1lqaa5q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Conserving mangroves is an important way to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>But perhaps the greatest impact would come from adopting offshore renewable energy. This has the potential to offer <a href="https://www.oceanpanel.org/climate">one-tenth of the emissions reductions we need to reach the 1.5℃ goal</a>. The International Energy Agency has estimated offshore wind could <a href="https://www.iea.org/reports/offshore-wind-outlook-2019">power the world 18 times over its current consumption rate</a>.</p> <h2>Climate talks are making slow progress</h2> <p>For more than a decade, the inclusion of oceans in climate talks has been piecemeal and inconsistent. Where they have been part of negotiations, including at COP26, talk has focused on the potential for coastal areas to adapt to climate change impacts such as sea-level rise, as first raised in international fora <a href="http://www.islandvulnerability.org/slr1989/declaration.pdf">in 1989</a> by small island states.</p> <p>The final COP26 agreement, known as the <a href="https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/glasgow-climate-change-conference-october-november-2021/outcomes-of-the-glasgow-climate-change-conference">Glasgow Climate Pact</a>, made slight progress.</p> <p>The pact recognised the importance of ensuring the <a href="https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cma3_auv_2_cover%20decision.pdf">ocean ecosystem’s integrity</a>. It established the “the Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue” as an annual process to strengthen ocean-based action. And <a href="https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cop26_auv_2f_cover_decision.pdf">it invited</a> UNFCCC bodies to consider how to “integrate and strengthen ocean-based action into existing mandates and workplans” and report back.</p> <p>While these are positive measures, at this stage they don’t require action by parties. Therefore, they’re only a theoretical inclusion, not action-oriented.</p> <p>We still lack national targets and clear, mandatory international requirements for countries to consider sinks, sources and activities beyond the shoreline in their climate planning and reporting.</p> <p>Where COP26 did progress was its focus on whether ocean impacts and mitigation will finally be brought into the mainstream climate agenda. For the first time in five years, a new <a href="https://www.becausetheocean.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Final-Draft-BtO3_31_Oct_2021.pdf">“Because the Ocean” declaration</a> was released, which calls for the systematic inclusion of the oceans in the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement process.</p> <h2>What do we do now?</h2> <p>What’s now needed is a list of mandated requirements that ensure countries report on and take responsibility for climate impacts within their maritime territories.</p> <p>But as COP26 president Alok Sharma said of the summit as a whole, it was a “fragile win”. We still lack any reference to consistency with existing mechanisms, such as the <a href="https://www.un.org/depts/los/index.htm">law of the sea convention</a> or how funding will be allocated specifically to oceans.</p> <p>As such, the actual impact of COP26 on the inclusion of oceans in climate action remains uncertain. It will depend on how the UNFCCC bodies respond to these directives, and their success in extending obligations to state parties.</p> <p>Responding to the climate crisis means we need to stop pretending the ocean and atmosphere are separate. We must start including ocean action as a routine part of climate action.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dr-sali-bache-1286674">Dr Sali Bache</a>, Strategic Advisor in International Policy and Oceans , <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/climateworks-australia-984">ClimateWorks Australia</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ocean-is-essential-to-tackling-climate-change-so-why-has-it-been-neglected-in-global-climate-talks-171309">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Silas Baisch/Unsplash</span></span></em></p>

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Electric cars alone won’t save the planet. We’ll need to design cities so people can walk and cycle safely

<p>At the COP26 climate summit, world politicians patted themselves on their backs for <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/455658/cop26-agrees-new-global-climate-deal-with-last-minute-change-on-coal">coming to a last-minute agreement</a>. Humanity now waits with bated breath to see if countries implement the commitments they made, and if those commitments help the planet.</p> <p>If the rest of our climate progress mirrors the policies around transportation, we’re in for a difficult future.</p> <p>COP26 may have been one of the last chances to head off devastating climate change, and yet, the best and boldest action our leaders could envision for transportation was the universal adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) — with a vague nod to <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2021/11/10/electric-cars-wont-save-the-planet-say-transport-experts-at-cop26/?sh=15ebb8967978">active and public transport</a>.</p> <p>EVs are exciting for politicians, many businesses and a few drivers. They give us the illusion we are dramatically reducing our environmental impact while changing virtually nothing about our lifestyles.</p> <p>But EVs do what cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) have always done to our urban areas. They make it possible to put greater distances between the places we live, work and shop. But ever expanding cities are unsustainable.</p> <p>Building endlessly into greenfield areas and swapping forests or agricultural land for low-density housing uses exorbitant amounts of limited resources. The further out our cities grow, the less interest there is in building up to achieve the scale our urban areas need for the efficient use of infrastructures like water, sewerage, electricity and public transport.</p> <h2>Electric cars are still cars</h2> <p>Electric cars make our cities less attractive and less efficient for more sustainable modes of transport. No matter the type of propulsion, people driving cars kill 1.35 million people globally, including more than 300 in New Zealand, every year.</p> <p>More cars in cities mean more space taken for parking, less room and more danger for active modes and less efficient public transport. Plugging in a car doesn’t stop it from being a lethal machine or causing congestion.</p> <p>There is still no clear and sustainable pathway to manage the e-waste generated by EVs. Electric cars are not “green”. They still use tyres which create massive waste streams. Tyre wear produces microplastics that <a href="https://www.iucn.org/news/secretariat/201702/invisible-plastic-particles-textiles-and-tyres-major-source-ocean-pollution-%E2%80%93-iucn-study">end up in our waterways and oceans</a>.</p> <p>Although EVs use regenerative braking, which is better than traditional internal-combustion cars, they still use brake pads when the brakes are applied. Braking generates <a href="https://www.ecan.govt.nz/get-involved/news-and-events/2018/the-hidden-pollutant-in-our-brake-pads/">toxic dust composed of heavy metals</a> like mercury, lead, cadmium and chromium. These heavy metals make their way to our streams and rivers, embedding themselves in these waterways forever.</p> <h2>Driving less, switching to active transport</h2> <p>Even if EVs were great for the planet, we may not get to a level of use in New Zealand to meaningfully reduce transport emissions to merit our climate goals.</p> <p>New Zealand introduced subsidies in July this year, but at this point <a href="https://www.transport.govt.nz//assets/Uploads/Report/AnnualFleetStatistics.pdf">less than 0.5% of the vehicle fleet is fully electric</a>. At the current rate of EV adoption, it will take many decades before enough electric motors propel our vehicle fleet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>According to the Climate Change Commission’s <a href="https://www.climatecommission.govt.nz/our-work/advice-to-government-topic/inaia-tonu-nei-a-low-emissions-future-for-aotearoa/">advice to the government</a>, to achieve New Zealand’s 2050 net zero target, at least 50% of imported light vehicles would need to be fully electric by 2029, with no light internal-combustion vehicle imports from the early 2030s. The report goes on to concede that:</p> <blockquote> <p>Even with the rapid switch to EVs, roughly 80% of the vehicles entering the fleet this decade would still be ICE vehicles.</p> </blockquote> <p>The current rates of EV adoption reflect uptake by the <a href="https://sciencepolicyreview.org/wp-content/uploads/securepdfs/2021/08/A_perspective_on_equity_in_the_transition_to_electric_vehicles.pdf">wealthiest in our society</a>. Once those with the greatest disposable income purchase electric cars, we can expect the adoption curve to flatten.</p> <p>It is unfair to expect middle and lower-income people to replace their current vehicles with more expensive electric cars. Mitigating emissions through consumerism is highly inequitable. We are placing the most significant burden on the most vulnerable groups.</p> <p>Those who push technology like EVs make big promises that lull us into a false sense that we can live our lives in virtually the same way we do now and not worry about the planet. In reality, our lifestyles need to undergo significant changes to make a meaningful impact.</p> <p>Despite all this, there is good news. The changes needed to move us closer to a sustainable future are many of the things a lot of us love about living in a community. It’s about bringing different land uses closer together to make it possible to live, work and shop in your neighbourhood. It’s about connecting communities with cycling and public transport infrastructure for longer trips.</p> <p>Life as we know it will have to change, but that change could be for the better. We don’t need to ditch the more than three million fossil fuel cars we already have, but we should drive them a lot less. Though it sounds nice, buying a new electric car won’t save the planet.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171818/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-welch-1252494">Timothy Welch</a>, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-1305">University of Auckland</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/electric-cars-alone-wont-save-the-planet-well-need-to-design-cities-so-people-can-walk-and-cycle-safely-171818">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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COP26: New Zealand depends on robust new rules for global carbon trading to meets its climate pledge

<p>As the <a href="https://ukcop26.org/">COP26</a> climate summit draws to a close, debate continues on one key issue in particular: a new rule book for global carbon trading to allow countries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas to count towards their own climate action.</p> <p>The world has generally welcomed headline-grabbing <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/07/so-what-has-cop26-achieved-so-far">agreements</a> on halting deforestation and tackling methane and <a href="https://ukcop26.org/end-of-coal-in-sight-at-cop26/">coal</a>. Likewise ambitious commitments from some large polluters, most notably <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/07/so-what-has-cop26-achieved-so-far">India’s pledge</a> to reach net zero carbon by 2070.</p> <p>But the devil is in the detail and there is serious concern that some of these commitments are only voluntary, while others look unachievable.</p> <p>Defining the rules for international carbon trading is a contentious agenda item — but one that will partly determine whether countries can meet their pledges and collectively limit global warming to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/05/president-of-paris-summit-says-18c-commitment-is-only-hypothetical">as close to 1.5℃ as possible</a>.</p> <p>The new rules, known as <a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-q-and-a-how-article-6-carbon-markets-could-make-or-break-the-paris-agreement">Article 6</a> under the <a href="https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement">Paris Agreement</a>, will be important for New Zealand.</p> <p>During COP26, New Zealand announced its new Nationally Determined Contribution (<a href="https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs">NDC</a>) to reduce emissions by <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/climate-change-conference-emissions-to-be-cut-by-50-per-cent-below-2005-levels-by-2030/WRDDTBYBIRDSOTQSDP7UH6KWLI/">50% on 2005 levels by 2030</a>.</p> <p>Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described this as “our fair share” and it is indeed a significant step up on New Zealand’s previous pledge to cut emissions by 30%. It leaves the country with 571 Megatons of CO₂-equivalent emissions to “spend” between 2022 and 2030.</p> <h2>New rules for global carbon trading</h2> <p>The New Zealand government stated its “<a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/climate-change-conference-emissions-to-be-cut-by-50-per-cent-below-2005-levels-by-2030/WRDDTBYBIRDSOTQSDP7UH6KWLI/">first priority</a>” was to reduce domestic emissions, but it acknowledged that alone could not meet the country’s new pledge. In fact, two thirds of the promised emissions reductions will have to come through overseas arrangements, especially with nations in the Asia-Pacific region.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.climatecommission.govt.nz/our-work/advice-to-government-topic/inaia-tonu-nei-a-low-emissions-future-for-aotearoa/test-summary/">Climate Change Commission</a> has been critical of this approach, describing it as “purchasing offshore mitigation, rather than [doing] what was necessary to achieve actual emissions reductions at source”.</p> <p>But the approach is allowed under the <a href="https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement">Paris Agreement</a>, which all states at COP26 have signed up to.</p> <p>This would allow one country to buy credits from another country that has exceeded its NDC, or to carry out activities that reduce emissions in another (host) country and count those towards its own NDC. It also supports non-market approaches to climate cooperation between countries around technology transfer, finance and capacity building.</p> <p>But these provisions have proved contentious, not least because they could result in double counting of emissions reductions, unless clear and robust operational rules are agreed. The COP26 summit has made some progress on this, but many finer details are yet to be resolved.</p> <h2>Cutting emissions at home versus elsewhere</h2> <p>Uncertainty about carbon market rules will be particularly problematic for New Zealand, given its reliance on overseas activities to meet its new NDC. There are also practical questions around how much of these activities will count towards New Zealand’s NDC, and how ready potential partners in the Pacific are for such carbon market trading mechanisms.</p> <p>Pacific Island nations are not currently trading or part of established carbon markets. They may not be able to develop the necessary technical expertise to ensure fairness, compliance and transparency well in advance of 2030.</p> <p>While there is scope to pursue opportunities to reduce emissions beyond our shores, we should be looking harder at what can be done domestically to help fulfil our NDC in the short time available.</p> <p>Public <a href="https://consult.environment.govt.nz/climate/emissions-reduction-plan/">consultation</a> on the government’s first <a href="https://environment.govt.nz/publications/emissions-reduction-plan-discussion-document/">emissions reduction plan</a> is currently underway until November 24. A final version is due in May 2022 and is expected to set out strategies for specific sectors (transport, energy and industry, agriculture, waste and forestry) to meet emissions budgets.</p> <p>It will also include a multi-sector plan to adapt to climate change, and to mitigate the impacts emissions cuts may have on people.</p> <p>It’s not ideal that a concrete plan for domestic emissions reductions is still six months away. But this does provide opportunity for people and interest groups to help shape priorities and pathways, and to encourage the government to set bolder domestic targets than would otherwise have been likely.</p> <p>The Climate Change Commission has already produced <a href="https://www.climatecommission.govt.nz/our-work/reducing-emissions/">recommendations for a low-emissions Aotearoa</a>, including the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, reduction in animal stocking rates and changing land use towards forestry and horticulture.</p> <p>Now is also the time to start building capacity to support Pacific Island nations in designing their carbon market policies. New Zealand has already <a href="https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-increases-climate-aid-contribution">pledged NZ$1.3 billion</a> in funding for climate change aid, about half of which will go to Pacific Island countries.</p> <p>Allocating some of this to enhancing technical know-how will help create a level playing field in carbon trading. It would ensure that whichever overseas arrangements materialise, these will be fair and deliver an “<a href="https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf">overall mitigation in global emissions</a>”, as the Paris Agreement requires.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-cooper-749971">Nathan Cooper</a>, Associate Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kemi-hughes-1288573">Kemi Hughes</a>, Doctoral Researcher in Climate Change Governance, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cop26-new-zealand-depends-on-robust-new-rules-for-global-carbon-trading-to-meets-its-climate-pledge-171194">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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How Māori knowledge could help New Zealanders turn their concern for the environment into action

<p>As world leaders continue negotiations at the <a href="https://ukcop26.org/">COP26 climate summit</a> in Glasgow, several <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/07/so-what-has-cop26-achieved-so-far">agreements</a> reached so far have acknowledged the connection between climate change and the global loss of biodiversity.</p> <p>Half a world away, we might feel somewhat smug. Almost a third of Aotearoa New Zealand is protected as conservation land, but we nevertheless have the highest number of threatened species worldwide, with 79% of birds, bats, reptiles and frogs at <a href="https://www.stats.govt.nz/indicators/conservation-status-of-indigenous-land-species">risk of or threatened with extinction</a>.</p> <p>The threat to wildlife is entirely due to <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/pc/PC130256">human impacts</a>, including the introduction of mammal predators and land-use practices that threaten Indigenous biodiversity.</p> <p>Despite more than 40,000 people in 600 community <a href="https://www.newzealandecology.org/nzje/3234">conservation groups</a> working throughout the country, these efforts and gains are tenuous, not yet arresting the <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03036758.2019.1599967?journalCode=tnzr20">decline in biodiversity</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10182/14097/Perceptions2019_Final_LowRes_jan2020.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">Surveys</a> show New Zealanders are increasingly aware of the state of our environment, but knowledge on its own does not spur action.</p> <p>We suggest <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310472991_Matauranga_Maori-the_ukaipo_of_knowledge_in_New_Zealand">mātauranga Māori</a>, a traditional system of understanding the natural world, could help take people from awareness to action.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430665/original/file-20211107-10121-4tn6ry.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Conservation status of native species in New Zealand.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://statisticsnz.shinyapps.io/conservation_status_land/" class="source">Stats NZ</a>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-ND</a></span></p> <p>Te Mana o te Taiao is New Zealand’s <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/biodiversity/aotearoa-new-zealand-biodiversity-strategy/te-mana-o-te-taiao-summary/">national biodiversity strategy</a> and lays out conservation priorities for the next three decades. It promotes the braiding of Western science and mātauranga Māori and emphasises a focus on people as much as the environment.</p> <p>Regular <a href="https://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10182/14097/Perceptions2019_Final_LowRes_jan2020.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">surveys</a> show a marked shift in public perception of the state of New Zealand’s environment. Twenty years ago, a majority believed the environment was in good health, but today, most people believe it is in poor health.</p> <p>The survey also asks if respondents had participated in environmental advocacy or volunteer work, but the percentage of people who have has remained steady over two decades.</p> <h2>From awareness to action</h2> <p>People feel increasingly <a href="https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/fee.1225">disconnected from the natural world</a> for a few key reasons, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>a rise of individualism and the erosion of community</p> </li> <li> <p>distraction by technology and entertainment</p> </li> <li> <p>increasing urbanisation and inequality leading to an “extinction of experience”</p> </li> <li> <p>poorer urban populations with fewer opportunities to connect with nature.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Awareness alone does not spur action, but research shows people who feel more <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40362-014-0021-3">connected with nature</a> have a stronger sense of environmental responsibility.</p> <p>If we wish to ensure the survival of our Indigenous biodiversity, we need to ask how we get from awareness to action. Indigenous peoples have played a strong role in conserving biodiversity over many centuries, and mātauranga Māori could hold some answers.</p> <p>There are three main strands to how mātauranga Māori can turn knowledge into action.</p> <ol> <li> <p>Ecological science has increased our understanding of the inter-connectedness of ecosystems and has brought us closer to a mātauranga Māori concept of human relationships with the natural world. Within this concept, if the environment is not in good health, people can’t be in good health either. Seeing ourselves as inter-connected and inter-dependent with the natural world <a href="https://www.pnzmemberhub.org.nz/single-post/2013/01/01/indigenous-m%C4%81ori-knowledge-and-perspectives-of-ecosystems">engenders reciprocity and care</a> for the natural world.</p> </li> <li> <p>By embedding values and beliefs into facts, knowledge becomes more memorable, meaningful and relatable. This helps people to form an identity of belonging within the natural world and a connection to place. We are far more likely to care for a place if we feel a <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/conl.12398">connection</a> to it.</p> </li> <li> <p>Awareness of our inter-connections and dependence on the natural world helps us see the dissonance between stewardship and practices that threaten other species.</p> </li> </ol> <h2>Community conservation as the answer</h2> <p>Community conservation groups could play a central role in achieving New Zealand’s national biodiversity strategy through use of mātauranga Māori concepts.</p> <p>Ecosanctuaries like <a href="https://www.visitzealandia.com/">Zealandia</a> already provide opportunities to connect with the natural world, through education and <a href="https://www.visitzealandia.com/Volunteer">volunteering</a>. There are more than 80 <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03036758.2019.1620297">sanctuaries</a> throughout the country, providing opportunities for people to acquaint themselves with the natural world and become involved in conservation activities.</p> <p>Ecosanctuaries demonstrate environmental restoration is possible and conservation is everyone’s responsibility, not just the role of the state. They effectively build a constituency for conservation within the community.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430957/original/file-20211109-23-1y907yi.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A conservation volunteer releases South Island saddlebacks, or tīeke in an ecosanctuary." /> <span class="caption">A conservation volunteer releases South Island saddlebacks, or tīeke – one of New Zealand’s endangered native birds – in an ecosanctuary.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Andrew MacDonald/Getty Images</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-ND</a></span></p> <p>Zealandia identifies its role as an enabler of transformation in the way people engage with the natural world. Their <a href="http://www.visitzealandia.com/livingwithnature">20-year strategy</a> emphasises mātauranga Māori and inspiring change through shared passion.</p> <blockquote> <p>The biodiversity strategy is fundamentally about people […] the task that we have in front of us is fundamentally about changing the way people value the natural world.</p> </blockquote> <p>Māori continually straddle two worlds, navigating the Māori world view and the Tauiwi (Western) world. Non-Māori rarely step into the Māori world, and its unfamiliarity can cause discomfort.</p> <p>Incorporating mātauranga Māori should not mean appropriating knowledge from Māori or glossing over legitimate Māori grievances. Instead, being able to hold <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13412-012-0086-8">two world views</a> can be likened to gaining binocular vision – people discern more depth and detail than by seeing the world through a single lens.</p> <p>To maintain and improve our biodiversity, we need to practise conservation everywhere rather than only in conservation spaces. Embracing mātauranga Māori concepts could help New Zealanders to develop an identity of ecological belonging to become better kaitiaki (guardians) of our biodiversity.</p> <p><em>This article is based on a presentation given at a <a href="https://www.sanctuariesnz.org/projects.asp">Sanctuaries of New Zealand</a> workshop earlier this year on the theme of iwi and conservation.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/168831/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/scott-burnett-1280153">Scott Burnett</a>, Research assistant, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/apisalome-movono-1108178">Apisalome Movono</a>, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/regina-scheyvens-650907">Regina Scheyvens</a>, Professor of Development Studies, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-maori-knowledge-could-help-new-zealanders-turn-their-concern-for-the-environment-into-action-168831">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Guo Lei/Xinhua via Getty Images</span></span></em></p>

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5 major heatwaves in 30 years have turned the Great Barrier Reef into a bleached checkerboard

<p>Just 2% of the Great Barrier Reef remains untouched by bleaching since 1998 and 80% of individual reefs have bleached severely once, twice or three times since 2016, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982221014901">our new study</a> reveals today.</p> <p>We measured the impacts of five marine heatwaves on the Great Barrier Reef over the past three decades: in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020. We found these bouts of extreme temperatures have transformed it into a checkerboard of bleached reefs with very different recent histories.</p> <p>Whether we still have a functioning Great Barrier Reef in the decades to come depends on how much higher we allow global temperatures to rise. The bleaching events we’ve already seen in recent years are a result of the world warming by 1.2℃ since pre-industrial times.</p> <p>World leaders meeting at the climate summit in Glasgow must commit to more ambitious promises to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. It’s vital for the future of corals reefs, and for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on them for their livelihoods and food security.</p> <h2>Coral in a hotter climate</h2> <p>The Great Barrier Reef is comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs stretching for <a href="https://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/the-reef/reef-facts">2,300 kilometres</a>, and supports more than 60,000 jobs in reef <a href="https://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/our-work/Managing-multiple-uses/tourism-on-the-great-barrier-reef">tourism</a>.</p> <p>Under climate change, the frequency, intensity and scale of climate extremes is changing rapidly, including the record-breaking marine heatwaves that cause corals to bleach. Bleaching is a stress response by overheated corals, where they lose their colour and many struggle to survive.</p> <p>If all new COP26 pledges by individual countries are actually met, then the projected increase in average global warming could be brought down <a href="https://www.climate-resource.com/tools/ndcs">to 1.9℃</a>. In theory, this would put us in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to keep global warming below 2℃, but preferably 1.5℃, this century.</p> <p>However, it is still not enough to prevent the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/">ongoing degradation</a> of the world’s coral reefs. The damage to coral reefs from anthropogenic heating so far is very clear, and further warming will continue to <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aan8048">ratchet down</a> reefs throughout the tropics.</p> <h2>Ecological memories of heatwaves</h2> <p>Most reefs today are in early <a href="https://www.aims.gov.au/reef-monitoring/gbr-condition-summary-2020-2021">recovery mode</a>, as coral populations begin to re-build since they last experienced bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020. It takes about a decade for a decent recovery of the fastest growing corals, and much longer for slow-growing species. Many coastal reefs that were severely bleached in 1998 have never fully recovered.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430169/original/file-20211104-19-1po1sc2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430169/original/file-20211104-19-1po1sc2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The fringing reef flat at Orpheus Island on the central Great Barrier Reef, prior to mass coral bleaching in 1998.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Bette Willis and Andrew Baird</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430168/original/file-20211104-27-16wyz5j.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430168/original/file-20211104-27-16wyz5j.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The same reef flat at Orpheus Island after further bleaching in 2002 and 2016.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Bette Willis and Andrew Baird</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Each bleaching event so far has a different geographic footprint. Drawing upon <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/6/11/11579">satellite data</a>, we measured the duration and intensity of heat stress that the Great Barrier Reef experienced each summer, to explain why different parts were affected during all five events.</p> <p>The bleaching responses of corals differed greatly in each event, and was strongly influenced by the recent history of previous bleaching. For this reason, it’s important to measure the extent and severity of bleaching directly, where it actually occurs, and not rely exclusively on water temperature data from satellites as an indirect proxy.</p> <p>We found the most vulnerable reefs each year were the ones that had not bleached for a decade or longer. On the other hand, when successive episodes were close together in time (one to four years apart), the heat threshold for severe bleaching increased. In other words, the earlier event had hardened regions of the Great Barrier Reef to subsequent impacts.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430176/original/file-20211104-15-noksid.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430176/original/file-20211104-15-noksid.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Bleached coral" /></a> <span class="caption">Bleaching is a stress response by overheated corals.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>For example, in 2002 and 2017, it took much more heat to trigger similar levels of bleaching that were measured in 1998 and 2016. The threshold for bleaching was much higher on reefs that had experienced an earlier episode of heat stress.</p> <p>Similarly, southern corals, which escaped bleaching in 2016 and 2017, were the most vulnerable in 2020, compared to central and northern reefs that had bleached severely in previous events.</p> <p>Many different mechanisms could generate these historical effects, or ecological memories. One is <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0041-2">heavy losses</a> of the more heat-susceptible coral species during an earlier event – dead corals don’t re-bleach.</p> <p>Nowhere left to hide</p> <p>Only a single cluster of reefs remains unbleached in the far south, downstream from the rest of the Great Barrier Reef, in a small region that has remained consistently cool through the summer months during all five mass bleaching events. These reefs lie at the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, where upwelling of cool water may offer some protection from heatwaves, at least so far.<a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430397/original/file-20211104-23-29h946.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430397/original/file-20211104-23-29h946.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Map of the Great Barrier Reef showing the cumulative level of bleaching observed in 2016, 2017 and 2020. The colours represent the intensity of bleaching, ranging from zero (category 1, dark blue) to severe bleaching that affected more than 60% of corals (category 4, red)</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>In theory, a judiciously placed network of well-protected, climate-resistant reefs might help to repopulate the <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/conl.12587">broader seascape</a>, if greenhouse gas emissions are curtailed to stabilise temperatures later this century.</p> <p>But the unbleached southern reefs are too few in number, and too far away from the rest of the Great Barrier Reef to produce and deliver sufficient coral larvae, to promote a long-distance recovery.</p> <p>Instead, future replenishment of depleted coral populations is more likely to be local. It would come from the billions of larvae produced by recovering adults on nearby reefs that have not bleached for a while, or by corals inhabiting reef in deeper waters which tend to experience less heat stress than those living in shallow water.</p> <p>Future recovery of corals will increasingly be temporary and incomplete, before being interrupted again by the inevitable next bleaching event. Consequently, the patchiness of living coral on the Great Barrier Reef will increase further, and corals will continue to decline under climate change.</p> <p>Our findings make it clear we no longer have the luxury of studying individual climate-related events that were once unprecedented, or very rare. Instead, as the world gets hotter, it’s increasingly important to understand the effects and combined outcomes of sequences of rapid-fire catastrophes.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170719/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-hughes-9894">Terry Hughes</a>, Distinguished Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sean-connolly-94343">Sean Connolly</a>, Research Biologist, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/smithsonian-institution-1227">Smithsonian Institution</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/5-major-heatwaves-in-30-years-have-turned-the-great-barrier-reef-into-a-bleached-checkerboard-170719">original article</a>.</p>

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Uluru turns into a waterfall in “rare and magical” sight

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A rare bout of rain </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/northern-territory/uluru-turn-into-waterfall-amid-heavy-rain-in-region/news-story/d7ab44457590e77dfb3740e5d3c78f25" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has turned</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Uluru into a series of waterfalls, with footage emerging of the wondrous sight.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park shared a series of images and videos showing the transformation, after the area received 22 mm of rain earlier in the week.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though that might not sound like a lot of rain, Parks Australia said the area’s average rainfall is just under 300 mm — meaning it received seven percent of its annual rain in a single night.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Parks Australia shared the “rare and magical” moment on social media, with one video capturing both the amazing sight and the sounds of burrowing frogs calling to each other.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CVxAxD2Fr3C/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CVxAxD2Fr3C/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park (@seeuluru)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For most of the year these frogs are underground, avoiding hot and dry conditions,” Parks Australia explained in the caption.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They emerge after rain to breed, feed and return underground to evade perishing in the harsh weather conditions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They continue to call for the next day or so, especially in the early morning and at dusk.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845319/uluru1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8baae45cf4da4585969de90e41e13193" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @seeuluru / Instagram</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But it isn’t the first time this kind of moment has been witnessed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last year, the area received 30mm of rain — the biggest downpour in three years — which created a series of waterfalls that poured over Uluru.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the most recent deluge, Parks Australia confirmed that the weather has since cleared.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CV1KPZ9htok/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CV1KPZ9htok/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park (@seeuluru)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“At about 5.30pm last night the skies lifted and it was clear that the Irish are right and there is a treasure at the rainbow,” the organisation wrote on Thursday, alongside a trio of photos capturing a double rainbow stretched across Uluru.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @seeuluru / Instagram</span></em></p>

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Can selective breeding of ‘super kelp’ save our cold water reefs from hotter seas?

<p>Australia’s vital kelp forests are disappearing in many areas as our waters warm and our climate changes.</p> <p>While we wait for rapid action to slash carbon emissions – including the United Nations climate talks now underway in Glasgow – we urgently need to buy time for these vital ecosystems.</p> <p>How? By ‘future-proofing’ our kelp forests to be more resilient and adaptable to changing ocean conditions. Our recent trials have shown selectively bred kelp with higher heat tolerance can be successfully replanted and used in restoration.</p> <p>This matters because these large seaweed species are the foundation of Australia’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-other-reef-is-worth-more-than-10-billion-a-year-but-have-you-heard-of-it-45600">Great Southern Reef</a>, a vast but little-known <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-19/great-southern-reef-needs-more-attention-scientists-say/12227998">temperate reef system</a> and a global hotspot of biodiversity.</p> <p>The reef’s kelp forests run along 8000 km of Australia’s southern coastline, from Geraldton in Western Australia to the Queensland border with New South Wales. These underwater forests support coastal food-webs and fisheries. Think of the famous mass-spawning of Australian Giant Cuttlefish off Whyalla, the rock lobster and abalone fisheries, or our iconic weedy and leafy seadragons.</p> <p>Unfortunately, these seas are hotspots in the literal sense, with the nation’s southeast and southwest waters <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11160-013-9326-6">warming several times faster than the global average </a>and suffering from some of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-do-marine-heatwaves-cost-the-economic-losses-amount-to-billions-and-billions-of-dollars-170008">worst marine heatwaves recorded</a>.</p> <p>These increasing temperatures and other climate change impacts are devastating our kelp, including shrinking forests and permanent losses of golden kelp (<em>Ecklonia radiata</em>) on the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-22/tropical-fish-sea-urchins/100396162">east</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-marine-heatwave-has-wiped-out-a-swathe-of-was-undersea-kelp-forest-62042">west coasts</a>, and <a href="https://www.imas.utas.edu.au/news/news-items/satellite-images-track-decline-of-tasmanias-giant-kelp-forests">staggering declines</a> of the now-endangered giant kelp (<em>Macrocystis pyrifera</em>) forests in Tasmania.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429669/original/file-20211102-27-9dqafn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429669/original/file-20211102-27-9dqafn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Golden kelp forest" /></a> <span class="caption"></span>We need novel measures to buy time for climate action</p> <p>Australian researchers are leading the way to try to find ways of future-proofing our critical ocean ecosystems, such as kelp forests and <a href="https://theconversation.com/meet-the-super-corals-that-can-handle-acid-heat-and-suffocation-122637">coral reefs</a>. In part, that’s because climate change is hitting our ecosystems early and hard.</p> <p>Climate change is moving much faster than kelp species can adapt. In turn, that threatens all the species that rely on these forests, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3810891/">including us</a>.</p> <p>If climate change wasn’t happening, we could try to halt or reverse the losses of kelp forests by using traditional restoration methods. But in a world getting hotter and hotter, that is futile in many cases. Even if we slash carbon emissions soon, decades more warming are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/climate/climate-change-report-ipcc-un.html">already locked in</a>.</p> <p>If we want to keep these forests of the sea alive, we must now consider cutting-edge methods to help kelp survive current and future ocean conditions while governments pursue the urgent goal of reducing emissions.</p> <h2>How to future proof an underwater forest</h2> <p>Together and separately, we’ve been exploring techniques to speed up the natural rate of evolution to boost kelp resilience. Along with other researchers, we’ve put several techniques to the test in the real world, with promising results. Others remain hypothetical.</p> <p>At present, there are <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00237/full">several broad approaches</a> to future-proofing restoration work. These include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Genetic rescue</strong> focuses on enhancing the genetic diversity of genetically compromised populations to boost their potential to adapt to future conditions. This involves planting and restoring a mix of kelp from <a href="https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2664.13707">disconnected populations</a> of the same species. Improved genetic diversity can boost the ability of these forests to respond to change. We expect this approach to be especially useful in areas where climate change poses a limited threat at present.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Assisted gene flow</strong> strategies introduce naturally adapted or tolerant kelp individuals into threatened populations to increase their ability to survive specific threats, like hotter seas. This could help kelp forests in areas affected by climate change now or in the near future. In these situations, the genetic rescue technique could be counterproductive if the new genetic diversity introduced isn’t able to cope with the heat.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Selective breeding</strong> is a well-known agricultural technique, and can be used to identify the best kelp to use in these cases. In short, we try to identify kelp with naturally higher tolerance, and then use these as the basis for restoration efforts. These can be transplanted into ailing kelp forests. <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-13/kelp-forests-off-tasmania-regrowing-a-year-since-project-began/100532756">Trials are presently underway</a> in Tasmania using giant kelp. Early results are exciting, with the largest ‘super kelp’ growing over 12 metres high a year after being planted.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In the future, we may have to explore more cutting-edge strategies to deal with the changing conditions. These include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Genetic manipulation.</strong> This technique extends what is possible with selective breeding by directly manipulating genes to enhance the traits or characteristics that might further boost kelp’s ability to thrive in hotter waters.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Assisted expansion</strong> is when species with little chance of survival are relocated to better but novel locations, assuming these exist. This technique could also see new species of kelp being planted to replace existing species, guided by the need to protect the forest ecosystem as a whole, rather than save specific species.</p> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429674/original/file-20211102-13-1o4uuod.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429674/original/file-20211102-13-1o4uuod.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Scientist experimenting on kelp" /></a></p> <h2>Are these approaches ethical?</h2> <p>Each of these techniques – tested or untested – pose challenging ethical questions. That’s because we are not undertaking traditional conservation, where we work to restore a historic kelp ecosystem. Instead, we are modifying these ecosystems in the hope they can better cope with conditions at the extremes of their current survival limits.</p> <p>That means we must move carefully, weighing potential downsides like genetic pollution and maladaptation (accidental poor adaptation to other stressors) against the probability of further kelp forest destruction from doing nothing.</p> <p>Such future-proofing interventions could be well suited to areas already hit hard by severe kelp forest losses, those that will be threatened in the near future, or where kelp losses would be particularly damaging environmentally, socially, or economically.</p> <p>What is certain is that communities that live and rely on our southern coasts must now talk about what they value from kelp forests, and how they want them to look and function into the future.</p> <p>Our view is that traditional approaches focused on recreating previous ecosystems are likely to be increasingly challenging, given the rate and scale of ongoing disruption in our oceans.</p> <p>It is crucial that we do not restore nostalgically for ocean conditions which are quickly changing, but instead, work to ensure the long-term survival of these spectacular underwater forests while we wait for rapid action to reduce carbon emissions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170271/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cayne-layton-104355">Cayne Layton</a>, Postdoctoral fellow and lecturer, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melinda-coleman-1285592">Melinda Coleman</a>, Principal Research Scientist</span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-selective-breeding-of-super-kelp-save-our-cold-water-reefs-from-hotter-seas-170271">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies</em></p>

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Drying land and heating seas: why nature in Australia’s southwest is on the climate frontline

<p>In a few days world leaders will descend on Glasgow for the United Nations climate change talks. Much depends on it. We know climate change is already happening, and nowhere is the damage more stark than in Australia’s southwest.</p> <p>The southwest of Western Australia has been <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/factsheets/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Regional_Fact_Sheet_Australasia.pdf">identified</a> as a global drying hotspot. Since 1970, winter rainfall has declined up to 20%, river flows have plummeted and heatwaves spanning water and land have intensified.</p> <p>The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-has-already-hit-australia-unless-we-act-now-a-hotter-drier-and-more-dangerous-future-awaits-ipcc-warns-165396">warns</a> this will continue as emissions rise and the climate warms.</p> <p>Discussion of Australian ecosystems vulnerable to climate change often focuses on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as our rainforests and alpine regions. But for southwest Western Australia, climate change is also an existential threat.</p> <p>The region’s wildlife and plants are so distinctive and important, it was listed as Australia’s first <a href="https://www.cepf.net/our-work/biodiversity-hotspots">global biodiversity hotspot</a>. Species include thousands of endemic plant species and animals such as the quokka, numbat and honey possum. Most freshwater species and around 80% of marine species, including 24 shark species, live nowhere else on Earth.</p> <p>They <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-south-west-a-hotspot-for-wildlife-and-plants-that-deserves-world-heritage-status-54885">evolved in isolation</a> over millions of years, walled off from the rest of Australia by desert. But climate heating means this remarkable biological richness is now imperilled – a threat that will only increase unless the world takes action.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428719/original/file-20211027-17-1xrecip.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Banksia in flower" /> <span class="caption">Hooker’s Banksia is an iconic West Australian species.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Dr Joe Fontaine</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <h2>Hotter and drier</h2> <p>Southwest WA runs roughly from Kalbarri to Esperance, and is known for its Mediterranean climate with very hot and dry summers and most rainfall in winter.</p> <p>But every decade since the 1970s, the region’s summertime maximum temperatures have risen 0.1-0.3℃, and winter rainfall has fallen 10-20 millimetres.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428742/original/file-20211027-25-1jl7l8r.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Decadal trends in winter precipitation. Australian Bureau of Meteorology.</span></p> <p>And remarkably, a 1℃ increase in the average global temperature over the last century has already <a href="https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.17348">more than doubled</a> the days over 40℃ in Perth.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428994/original/file-20211028-21-ibw728.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428994/original/file-20211028-21-ibw728.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Graph showing temperatures over 40 degrees at Perth Airport" /></a> <br /><span class="caption">Cumulative number of days over 40° at Perth Airport over 30-year periods between 1910-1939 (historic) and 1989-2018 (current).</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>This trend is set to continue. Almost all climate models <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019EF001469">project a further</a> drop in winter rainfall of up to 30% across most of the southwest by 2100, under a high emissions scenario.</p> <p>The southwest already has very hot days in summer, thanks to heat brought from the desert’s easterly winds. As climate change worsens, these winds are <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-016-3169-5">projected to get more intense</a>, bringing still more heat.</p> <h2>Drying threatens wildlife, wine and wheat</h2> <p>Annual rainfall in the southwest has fallen by a fifth since 1970. That might not sound dangerous, but the drop means river flows have already fallen by an alarming 70%.</p> <p>It means many rivers and lakes now dry out through summer and autumn, causing major problems for freshwater biodiversity. For example, the number of invertebrate species in 17 lakes in WA’s wheatbelt fell from over 300 to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15890">just over 100</a> between 1998 and 2011.</p> <p>The loss of water has even killed off common river invertebrates, such as the endemic Western Darner dragonfly, with most now <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15673">found only</a> in the last few streams that flow year round. The drying also makes it very hard for animals and birds to find water.</p> <p>Most native freshwater fish in the southwest are <a href="https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-animals">now officially considered</a> “threatened”. As river flow falls to a trickle, fish can no longer <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12444">migrate to spawn</a>, and it’s only a short march from there to extinction. To protect remaining freshwater species we must <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.02.007">develop perennial water refuges</a> in places such as farm dams.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428721/original/file-20211027-27-1mvytaa.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428721/original/file-20211027-27-1mvytaa.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Freshwater crayfish - marron - moving through fresh water" /></a> <br /><span class="caption">Smooth Marron moving as a group in a reservoir.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Dr Stephen Beatty</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>The story on land is also alarming, with intensifying heatwaves and chronic drought. This was particularly dire in 2010/2011, when <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-31236-5">all ecosystems in the southwest</a> suffered from a deadly drought and heatwave combination.</p> <p>What does that look like on the ground? Think beetle swarms taking advantage of forest dieback, a sudden die off of endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos, and the deaths of one in five shrubs and trees. Long term, the flowering rates of banksias have declined <a href="https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1890/140231">by 50%</a>, which threatens their survival as well as the honey industry.</p> <p>For agriculture, the picture is mixed. Aided by innovation and better varieties, wheat yields in the southwest have actually increased since the 1970s, despite the drop in rainfall.</p> <p>But how long can farmers stay ahead of the drying? If global emissions aren’t drastically reduced, droughts in the region <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1029/2020GL087820">will keep getting worse</a>.</p> <p>Increased heating and drying will also likely threaten Margaret River’s famed wine region, although the state’s northern wine regions will be <a href="https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/apme/56/7/jamc-d-16-0333.1.xml">the first at risk</a>.</p> <h2>Hotter seas, destructive marine heatwaves</h2> <p>The seas around the southwest are another climate change hotspot, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11160-013-9326-6">warming faster than 90%</a> of the global ocean since the middle of last century. Ocean temperatures off Perth <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/mf/MF07082">have risen by an average</a> of 0.1-0.3℃ per decade, and are now almost 1℃ warmer than 40 years ago.</p> <p>The waters off the southwest are part of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-other-reef-is-worth-more-than-10-billion-a-year-but-have-you-heard-of-it-45600">Great Southern Reef</a>, a temperate marine biodiversity hotspot. Many species of seaweeds, seagrasses, invertebrates, reef fish, seabirds and mammals live nowhere else on the planet.</p> <p>As the waters warm, species move south. Warm-water species move in and cool-water species flee to escape the heat. Once cool-water species reach the southern coast, there’s nowhere colder to go. They can’t survive in the deep sea, and are at risk of going extinct.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428961/original/file-20211028-27-1yipdxz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Marine heatwave map" /> <br /><span class="caption">Temperature anomalies over land and ocean in March 2011.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Scientific Reports</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Marine heatwaves are now striking alongside this long-term warming trend. In 2011, a combination of weak winds, water absorbing the local heat from the air, and an unusually strong flow of the warm Leeuwin Current led to the infamous marine heatwave known as <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep01277">Ningaloo Nino</a>.</p> <p>Over eight weeks, ocean temperatures soared by more than 5℃ above the long-term maximum. Coral bleached in the state’s north, fish died en masse, <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-do-marine-heatwaves-cost-the-economic-losses-amount-to-billions-and-billions-of-dollars-170008">34% of seagrass died</a> in Shark Bay, and kelp forests along 100km of WA’s coast were wiped out.</p> <p>Following the heatwave came sudden distribution changes for species like sharks, turtles and many reef fish. Little penguins starved to death because their usual food sources were no longer there.</p> <p>Recreational and commercial fisheries were forced to close to protect ailing stocks. Some of these fisheries have not recovered 10 years later, while others are only now reopening.</p> <p>This is just the start. <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2019.00734/full">Projections suggest</a> the southwest could be in a permanent state of marine heatwave within 20-40 years, compared to the second half of the 20th century.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428980/original/file-20211028-17-1o7ypsp.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/428980/original/file-20211028-17-1o7ypsp.PNG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Comparative pictures of a kelp forest before and after a heatwave" /></a> <span class="caption">Reef in Kalbarri before (left) and after (right) the 2011 Ningaloo Nino. Dense kelp covered reefs before the heatwave. Afterwards, kelp died and the reefs were covered by sediment and turf algae.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-71330-0_12#DOI" class="source">Professor Thomas Wernberg</a>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <h2>Adaptation has limits</h2> <p>Nature in the southwest cannot adapt to these rapid changes. The only way to stem the damage to nature and humans is to stop greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>Australia must take responsibility for its emissions and show ambition beyond the weak promise of net-zero by 2050, and commit to real 2030 targets consistent with the Paris climate treaty.</p> <p>Otherwise, we will witness the collapse of one of Australia’s biological treasures in real time.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170377/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jatin-kala-1283114">Jatin Kala</a>, Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA felllow, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/belinda-robson-1283377">Belinda Robson</a>, Associate Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joe-fontaine-136827">Joe Fontaine</a>, Lecturer, Environmental and Conservation Science, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-beatty-1144778">Stephen Beatty</a>, Research Leader (Catchments to Coast), Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems, Harry Butler Institute, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/thomas-wernberg-116019">Thomas Wernberg</a>, Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/drying-land-and-heating-seas-why-nature-in-australias-southwest-is-on-the-climate-frontline-170377">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Author provided</em></p>

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How the new human right to a healthy environment could accelerate New Zealand’s action on climate change

<p>Last week’s formal recognition by the United Nations Human Rights Council that the <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102582">right to a healthy environment</a> is an essential human right has been heralded as a historic victory for environmental protection and an important step forward for the world’s most vulnerable people.</p> <p>It’s also significant for coming on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow next month, billed as the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/22/boris-johnson-to-tell-un-that-cop26-must-be-turning-point-for-humanity">last best chance</a> to pledge emissions reductions large enough to head off the worst consequences of global heating and associated ecological harm.</p> <p>On the other hand, UN recognition doesn’t make the right to a healthy environment legally binding. No New Zealander can now claim a remedy from the courts because our environment doesn’t meet the standard of being clean, healthy and sustainable.</p> <p>So, what does a human right to a healthy environment really mean? Is it largely rhetorical, or will its adoption have tangible consequences both internationally and in Aotearoa New Zealand?</p> <h2>Better global standards</h2> <p>Despite its limitations, this new human right is certainly not useless. It’s the first time a right to a healthy environment has been explicitly recognised at the global level.</p> <p>The right <a href="http://www.srenvironment.org/sites/default/files/Reports/2018/Boyd%20Knox%20UNGA%20report%202018.pdf">obliges states</a> to protect against environmental harm, to provide equal access to environmental benefits and to ensure a minimum standard of environmental quality for everyone to enjoy.</p> <p>Arguably, this paves the way for better global standards, bolder climate litigation, and even for more equitable sharing of the burdens and benefits of climate change.</p> <p>It also creates a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change, focused on tackling the effects of climate change on people’s enjoyment of their human rights.</p> <p>And it’s likely other global and regional bodies, including the UN General Assembly and the Council of Europe, will soon acknowledge the right to a healthy environment.</p> <p>Developments like this would make the right more credible and more visible, transforming it into an effective tool for challenging states and corporations to do more on environmental protection.</p> <h2>Enshrining the right in law</h2> <p>Overall, the right to a healthy environment reflects a new urgency to push environmental issues back up the international agenda. For example, plans to adopt a “<a href="https://www.iucn.org/commissions/world-commission-environmental-law/resources/wcel-important-documentation/global-pact-environment">Global Pact for the Environment</a>” next year are gaining momentum.</p> <p>Proponents are describing the pact as the most comprehensive international text ever on environmental rights, essential for protecting everyone and everything from the “<a href="https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sgsm20422.doc.htm">triple planetary emergency</a>” of climate change, pollution and nature loss.</p> <p>Already, in places where a right to a healthy environment is part of domestic law, court decisions are resulting in stronger climate action.</p> <p>The Colombian Supreme Court, for example, <a href="http://climatecasechart.com/climate-change-litigation/non-us-case/future-generation-v-ministry-environment-others/">recently decided</a> that deforestation of the Amazon violated a right to a healthy environment for present and future generations, and required the government to put protections in place.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Nepalese Supreme Court has held that the government <a href="http://climatecasechart.com/climate-change-litigation/non-us-case/shrestha-v-office-of-the-prime-minister-et-al/">must take action</a> on climate change as part of its citizens’ constitutional right to a clean environment.</p> <p>From these and many more national examples, we can be confident that recognising a right to a healthy environment will help improve the <a href="http://www.srenvironment.org/sites/default/files/Reports/2018/Boyd%20Knox%20UNGA%20report%202018.pdf">implementation of environmental laws</a>, help fill gaps in legislation and support respect for human rights generally.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/427110/original/file-20211018-165556-11t4yrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></p> <h2>Implications for New Zealand</h2> <p>New Zealand’s courts and policymakers look to international human rights for <a href="https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/constitutional-issues-and-human-rights/human-rights/international-human-rights/">guidance and standards</a>. As recognition of the right to a healthy environment grows internationally, we can expect to see greater reliance on it here.</p> <p>But there is one specific area where I anticipate this right may provide a new approach: climate-change mitigation.</p> <p>When it comes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and New Zealand, the elephant in the room – or the cow in the field – is the dairy industry. Between 1990 and 2018 New Zealand’s GHG emissions <a href="https://environment.govt.nz/assets/Publications/Files/new-zealands-greenhouse-gas-inventory-1990-2018-vol-1.pdf">rose by 24%</a>. The increase was driven largely by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/16/the-fight-against-climate-change-goes-beyond-reducing-co2-emissions">methane</a> from livestock and <a href="https://theconversation.com/nitrous-oxide-a-powerful-greenhouse-gas-is-on-the-rise-from-ocean-dead-zones-162812">nitrous oxide</a> from fertilisers.</p> <p>Both of these GHGs are many times more potent than carbon dioxide. Continuing to operate with this level of GHG emissions will make it extremely difficult for New Zealand to do its fair share of <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/new-zealand/">climate change mitigation</a> or meet its <a href="https://haveyoursay.climatecommission.govt.nz/comms-and-engagement/future-climate-action-for-aotearoa/supporting_documents/CCCADVICETOGOVT31JAN2021pdf.pdf">international climate change obligations</a>.</p> <h2>Protecting people and nature</h2> <p>The right to a healthy environment, then, could become a new lever for achieving big changes in a small window of time.</p> <p>A rights-based approach to the environment will encourage a conversation around what a healthy environment means and who should enjoy it. It may even provide a fresh vocabulary for discussing broader issues, such as land use, transport and power.</p> <p>As we battle COVID-19 at home, it’s tempting to take our eye off the grave environmental challenges ahead. To do that would be a mistake.</p> <p>The full potential of a human right to a healthy environment remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that a healthy environment is essential for human health and well-being – and that protecting people and protecting nature are always interconnected.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170187/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-cooper-749971">Nathan Cooper</a>, Associate Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-new-human-right-to-a-healthy-environment-could-accelerate-new-zealands-action-on-climate-change-170187">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Marine heatwaves during winter could have dire impacts on New Zealand fisheries and herald more summer storms

<p>The ocean around New Zealand is getting warmer, and extreme warming events have become more frequent over the past years.</p> <p>These marine heatwaves can have devastating impacts on ocean ecosystems. When they happen in summer, they usually receive a lot of attention. But those happening during winter, when the ocean is cooler, are often ignored.</p> <p>Yet, these winter events can affect the spawning and recruitment of fish and other sea animals, and in turn have significant impacts on aquaculture and fisheries.</p> <p>To monitor the occurrence of such extreme events around New Zealand, we developed a <a href="https://www.moanaproject.org/marine-heatwave-forecast">marine heatwave forecast tool</a> as part of the <a href="https://www.moanaproject.org/">Moana Project</a>. The tool has been operational since January 2021 and it forecasts marine heatwave occurrence, intensity and duration for 13 areas defined in collaboration with the seafood industry.</p> <p>It revealed that most coastal areas around New Zealand were warmer than normal during this last winter (June to August 2021), as highlighted in the map showing the difference between winter 2021 average sea surface temperatures and the climatology (daily mean values based on data from 25 years).</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/423715/original/file-20210929-18-37hxt5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Map of ocean warming around New Zealand." /> <span class="caption">Temperature anomaly in relation to 25 years of climate data. The boxes show the regions where detailed analysis and detection of marine heatwaves is carried out.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <h2>A warm winter for New Zealand’s waters</h2> <p>Marine heatwaves are defined as periods of five days or more of ocean temperatures in the top 10% of local average values for the time of year.</p> <p>During winter 2021, surface waters were on average 0.3℃ (±0.75) warmer than usual, with peaks occasionally reaching +4.2℃. In contrast, in a few areas, such as the Pegasus and Kaikoura canyons to the north-east of Banks Peninsula, we observed cooler than normal temperatures.</p> <p>Except for the Banks Peninsula and the FMA3 box to the east of the South Island, all other 11 areas experienced marine heatwaves during the winter.</p> <p>The events varied in intensity and duration. While Cape Reinga showed a continuous moderate event, Stewart Island experienced a severe winter marine heatwave that lasted 87 days, with maximum temperatures reaching 1.9℃ above long-term climate data.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/423952/original/file-20210929-65532-1d407vf.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="This graph depicts ocean temperature anomalies around Stewart Island." /> <span class="caption">Sea surface temperatures for Stewart Island. The blue line shows the daily mean temperatures and the green line the 10% highest temperatures, calculated from a period of 25 years. The shaded red area indicates a marine heatwave.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Both areas are particularly important since they are located at the northern and southern extremities, respectively, of the main currents that hug the eastern coastline of New Zealand. The warm waters in these regions move downstream (southward from Cape Reinga, and north-eastward from Stewart Island) and warm most of New Zealand’s eastern coast.</p> <p>We can expect serious economic impacts from such warming. Recent events in western Canada <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/07/08/canada-sea-creatures-boiling-to-death/">highlight</a> the devastating impact summer marine heatwaves can have on coastal marine ecosystems and aquaculture.</p> <p>In New Zealand, Fisheries Management Area 7 (FMA7) in the map matches hoki spawning grounds and is, therefore, of critical importance to deep-water fisheries. The hoki fishery is worth about NZ$230 million in export revenue. In 2017, the fishery’s catch shortfall was about 8,500 tonnes, which constitutes a loss to the New Zealand economy of some NZ$13 million.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/423953/original/file-20210929-64991-1q3ju2n.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="This graph shows the ocean temperature anomalies in an area where hoki spawn." /> <span class="caption">Sea surface temperatures for the fisheries management area where hoki spawn. The red areas show the occurrence of marine heatwaves this past winter.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>While the reasons for this are not yet fully understood, the <a href="https://deepwatergroup.org/">Deepwater Group</a>, which represent quota owners from New Zealand’s deep-water fisheries, suspects warmer-than-usual temperatures resulted in fewer hoki arriving at the winter spawning grounds off the west coast of the South Island.</p> <p>A greater focus on winter marine heatwaves will help us understand how fisheries and aquaculture in New Zealand may be affected and what we can do to minimise economic, societal and biodiversity losses.</p> <h2>Changes across the southwest Pacific affect New Zealand</h2> <p>We know ocean temperatures are warming faster during winter than summer <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14944-2">around New Zealand</a> and across the wider <a href="https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/aop/JCLI-D-20-0886.1/JCLI-D-20-0886.1.xml">subtropical southwest Pacific Ocean</a>. The warming has become particularly evident since 2010 and has manifested in the emergence of the “Southern Blob”.</p> <p>This ocean hotspot is centred northeast of New Zealand and has been linked to <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/southern-blob-of-unusual-pacific-heat-blamed-for-creating-megadrought-20210826-p58m7p.html">drought</a> in both <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/27/how-a-hot-blob-off-new-zealand-is-contributing-to-drought-in-south-america">South America</a> and New Zealand.</p> <p>The current rate of warming in the Southern Blob <a href="https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/aop/JCLI-D-20-0886.1/JCLI-D-20-0886.1.xml">exceeds natural variability</a>, implying a contribution from human-induced climate change. Along with changes in the regional atmosphere, this large-scale process increases the likelihood of winter marine heatwaves around New Zealand.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021GL094785">research</a> shows the deepest and longest-lasting marine heatwaves in the Tasman Sea are typically driven by ocean currents — in contrast to shallower summer marine heatwaves, which are driven by the atmosphere.</p> <p>The warmer-than-normal winter ocean temperatures in the Tasman and coastal seas around New Zealand send warning signals about what the summer may bring. On top of impacts on coastal ecosystems, marine heatwaves also affect extreme weather and make floods and tropical storms over New Zealand more likely during the coming summer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/167967/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joao-marcos-azevedo-correia-de-souza-1270882">João Marcos Azevedo Correia de Souza</a>, MetOcean Solutions Science Manager of the Research and Development Team. Moana Project Science Lead, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/metservice-te-ratonga-tirorangi-5124">MetService — Te Ratonga Tirorangi</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amandine-schaeffer-1271998">Amandine Schaeffer</a>, , <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-gardner-1271684">Jonathan Gardner</a>, , <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/te-herenga-waka-victoria-university-of-wellington-1200">Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robert-smith-1271656">Robert Smith</a>, </span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-heatwaves-during-winter-could-have-dire-impacts-on-new-zealand-fisheries-and-herald-more-summer-storms-167967">original article</a>.</p>

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Putting Aotearoa on the map: New Zealand has changed its name before, why not again?

<p>Our names are a critical part of our identity. They are a personal and social anchor tying us to our families, our culture, our history and place in the world.</p> <p>For Māori, a name is intrinsic to, and linked by, our whakapapa (genealogy), often reflecting the elements observed, such as a river (awa), at the time of birth before entering Te Ao Mārama, the world of life and light.</p> <p>In law, names matter too. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Aotearoa New Zealand accepted in 1993, states that every child has the <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx">right to a name</a>. The law governs the <a href="https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1995/0016/latest/DLM364128.html">naming</a> of individuals as well as the changing of names.</p> <p>But no such laws exist for countries. Nations can and do change their own names (such as when they gain independence), or have them changed by others (such as after a war). What worked for an earlier generation may not for later ones, as national values and identities evolve.</p> <p>This is the challenge presented in a <a href="https://www.teaomaori.news/nz-aotearoa-petition-gains-momentum-signatures-top-25000">petition</a> organised by Te Pāti Māori (Māori Party). As well as calling for Aotearoa to become the country’s official name, the party also wants to restore all original Māori place names by 2026.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/424600/original/file-20211004-20-1b2dd75.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Maori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer" /> <span class="caption">What’s in a name? Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">GettyImages</span></span></p> <h2>Names can change</h2> <p>As these and other lands were colonised, so too were their original place names, with the colonisers seeking to assert their authority and versions of history.</p> <p>Power, the politics of language and the naming of places are all closely related. As the old saying goes, “the namer of names is the father of all things”.</p> <p>Many European explorers preferred to name what they “discovered” after something they were familiar with. New York was named by the British after they defeated the Dutch, who had named their settlement New Amsterdam, part of the region they called New Netherland.</p> <p>Before the arrival of the Dutch and British, the wider area was called manaháhtaan, from the Indigenous <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-native-new-yorkers-can-never-truly-reclaim-their-homeland-180970472/">Munsee</a> language of the <a href="https://thelenapecenter.com/">Lenape people</a>, which lives on in the name Manhattan.</p> <p>Closer to home, the Dutch name New Holland was slowly phased out in the early 19th century by the colonial authorities in favour of Australia, from the Latin “Terra Australis” (Southern Land), a reference to the mythical great unknown southern land “terra australis incognita”.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/424603/original/file-20211004-18-gpc8qg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Aerial view of lower Manhattan" /></p> <h2>A short history of Nieuw Zeeland</h2> <p>Over the years there have been various <a href="https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_78333/petition-of-danny-tahau-jobe-referendum-to-include-aotearoa">petitions</a> and attempts to change the name of New Zealand, including in 1895 a call to <a href="https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.32106019787966&amp;view=page&amp;format=plaintext&amp;seq=147&amp;skin=2021&amp;q1=Maoriland">officially adopt</a> “Māoriland”, already a common unofficial name for the country.</p> <p>When Abel Tasman sighted these well-populated shores in 1642, he called the place <a href="https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/lals/centres-and-institutes/dictionary-centre/newsletter/documents/NZWords-no4.pdf">Staten Land</a> in the belief it was somehow connected to an Isla de los Estados (Staten Island) in what is now modern Argentina.</p> <p>Later, however, a Dutch East India Company cartographer conferred the name <a href="https://teara.govt.nz/en/european-discovery-of-new-zealand/page-3">Nieuw Zeeland</a> (or Nova Zeelandia in Latin).</p> <p>“Zee” in Dutch translates as “sea”, and its English <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2009/10/watered-down-etymologies/">etymology</a> is complicated. It seems to be of Gothic origin, emerging from Germany, and was adopted into the languages of Northern Europe where, for example, Sjælland (sea-land) described a place closely connected to the sea.</p> <h2>Māori on the first map</h2> <p>Our country was not named directly after the link between land and sea, but rather after the Dutch place that already had this name — specifically, Zeeland in the south-west of the Netherlands. Forts in modern-day Taiwan and Guyana were also called Zeelandia by early Dutch explorers.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/424605/original/file-20211004-17-gn8n0g.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="portrait of James Cook" /> </p> <p>When James Cook arrived in 1769, Nieuw Zeeland was anglicised to New Zealand, as can be seen in his famous 1770 map. Cook renamed Te Moana-o-Raukawa as Cook Strait, and imposed dozens more <a href="https://www.bl.uk/the-voyages-of-captain-james-cook/articles/renaming-aotearoa-new-zealand">English place names</a>.</p> <p>He did, however, attempt to retain Māori names for both main islands: his map records “Eaheinomauwe” (possibly He-mea-hī-nō-Māui, or the things Māui fished up) for the North Island and “T Avai Poonamoo” (Te Wai Pounamu, or greenstone waters) for the South Island.</p> <p>The first reference in legislation to “New Zealand” was in the Murders Abroad Act of 1817, passed by parliament in England in response to increasing lawlessness in the South Pacific – including the maltreatment of Indigenous sailors aboard European ships.</p> <p>Paradoxically, perhaps, the act demonstrated a British view that New Zealand was not truly part of the British realm.</p> <h2>Nu Tirene appears</h2> <p>By 1835, a number of iwi (tribes) engaged in international trade and politics were using the name “Nu Tireni” to describe New Zealand in their correspondence with Britain.</p> <p>Nu Tirene then appeared in the 1835 Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and then Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.legalmaori.net/corpus">Māori Legal Corpus</a>, a digitised collection of thousands of pages of legal texts in te reo Māori spanning 1829 to 2009, contains around 4,800 references to Nu Tirene, Niu Tirani and Niu Tirene.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.nzlii.org/nz/legis/hist_act/timomla19871987n176415/">translation</a> into te reo Māori of the Maori Language Act 1987 refers to Niu Tireni, as does the Māori Language Act <a href="http://www.nzlii.org/nz/legis/hist_act/timomla19871987n176415/">2016</a>.</p> <h2>Locating Aotearoa</h2> <p>The precise origin of the composite term “Aotearoa” is not known. But if we translate “Ao” as world, “tea” as bright or white, and “roa” as long, we have the common translation of “long bright world” or “long white cloud”.</p> <p>Sir George Grey used Aotearoa in his 1855 Polynesian Mythology, and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race, and in his 1857 Māori proverbs work, Ko nga whakapepeha me nga whakaahuareka a nga tipuna o Aotea-roa.</p> <p>The Māori Legal Corpus mentions Aotearoa 2,748 times, with one of the earliest written references being Wiremu Tamehana’s hui invitation to other chiefs in October 1862.</p> <p>The popularity of Aotearoa can be gauged from William Pember Reeves’ 1898 history of New Zealand: The Long White Cloud Ao Tea Roa.</p> <p>Today, government departments commonly use Aotearoa, and it appears on the national currency. One of the commonest expressions of personal and national identity is the “Uruwhenua Aotearoa New Zealand” passport.</p> <h2>Time for change?</h2> <p>Whether enough New Zealanders want a formal change isn’t clear. A <a href="https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/1news-poll-reveals-kiwis-think-changing-nzs-name-aotearoa">recent poll</a> showed a majority wanting to retain New Zealand, but a significant number interested in a combined Aotearoa New Zealand.</p> <p>Nor is there consensus on Aotearoa being the best alternative, with some debate about whether the name originally referred <a href="https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/ngai-tahu-leader-let%E2%80%99s-not-rush-name-change">only to the North Island</a> and Aotearoa me Te Waipounamu being used in the south.</p> <p>At the same time, there is a growing awareness of te reo Māori (as an official language, including among Pākehā) and understanding of our national names and their significance. This allows us to better understand where we have come from and where we want to go.</p> <p>By also acknowledging Māori names, we give substance to our distinctness as a nation. In time, perhaps, it will lead to us embracing a name that better reflects our history, our place in the world and our shared future.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/168651/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-breen-803990">Claire Breen</a>, Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alexander-gillespie-721706">Alexander Gillespie</a>, Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robert-joseph-1274506">Robert Joseph</a>, Associate Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/valmaine-toki-1179555">Valmaine Toki</a>, Professor of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-waikato-781">University of Waikato</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/putting-aotearoa-on-the-map-new-zealand-has-changed-its-name-before-why-not-again-168651">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Indigenous knowledge and the persistence of the ‘wilderness’ myth

<div class="copy"> <p>According to the Oxford English dictionary, wilderness is defined as:</p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote is-style-large"> <p>A wild or uncultivated region or tract of land, uninhabited, or inhabited only by wild animals; “a tract of solitude and savageness”.</p> </blockquote> <p>Aboriginal people in Australia view wilderness, or what is called “wild country”, as sick land that’s been neglected and not cared for. This is the opposite of the romantic understanding of wilderness as pristine and healthy – a view which underpins much non-Indigenous conservation effort.</p> <p>In a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.pnas.org/content/118/40/e2022218118" target="_blank">recent paper</a> for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, we demonstrate how many iconic “wilderness” landscapes – such as the Amazon, forests of Southeast Asia and the western deserts of Australia, are actually the product of long-term management and maintenance by Indigenous and local peoples.</p> <p>But this fact is often overlooked – a problem which lies at the heart of many of the world’s pressing environmental problems. Indigenous and local people are now excluded from many areas deemed “wilderness”, leading to the neglect or erasure of these lands.</p> <h2>The Anthropocene and Indigenous people</h2> <p>“Anthropocene” is the term scientists use to refer to the time period we live in today, marked by the significant and widespread impact of people on Earth’s systems. Recognition of this impact has sparked efforts to preserve and conserve what are believed to be “intact” and “natural” ecosystems.</p> <p>Yet, the Anthropocene concept has a problem: it is based on a European way of viewing the world. This worldview is blind to the ways Indigenous and local peoples modify and manage landscapes. It is based on the idea that all human activity in these conservation landscapes is negative.</p> <p>The truth is, most of Earth’s ecosystems have been influenced and shaped by Indigenous peoples <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.pnas.org/content/118/17/e2023483118" target="_blank">for many thousands of years</a>.</p> <p>The failure of European-based “western” land management and conservation efforts to acknowledge the role of Indigenous and local peoples is reflected in recent scientific attempts to <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07183-6" target="_blank">define “wilderness”</a>. These attempts lay out a strict and narrow set of rules around what “human impact” is, and in so doing, act as gatekeepers for what it is to be human.</p> <p>The result is a scientific justification for conservation approaches that exclude all human involvement under the pretence of “wilderness protection”. The disregard for the deep human legacy in landscape preservation results in inappropriate management approaches.</p> <p>For example, fire suppression in landscapes that require burning can have catastrophic impacts, such as <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.pnas.org/content/112/15/4531" target="_blank">biodiversity loss</a> and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.mdpi.com/2571-6255/4/3/61" target="_blank">catastrophic bushfires</a>.</p> <h2>Our case studies</h2> <p>In the Amazon, forest management by Indigenous and local peoples has promoted biodiversity and maintained forest structure for thousands of years. Areas of the Amazon considered “wilderness” contain domestic plant species, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta" target="_blank">anthropogenic soils</a> and significant earthworks (such as terraces and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.pnas.org/content/114/8/1868" target="_blank">geoglyphs</a>), revealing a deep human legacy in the Amazon landscape.</p> <p>Despite playing a key role in maintaining a healthy and diverse Amazon forest system, Indigenous and local peoples struggle constantly against wilderness-inspired conservation agendas that seek to deny them access to their homelands and livelihoods in the forest.</p> <p>Similarly, the forests of Southeast Asia and the Pacific are some of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. These forests have been managed for thousands of years using rotational agriculture based on small-scale forest clearing, burning and fallowing. Scientific attempts to define the last remaining “wild places” falsely map these areas as wilderness.</p> <p>Rather than being wild places, agriculture has actively promoted landscape biodiversity across the region, while supporting the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Indigenous and local peoples.</p> <p>In the central deserts of Australia, areas mapped today as “wilderness” are the ancestral homes of many Aboriginal peoples who have actively managed the land for tens of thousands of years.</p> <p>Removal of Traditional Owners in the 1960s had catastrophic effects on both the people and the land, such as uncontrolled wildfires and biodiversity loss. Unsurprisingly, a return of Aboriginal management to this region has seen a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/april/martu-burning-australia-042910.html" target="_blank">reduction in wildfires, a significant increase in biodiversity and healthier people</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Read more: <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/sustainability/although-we-didnt-produce-these-problems-we-suffer-them/" target="_blank">‘Although we didn’t produce these problems, we suffer them’</a></strong></em></p> <h2>A way forward</h2> <p>By framing landscapes created and managed by Indigenous and local peoples as wilderness, we are denying the land the care it requires. The effects of this neglect are evident in the catastrophic wildfires and environmental degradation occurring in Australia, northwest America and the Amazon – all lands invaded and colonised by Europeans.</p> <p>Climate change is now making these problems worse.</p> <p>Science alone has failed to solve these problems. Imposing land management approaches developed in Europe have failed. The idea of wilderness is destructive, and must be abandoned. We need new ways of engaging with the world around us if we’re to live sustainably on this planet.</p> <p>Indigenous and local peoples must be engaged in the full range of efforts that affect their lands. This includes developing and implementing environmental initiatives and policymaking, the production and execution of research, and environmental management.</p> <p>There are models that can be followed, such as developing Indigenous and community-conserved areas, Indigenous-protected and -conserved areas, or similar rights-based initiatives that merge the science and technology with the power of Indigenous and local knowledge.</p> <p>This is one way forward in effectively decolonising conservation and making the Earth healthy again.</p> <p><em><strong>Read more: <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/sustainability/indigenous-stewardship-linked-to-biodiversity/" target="_blank">Indigenous stewardship linked to biodiversity</a></strong></em></p> <p><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-shawn-fletcher-99786" target="_blank">Michael-Shawn Fletcher</a>, Associate Professor in Biogeography, <em><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722" target="_blank">The University of Melbourne</a></em>; <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lisa-palmer-1166017" target="_blank">Lisa Palmer</a>, Associate Professor, School of Geography, <em><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722" target="_blank">The University of Melbourne</a></em>; <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-hamilton-1006537" target="_blank">Rebecca Hamilton</a>, Postdoctoral Fellow, <em><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/max-planck-institute-for-the-science-of-human-history-3416" target="_blank">Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History</a></em>, and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wolfram-dressler-162824" target="_blank">Wolfram Dressler</a>, Senior Fellow, Development Geography, <em><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722" target="_blank">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/indigenous-knowledge-and-the-persistence-of-the-wilderness-myth-165164" target="_blank">original article</a>.</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=167769&amp;title=Indigenous+knowledge+and+the+persistence+of+the+%E2%80%98wilderness%E2%80%99+myth" alt="" width="1" height="1" /></div>

Domestic Travel

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14 staycation ideas for a great getaway close to home

<p><span>Holidays are one of life’s best pleasures, but sometimes your mini-getaway is not an option – like now, for many of us! </span></p> <p><span>Whether it’s because you’re travel ideas have been curtailed by lockdowns, it’s not in the budget this year, you don’t have enough time off, or you just feel safest staying local, you can have all the fun with way less hassle by trying one of these staycation ideas.</span></p> <p><strong>Have a pillow fort sleepover</strong></p> <p><span>Don’t just build a pillow fort; build the best pillow fort ever! </span></p> <p><span>Go all out, draping sheets over furniture and building an indoor adventure. Hang fairy lights. Bring in a TV. Whip together recipes for a picnic. Break out the classic board games. </span></p> <p><span>The dress code is strict: Jammies only! Then when it’s bedtime, you have the perfect setup for a sleepover.</span></p> <p><strong>Have a fondue night</strong></p> <p><span>Eating a fondue meal is a unique culinary experience, and it’s one you can bring to your home. </span></p> <p><span>Heat up a fondue pot (or two!) and lay out a spread of dippables. </span></p> <p><span>Start with savoury dishes like meat cubes, bread and steamed vegetables dipped in melted cheese. </span></p> <p><span>Then finish with dessert, dipping fruit, cake and marshmallows into melted white and dark chocolate.</span></p> <p><strong>Visit a nearby national park</strong></p> <p><span>Our national parks are underrated treasures. </span></p> <p><span>With over 500 of them, there’s bound to be something for everyone. </span></p> <p><span>There’s plenty of hiking, but most national parks have other things to do as well, including wildlife spotting, horseback riding, swimming or kayaking, and so much more.</span></p> <p><strong>Set up an outdoor movie theatre</strong></p> <p><span>Projectors have gotten better and cheaper, making it easier than ever to set up a DIY backyard movie theatre. </span></p> <p><span>Pick a blank side of your house (garage doors often work great), set up your laptop and projector, and pick a holiday-themed movie. </span></p> <p><span>Invite your neighbours to bring their lawn chairs (if you’re able), add popcorn and drinks, and you have a perfect night out, err, in.</span></p> <p><strong>Tour your own city</strong></p> <p><span>Every state has some must-see tourist attractions. </span></p> <p><span>When people come to visit, you probably have a list of sights they should see and things they should do.</span></p> <p><span> Now is the time to use that list yourself! Visit a museum, go to a concert, check out historical buildings, walk on the pier, or hike those hills. </span></p> <p><span>View your city as a tourist might. Heck, you can go so far as to buy the souvenir mug.</span></p> <p><strong>Go to a drive-in movie</strong></p> <p><span>It’s true that there aren’t nearly as many of them as there once were, but those remaining drive-ins offer a much safer big-screen experience than a regular cinema. </span></p> <p><span>Find a drive-in movie theatre near you, check show times, and stock your car with goodies to eat and drink. </span></p> <p><span>Or find a friend with a pickup truck and put a mattress in the back for more comfortable viewing.</span></p> <p><strong>Take a bike tour</strong></p> <p><span>Riding a bike is a great way to see your city or a destination. </span></p> <p><span>It’s faster than walking, but you don’t have to worry about parking a car or finding an Uber. </span></p> <p><span>Plus, you get to be in the fresh air. Many places offer guided bike tours, or you can come armed with a list of sights to stop.</span></p> <p><strong>Indulge in a spa day</strong></p> <p><span>Tired mums will love getting a day to relax and pamper themselves, although this is definitely one of the staycation ideas that most people will enjoy. </span></p> <p><span>You can schedule a full day at a local spa and get the deluxe treatment, or you can put one together at home. </span></p> <p><span>Get a fluffy bathrobe, stock up on sheet masks for your face, and choose a new nail polish. </span></p> <p><span>T</span><span>hen top off your glass of wine and fill the bathtub for a relaxing soak.</span></p> <p><strong>Have a girls' or guys' night in</strong></p> <p><span>Some of the best types of holidays are guys’ or girls’ weekend getaways. </span></p> <p><span>Don’t want to risk it during the pandemic? Host your pals at home for the night. </span></p> <p><span>Invite a small group friends for a girls’ or guys’ night in (current restrictions notwithstanding!). </span></p> <p><span>Mix a signature drink, play a fun game, watch a movie, or just talk. </span></p> <p><span>Or set up the guest room and make a weekend of it.</span></p> <p><strong>Have an outdoor dance party</strong></p> <p><span>Dancing with others is fun and good for you. </span></p> <p><span>But going into crowded dance clubs probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list right now. </span></p> <p><span>Thankfully, all you need for your own dance party is an outdoor speaker and a flat spot for dancing.</span></p> <p><span> String up some lights, fill a couple of coolers with drinks, and invite your neighbours or some close friends.</span></p> <p><strong>Hit the beach</strong></p> <p><span>This is one of the most popular staycation ideas and for good reason. </span></p> <p><span>A day at the beach is like its own form of meditation. If there’s a body of water nearby, chances are there’s some type of beach. </span></p> <p><span>Bring a beach picnic, set up a sun umbrella, lay out your towels, and spread out the sand toys. </span></p> <p><span>Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen.</span></p> <p><strong>Take part in a house swap</strong></p> <p><span>Got friends that live in fun places? </span></p> <p><span>If you’re not in a locked down area, you can still skip the hassle and uncertainty of a hotel by swapping houses for a weekend. </span></p> <p><span>Each of you gets to check out a new place with a comfortable home base to come back to at night. </span></p> <p><span>Be sure to also swap lists of the must-see sights in your areas.</span></p> <p><strong>Camp under the stars</strong></p> <p><span>Avoid crowds, stay close to home, and take in the night sky by going camping. </span></p> <p><span>Keep it simple and head to a nearby scenic spot for one night. </span></p> <p><span>Pack a light backpacking tent, but if temperatures are mild and skies are clear, you may not even need it. </span></p> <p><span>Sleeping under stars is one of those life-changing experiences that we’ve nearly forgotten about in modern society, making it one of our favourite staycation ideas.</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/14-staycation-ideas-for-a-great-getaway-close-to-home?pages=2" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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4 top tips to save money on a long holiday

<p>When time is no object in holidays of lengthy duration, more is more when you look and book online at Hotels.com.</p> <p>By Reader’s Digest, in partnership with Hotels.com</p> <p>A long holiday is its own reward, but this concept is amplified in accommodation savings that only serve to increase exponentially, the longer you stay. That is, of course, if you know where to go to seek the source of holidaymakers in the know.</p> <p>When time is no object in holidays of lengthy duration, more is more when you look and book online at <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://au.hotels.com/" target="_blank">Hotels.com</a>.</p> <div id="firstFloatAd"> <div data-fuse="21861530567" data-fuse-code="fuse-slot-21861530567-1" data-fuse-slot="71161633/DIRP_readersdigest/article_mrec_1"> <div id="fuse-slot-21861530567-1" class="fuse-slot" data-google-query-id="COPwieP8kfMCFQpVjwodd-cLqg"> <div id="google_ads_iframe_71161633/DIRP_readersdigest/article_mrec_1_0__container__"><iframe id="google_ads_iframe_71161633/DIRP_readersdigest/article_mrec_1_0" title="3rd party ad content" name="google_ads_iframe_71161633/DIRP_readersdigest/article_mrec_1_0" width="1" height="1" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" role="region" aria-label="Advertisement" srcdoc="" data-google-container-id="2" data-load-complete="true" tabindex="0"></iframe>The saving grace of extended stays amounts to huge value in quality time, but also in a fiscal sense.</div> <div><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/nothing.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c51567d0578f49e0829ece6bf520e288" /><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.127129750983px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844318/last-minute-um.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c51567d0578f49e0829ece6bf520e288" /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>1. Be richly rewarded</strong></div> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hotels.com not only offers a wealth of cut-price savings from luxury resorts to budget-style accommodation, but it also extends the staying power with the <a href="https://au.hotels.com/hotel-rewards-pillar/hotelscomrewards.html">Rewards</a> programs. When you collect 10 nights’ accommodation at a massive range of selected hotels and accommodation offerings, you’ll be richly rewarded with one extra night’s stay. Members choose how their 10 nights stack up: whether during a complete stay or as single-night visits, which can quickly add up to the count of 10. Redeem your free night’s accommodation at a range of options and locations: from top-of-the-the-range hotel chains and five-star resort to boutiques, villas and apartments of every description*.</p> <h4>2. Shop around</h4> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">It’s important to instill time and patience in the online booking process. Arm yourself with prior research to ensure you plan your stay closely centred to coveted landmarks, sites and for convenience to public transport options, supermarkets and all budget-oriented amenities. There’s a handy online guide for the average price of all star-rated properties at every holiday destination to be found online at Hotels.com. Read up on the crucial differences between property features and decide whether you can forgo an on-site gym or swimming pool in favour of stretching your legs in the great outdoors and taking an invigorating daily dip in the ocean instead.</p> <h4 style="font-style: inherit;">3. Book early or late: the savings are equally great</h4> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">Hotels.com prides itself on offering unlimited special deals on all of its accommodation options. Built-in value is the name of the game, whether you plan to stay for a good time or long time. Booking early is always advised to ensure availability of your preferred options, but equally, last-minute specials can produce unexpected delights to be found at dream properties that are ultimately priced within your holiday budget.<a href="https://au.hotels.com/hotel-deals/">Deals Finder</a> and <a href="https://au.hotels.com/hotel-deals/last-minute-hotel-deals">Last Minute Deals</a> are your go-to zones for the best possible savings, whether you’re booking your stay early or late.</p> <h4 style="font-style: inherit;">4. Live like a local</h4> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">Once you’ve finally arrived at your dream destination, the key for keeping costs to a minimum depends upon splashing out only when absolutely necessary. Advance planning ensures you need never miss out on maximising the sightseeing and experiential potential of your holiday location. Allocating part of your budget to a select few must-do-and-see holiday desirables is essential. But a memorable holiday also means not blowing the bank, so be sure to eat or pack most meals and drinking water from your accommodation base; boutique browsing rather than splashing the cash on designer labels; sticking to nature-based activities that don’t cost the earth and ultimately revive the spirit and senses are your best bet for returning home from a long holiday richly rewarded for your cost-saving measures.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/tips/4-top-tips-save-money-long-holiday">Reader’s Digest</a></em></p> <p><em> Images: Reader’s Digest</em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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It’s Never Too Late To Be Bold and Chase Excitement

<p>A seemingly nonsensical suggestion led Gail MacCallum to uproot her life and follow her dream.</p> <p><strong>Some people get more averse to risk as the years go by.</strong> Not so Gail MacCallum, who at age 40 quit a secure job and left the city she had enjoyed her whole adult life in order to leap into the unknown. But she had to learn to be bold.</p> <p>MacCallum moved quite a bit in childhood and spent her formative years outside Canberra in a farmhouse without electricity. She read the books of animal observer Gerald Durrell and relished the freedom of the natural world. In her teens she and her family moved into the heart of inner-city Sydney, and she found she adored that too. “I was 14 and it was the perfect time. I loved the excitement of the city.”</p> <p>She continued to love it over the following decades as she moved through jobs including coffee-roaster and bookseller before finding her calling in book publishing and then magazines. In 2002 MacCallum and her then partner had a daughter, Amelia. They wanted to make sure that despite being a city kid Amelia had plenty of natural encounters so they sought out places to climb trees, watch lizards and spot turtles. But one day MacCallum realised her little girl was more at ease with busy streets than bushland. “When she was about seven, we were visiting a friend whose place had a beautiful lawn. Amelia called out to me from the verandah and said, ‘I can’t go into the wild!’ We decided we had to let her experience a wider world and two months later we were in a campervan heading off around Australia.”</p> <p>MacCallum admits she felt daunted. “I thought we’d need to know things like how to whittle your own clutch plate. I didn’t know how much it would all cost or what we’d do about money. But I thought the worst thing that would happen is we’d have an adventure and a holiday. I figured if we only make it two weeks in, so be it.” As it happened, the van they’d bought broke down just 90 minutes into the trip. But after repairs they set off again and travelled the country for six months, during which Amelia became an avid adventurer adept at digging fire pits. They returned to the city purely because the money had run out. “That trip helped me understand that success doesn’t have to be assured,” MacCallum says. “I realised that you can start something and just work it out as you go along.”</p> <p><strong>Four years later she and her current partner Ian Connellan </strong>were on a brief holiday in Tasmania, enjoying the chance to get up close to wildlife including “the fluffiest wombats in the world”, when they ran into some friends-of-friends, soon to move interstate, who asked them to dinner. The next day, recalls MacCallum, “They said, ‘We think you should buy our house.’” With no intention of uprooting their lives she and Connellan thought this was “entirely ridiculous”, yet they got so excited talking about the possibilities such a move might present they missed their plane home. “We stayed at a hotel that night, woke up the next morning and said, ‘Let’s give it a go.’”</p> <p>They resigned their publishing jobs and in January 2013 moved to Hobart to start not just a new life but a new business. Individually and together, both are intrepid, independent travellers who had spent time with scientists and conservationists working in various remote spots around the world, including Papua New Guinea and the Galapagos Islands. They wondered if they could make a living supporting such work by helping others to experience those unique places for themselves. The two decided to set up a company that specialised in organising trips to places where important scientific and environmental research was taking place.</p> <p>Naming the new company Curious Traveller, they began taking paying customers to remote locations including Western Australia’s Kimberley region and islands off South America. “For us the travel business comes out of a love of science,” MacCallum explains. “It works brilliantly. Scientists get helpers and funding. Guests get to see what scientists do and how the world is changing because of it. They leave excited and inspired, having had an awesome experience in a place they otherwise might never have seen.”</p> <p>Two-and-a-half years in, the pair still have to supplement their incomes with some freelance writing and editing, but the business is growing and within five years they hope to be helping fund half a dozen research projects. It’s a big task. “Some days we think it would be great to turn off and have making it all work become someone else’s problem,” MacCallum says, “but when we see the wonder on the face of a person who is experiencing somewhere like the Galapagos for the first time we know we’re living a fabulous, lucky life.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.3411078717201px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844052/follow-yr-dream-2-um.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5f0c645b37b24c14b8304fa17e82ae63" /></p> <p><strong>The Expert View</strong></p> <p>The type of business MacCallum started, which aims to do good as well as provide a living, is known as social enterprise. Celia Hodson is CEO of an institution specially created to give such people the business savvy they’ll need to survive – the School for Social Entrepreneurs.</p> <p>The desire to create a business with broader aims than just making money is gaining ground. “When we used to put a call-out for people who thought they had an amazing social enterprise idea we’d have maybe 20 applying.” says Hodson. “Now we get 120.” Some leap straight in, but most make the transition while establishing the business: “Typically they taper off their paid employment as their idea starts to gather speed.”</p> <p>The rewards are great, but it’s important to be realistic. “We sometimes ask people who come to us, ‘Where in your cash-flow is your salary?’ They’ll say, ‘Oh I don’t need money.’ Yes, social impact is what it’s about but to make it sustainable you need to ask yourself, ‘Is it going to pay me a salary?’ And you need to think about how to measure the difference you’re hoping to make.”</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/inspirational/Never-Too-Late-To-Be-Bold">Reader’s Digest</a></em></p>

Domestic Travel

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It’s Never Too Late: How I Ran Away With The Circus

<p>Volunteering his expertise to help isolated students led a delighted John Smyth into the lion’s den.</p> <p>As a kid in the bush, John Smyth didn’t have much chance to see the circus in person, but he had a treasured picture book about life under the Big Top. More than 60 years later, Smyth got to become part of the Stardust Circus world, not as a tumbler or lion tamer – but as a teacher.</p> <p>Back in 1999, the career high-school teacher decided it was time to retire and, together with his wife Helen, embark on an epic journey around Australia. They covered 33,000km in six months. When they returned, Smyth found he missed the classroom, so came out of retirement to spend ­another eight years doing casual teaching – but, eventually, his wanderlust returned and he and Helen headed back on the road.</p> <p>Today, the 75-year-old physics and mathematics teacher slots in time with his grandkids around a packed diary as a volunteer teacher to school students who live in remote locations, under a scheme known as Volunteers for Isolated Students’ Education (VISE).</p> <p>VISE pairs up energetic people with educational experience – usually retired teachers, such as John – with children whose schooling is largely done remotely, because they live too far away from towns and cities to attend regular school. With their classes conducted via satellite hook-ups, Skype or whatever other methods are available, the children have virtual contact with a paid teacher for several hours a day. The rest of the time they are given assignments to complete. VISE volunteers go and stay with these remote families for six weeks at a time to provide encouragement and practical help to the students.</p> <p>John grew up in the country and was immediately intrigued when he heard about the scheme. Helen was just as keen. “We love the bush,” he says. While the teacher’s partner isn’t required to contribute, they often help around the home, in the garden or around the property. Since volunteers typically stay for the full six weeks, it’s important for couples to agree on the locations they apply for.</p> <p>“We’d decided we wouldn’t take a placement where we lived in the house with the family,” John says. “We opted for ones where we could take our own caravan or we’d have a ‘donga’ hut or a cottage, so that we had somewhere we could get away.”</p> <p>After eight VISE postings, and encountering some challenging families and students, John is still keen to do more. “Occasionally I have had to take a stand and say, ‘If you want my help, here I am, otherwise I’ll pack up and go home – I’m too busy to be sitting around here if we’re not going to work.’ But it’s always turned out really well.” He remains in fond contact with a number of his former students.</p> <p>He’s racked up stints in some of Australia’s most remote locations, including a 38,000-ha sheep property where they had to meet the mail plane to get school materials, and an 80,000-ha National Park that was 500km from the nearest supermarket. Then John nabbed one of the most sought-after placements in the scheme: a travelling post with Stardust Circus. “It was just wonderful,” he says of the weeks he and Helen spent on the road last year, working with the children in a specially equipped mobile schoolroom.</p> <p>The lesson timetable was built around the kids’ performance schedules. “The eight-year-old I tutored was a fabulous gymnast who was part of the teeterboard act,” he explains. “A big bloke would jump on the other side, he would swing up in the air, do a couple of twirls and land on his uncle’s shoulders … and his uncle was standing on the boy’s father’s shoulders!”</p> <p>The circus still includes some animal acts, including lions, monkeys, horses, goats and pigs. John and Helen found it extraordinary enough to drift off to sleep to the sound of lions roaring, but then one day the lion-tamer, Matt, accorded them a very special privilege, inviting them in to meet four 13-month-old cubs in person.</p> <p>While it was understandably a little scary at first going into their enclosure, John says it was “an absolutely fantastic, never to be forgotten experience” which just goes to show it really is never too late: “In my 75th year I finally got to realise my boyhood dream of running away with the circus!”</p> <p><strong>If You’re Tempted</strong></p> <p>National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O’Neill says John’s approach is increasingly common. “We’re seeing more and more people moving from full-time work into other areas of activity that are not traditionally associated with retirement or the later years of life.”</p> <p>In fact, he says, ‘retirement’ is “almost a dirty word now. People want to enter into new experiences, using previous life knowledge, rather than sitting back and ‘retiring’ as we came to know it in previous generations.”</p> <p>As in John’s case, many are keen to continue giving back to society, but O’Neill says the way we do this has also changed.</p> <p>“Many will now say, ‘I’m happy to volunteer and give my time for this particular cause, but let me be clear: I want to contribute my knowledge and skills to your organisation. Don’t think I’m going to be down the back making cups of tea.’?”</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/inspirational/never-too-late-to-run-away-with-the-circus"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Swimming With Whale Sharks

<p><strong>Snorkelling in the Indian Ocean</strong> just off Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia means blue infinity in every direction – but what’s that eerie pale oval approaching under the surface? Widening and narrowing and growing larger by the second, it resolves into the enormous gulping mouth of a whale shark. Stand by – or rather, swim by – for one of Australia’s grandest marine spectacles.</p> <p>Unsurpassed globally for regular, reliable and accessible whale shark encounters, World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef runs 260 km along Western Australia’s remote North West Cape, about 1300 km north of Perth. Every year – from April to July – these normally elusive filter-feeders arrive for an annual mass-spawning of coral, which, aided by fortuitous currents, turns the outer reef into a nutrient-rich soup of plankton and krill. A relatively recent addition to this prehistoric dinner engagement are gatecrashing, snorkelling <em>Homo sapiens</em>, drawn to feed their sense of wonder on sharing salt water with the largest of all shark species.</p> <p>The adventure begins on very dry land. Although flanked by vast tracts of water – Exmouth Gulf on one side, the Indian Ocean the other – North West Cape is an arid, baked wilderness bisected by the rocky heights of Cape Range, an extinct limestone reef from the region’s deeper past. Anchored off a lonely desert boat ramp 38 km from Exmouth township, the 17 m <em>Draw Card</em> is amid a tiny gaggle of whale-shark boats (there are eight Exmouth-based tour operators) ferrying their patrons aboard by inflatable Zodiac.</p> <p>First on the agenda is a morning snorkel on the reef, a handy acclimatisation and a superb experience in itself. Amid a kaleidoscope of colourful sea life, the crew’s two whale-shark ‘spotters’ – Ellece Nicholls and Emma Goodfellow – and videographer Meg Green, free-dive with mermaid-like agility, pointing out creatures of interest. Usual Ningaloo suspects include parrotfish in all hues of green and blue, frilly orange lionfish, giant clams, tawny nurse and leopard sharks, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, barracuda and bull rays. The easily found sailfin catfish (small, black and fantailed) is one of 50 endemic species.</p> <p>The <em>Draw Card</em> cruises south through shallow turquoise waters, heading for one of only three navigable passages to the open ocean – soon revealed by a gap in the white line of offshore surf. The shark-spotting plane radios success and the deck ripples with excitement. As we power into position several kilometres out to sea, the 19 tourists aboard are divided into two snorkel groups and re-briefed on protocols – no touching, no duck-diving, keep 3 m clear of any whale shark (and 4 m from the tail).</p> <p>Whale-shark watching works for one simple reason. “They’re sun worshippers,” spotter and marine biologist Ellece Nicholls says. On clear days plankton rises to the light, attracting whale sharks to the surface where they linger to hoover up the bounty. The biggest enemy is heavy cloud cover, rarely a problem at Ningaloo.</p> <p>Think of it as a game of marine leap-frog. The boat stops ahead of a shark and the first snorkellers tag along as it passes, with the Zodiac deployed to aid any stragglers. Group two drops in further along the shark’s probable path. After the whale shark leaves its first escorts, the boat collects them and moves ahead of group two (now in shark conference) to repeat the process.</p> <p>Group one don fins and stride off the duckboard, looking for the spotter’s hand signal. Ellece points and faces go under – nothing. Then a casual over-shoulder, underwater glance reveals a blue-grey speckled bulk the size of a van. Veering before reaching us, the silent giant had almost slipped by unobserved behind our backs.</p> <p><strong>Gentle titans</strong></p> <p>Wondrous as it is, there’s no time to stop and wonder. Admiring a whale shark is not a passive activity. It’s time to snorkel as fast as humanly possible, which inevitably falls short of any whale shark in middle gear. But following its wake is unforgettable. The towering column of tail sweeps with effortless power, slowly shrinking and dissolving a gentle titan into the deep blue curtain of ocean ahead.</p> <p>Minutes later, adrift in the open sea, we regroup for pick-up. Ellece says we saw a juvenile male, “only” 4 m long but with a barrel-like girth. While 12-m whale sharks have been seen here, the typical Ningaloo visitor is a 4-7 m male.</p> <p>Far sooner than expected, we’re ready for another dip into his world. “This is what we call a blind drop,” Ellece says, meaning no-one knows exactly where the shark is. But in we go and there he is. Afterwards comes an unexpected bonus, a hefty green turtle flapping through the blue nearby, a marine bumblebee in flight.</p> <p>Leaving our teenage shark to another nearby boat – the industry here is amiably co-operative – we shift closer to the reef wall for whale shark number two. Here the seabed is dimly visible, with shadowy coral clusters far below, the length of a tall building away. Festooned with remoras and trailed by a retinue of golden trevallies, this slightly larger shark gives a clear view of its white-spotted, ridged back, the starlike pattern imitating sunlight dappling the surface.</p> <p>The day’s final shark is further out. Over the abyss again, a diffuse star of light beams from below, but it’s only a trick of the sun. Our largest (5 m-plus) specimen’s head-on approach is signalled by the flattened white oval of Exmouth’s biggest mouth. Dipping gently up and down, feeding at a leisurely cruising pace, it scoops invisible fare with every rise. From the corner of the sack-like maw, a much smaller eye watches its watchers keeping pace for those few precious minutes. Afterwards on deck, we’re treated to a topside view when it skirts the boat ahead of group two, its broad head emerging from the deep like a submarine milky way.</p> <p>Five swims with three individuals filled an hour of shark time (the maximum allowed). The exhilaration of eye contact with our planet’s biggest fish lingers throughout lunch and the post-shark reef snorkel. The lasting impression is one of great peace and beauty, the awe of approaching creation writ truly large.</p> <p><strong>Endangered species</strong></p> <p>Plenty of mystery accompanies this majesty. While Exmouth is a leading centre for tagging and research, the whale shark life-cycle remains largely unknown – and if they really do migrate north from Ningaloo to breed in Asian waters, as some experts contend, why do so many travel south along the reef? South is definitely the safer option for them right now, given their popularity as a soup garnish in several Asian countries – a single whale shark can fetch thousands of dollars for its fins. In March 2016 the species’ Red List conservation status was altered from vulnerable to endangered (a ‘very high’ risk of extinction). The example of Exmouth, however, gives hope that countries still slaughtering whale sharks will be inspired by the economics of ecotourism – and the sheer wonder of the creature itself – to spare the world’s biggest fish.</p> <p><strong><em>For more info go to </em></strong><a href="https://www.whalesharkdive.com/"><strong><em>www.whalesharkdive.com</em></strong></a><strong><em> or </em></strong><a href="http://www.visitningaloo.com.au"><strong><em>www.visitningaloo.com.au</em></strong></a></p> <p><em>By David Levell</em></p> <p><em>Image: Reader’s Digest</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on </em><a href="mailto:https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/activities/swimming-whale-sharks"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Travel the smart way with MediclAlert

<p>As many older Australians and New Zealanders are fulfilling their desire to travel overseas or cross country, there are greater risks for those with medical conditions if they’re not properly prepared.</p> <p>Visiting loved ones over the holiday season can take some planning, especially if you need to travel. Whether you’re travelling to see friends abroad, going on a beach holiday or staying with family during the festivities, being smart about how you travel will save you a headache in the long run.</p> <p>Regardless if you’re setting off halfway across the world or meeting a friend for coffee around the corner, those with medical conditions can find it hard to step out of their comfort zone when it comes to travel.</p> <p>As many older Australians are fulfilling their desire to travel overseas or cross country, there are greater risks for those with medical conditions if they’re not properly prepared. Having the essentials when travelling, such as your <a href="https://www.medicalert.org.au/?utm_source=readers-digest&amp;utm_medium=MREC&amp;utm_campaign=readers-digest-2019">MedicAlert</a> ID can help if this go wrong, no matter where you in the world.</p> <p><strong>Check off your necessities</strong></p> <p>Travel insurance can offer peace of mind for those who are going on trips as it covers lost baggage, cancelled flights and hospital fees. However, while insuring your possessions is important, it’s your health and wellbeing that should be at the top of your priority list.</p> <p>You may create a travel checklist, with your clothing, shoes, toiletries and documents, but without accounting for your MedicAlert ID – health and safety may be left up to chance. It’s impossible to carry a briefcase with any medical or health history around with you on holiday, or even just the names and dosages of your medications may be difficult to remember if there are more than one. During the rush of an emergency or if a health issue occurs – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to let doctors or nurses know all of your conditions, medications and allergies, especially if you’re in pain.</p> <p>Whether you’re in a country with language barriers or you’re unable to speak, health professionals or medical personnel can quickly and safely determine your needs; with training in searching for body-worn medical identification during an emergency, your information is readily available to them during moments of chaos.</p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.3953488372093px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843887/medicalalert-2-um.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/51aa7a20d8c44905818e0da2b0af4353" /></strong></p> <p><strong>Make memories without worrying</strong></p> <p>With MedicAlert’s ID being recognised globally you can rest assured that no matter where you travel, your family or loved ones are looked after. When severe allergies come into the mix, it seems easier to avoid places where miscommunication is likely to occur, but with our 24/7 emergency response service and the ability to easily access health records on the go from medical professionals, you can have peace of mind that you’re safe anywhere around the world.</p> <p>Your schedule may be full of high-energy activities and jam-packed with adventures, and while it’s a blast planning your trip, the thought of accidents happening naturally comes to mind. With your updated medications, implants and allergies in one place, your mind is at ease if anything were to happen. Protecting members in Australia for almost 50 years, MedicAlert is your safety net when travelling; spend less time worrying about emergencies and more time dreaming about relaxing on your holiday.</p> <p>If you have suffered from an injury or medical implication, you shouldn’t let fear stop you from going to the places you love. Just like 80-year-old MedicAlert member Lois Job, who recently put her ID bracelet to the test when she fainted after lunch with her husband and daughter at a local café. Lois is just one example of a member who hasn’t let previous health incidents stop her from socialising.</p> <p>Not letting fear rule her life, Lois says “if anything goes wrong anywhere, they’ve [MedicAlert] got my back. I love going out with my friends and family, and I don’t want to have to give that up because I’m scared.” Lois explains that a lot could have gone wrong during her incident as she is a Type 2 Diabetic, has suffered a pulmonary embolism and has allergies to a number of drugs, as well as complications relating to number of her medications.</p> <p>As a member at MedicAlert – a not for profit organisation – for 21 years, Lois reiterates “this tiny little thing around my wrist gives me the extra strength and reassurance to keep doing what I love. I’ve been telling every man and his dog to join MedicAlert, and finally I could tell them exactly why.”</p> <p><strong>Adapting to the travel bug</strong></p> <p>While you are enjoying the holidays with family and friends, your health or medical conditions don’t take a break because you are. Travelling over the busy summer period can take a toll on your health while changes in weather, time zones, new cuisines or a sudden decrease in your medication could result in an incident.</p> <p>Whether you’re susceptible to driver fatigue, increase your levels of exercise, changes in diet or exposure to new insects, emergencies happen when you least expect. In this instance, medical personnel will immediately check for your medical conditions and access more detailed information by calling the 24-hour emergency number engraved on your MedicAlert ID.</p> <p>No matter what time of year you are planning on travelling, being smart about travel means taking precautions such as having enough medication to last you the trip and updating your details online. While healthcare providers will assist you in emergencies taking care of yourself is still your responsibility when travelling.</p> <p>It’s easy to jam-pack your trip with activities while in the planning stage, but in reality, you should know your physical limitations. Going over the top with back-to-back flights, activities, day trips and sightseeing can stop you from truly enjoying your time away. Travelling takes a lot of energy out of even the fittest people; knowing how you cope with drastic changes and increased movement will allow you time to breathe and soak it all in.</p> <p><strong>Final thoughts</strong></p> <p>If you’re spending the holidays abroad or close to home, having your custom engraved MedicAlert ID will offer peace of mind as health professionals or medical personnel can access your secure electronic health record during the moments that matter the most. MedicAlert wishes you and your family a healthy, safe and joyful festive season.</p> <p><a href="https://www.medicalert.org.au/?utm_source=readers-digest&amp;utm_medium=MREC&amp;utm_campaign=readers-digest-2019">This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with MedicAlert.</a></p> <p><em>Images: Reader’s Digest</em></p> <p><em>This </em><em>article originally appeared on <a href="mailto:https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-the-smart-way-with-medicalert">Reader’s Digest</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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From the Red Centre to the green tropics, Australia’s Outback presents a palette like no other

<p><strong>By Reader's Digest, in partnership with APT</strong></p> <p>From the sunburnt sands and ochre-hued escarpments of its Red Centre to the lush green rainforests of Tropical North Queensland, Australia’s Outback packs a punch when it comes to the kaleidoscope of colours on show. <a href="https://www.aptouring.com.au/?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_medium=advertorial&amp;utm_content=20200302_outback2020_readersdigest_native&amp;utm_campaign=outback2020">APT</a> has been operating tours in the Outback for more than 50 years, and are experts in tailoring holidays to showcase the best of each magical region.</p> <p><strong>A world of rainforest and reef</strong></p> <p>In Cape Tribulation, rainforest-clad mountains tumble down to meet the coastline, where pure white sands and turquoise waters dazzle. This is the only place on Earth where two World Heritage-listed sites meet – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. The Daintree is the oldest tropical lowland forest in the world and is home to thousands of species of birds, animals and reptiles. Here, giant fan palms, emerald green vines and ancient ferns tangle together, forming a dense rainforest that makes you feel as though you are stepping into Jurassic Park.</p> <p><em style="font-weight: inherit;">On tour</em></p> <p>APT offers an 11-day 4WD adventure through Cooktown &amp; Cape York. Arrive in Cairns and transfer to Port Douglas, where you’ll spend a night at the luxurious Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Travel to Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park and set off on a Dreamtime Gorge Walk. Explore Cape Tribulation and Cooktown then visit Split Rock, an intriguing Indigenous rock art site. Take a helicopter flight into the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve before continuing north to the tip of Cape York. Here, set out on a walk to the tip of the peninsula and enjoy a helicopter flight for an aerial perspective on this incredible landscape.</p> <p><strong style="font-style: inherit;">Be moved by the outback’s heart</strong></p> <p>As the light shifts and changes throughout the day, so does the landscape at Uluru – the Outback’s spiritual heart. At sunrise, feel an overwhelming sense of calm as you watch this mighty monolith come to life against a pastel-coloured sky. In the afternoon, Uluru appears as an ochre-brown hue, scored with dark shadows. As the sun begins to set, it bathes the rock in burnt orange, then a series of deeper and darker reds, before it finally fades into charcoal as night falls. Spend a night at the Field of Light and savour dinner under the stars, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the didgeridoo. With Uluru in the background, watch in awe as 50,000 soft lights cover the desert floor behind you.</p> <p><em style="font-weight: inherit;">On tour</em></p> <p>On APT’s 11-day Central to South Explorer tour, start your journey in Uluru, where you’ll embark on a base tour at sunrise and experience a night at the Field of Light. Learn about the history of opal mining in Coober Pedy then travel along the iconic Oodnadatta Track to WIlliam Creek. Take an included scenic flight over spectacular Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre before journeying to Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. While here, spend two nights at the Ikara Safari Camp – the perfect base for exploring Wilpena Pound National Park. A winery lunch in Adelaide’s Clare Valley is the perfect ending to your journey.</p> <p><strong style="font-style: inherit;">Getting your fill of Lake Eyre</strong></p> <p>Few sights in Australia stir the soul more than that of the normally dry Lake Eyre filling with water and suddenly teeming with life. The lake, properly known as Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, relies on monumental rains in Queensland and the Northern Territory for water to begin to flow into it. Last year saw the lake reach levels unseen for almost half a century, and it is hoped that 2020’s northern monsoon season will see the region once again alive with fish surging through the rivers that feed Lake Eyre, and its surface thronged with an array of birdlife including hundreds of thousands of pelicans. In a land battling drought and bushfires, the vision of water shimmering on the surface of the lake is life affirming. And it is something to be treasured and celebrated, so take this rare chance to go with the flow.</p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.413612565445px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843791/red-centre-2-um.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5655363ea89d4bf1b0684a7bf50cfbba" /></strong></p> <p><strong>Paradise found amid corals and blooms</strong></p> <p>Stretching over 1,100 kilometres of seemingly untouched coastline, Western Australia’s Coral Coast is a marine paradise like no other. Here, waves lap lazily on pristine white-sand beaches and turtles sweep through sheltered turquoise bays.</p> <p>The crystal-clear waters of Ningaloo Marine Park harbour the world’s largest fringing reef. Beneath the surface, you’ll find dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, and more than 500 species of fish. There’s more to discover on land, where colourful blankets of native wildflowers burst into bloom between August and September along the spectacular Wildflower Way. For a whole new perspective on the region, take to the skies on a helicopter flight over the Dampier Archipelago. The staggering contrast between brilliant white beaches, aquamarine waters, and the rugged red Pilbara landscape is a breathtaking sight – one that can only be experienced from the air.</p> <p><em style="font-weight: inherit;">On tour</em></p> <p>Board the MS Caledonian Sky in Broome and navigate the remote islands of Western Australia’s Coral Coast on a 15-day small ship expedition cruise and 4WD adventure. Discover life below the surface while snorkelling the clear waters of this marine paradise. Disembark in Geraldton and continue the adventure as you explore Kalbarri National Park and the eerie limestone Pinnacles. To finish up your journey, there’s a stay in a luxury eco-tent on the beautiful Rottnest Island.</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;"><em style="font-weight: inherit;">This </em><em>article originally appeared on <a href="mailto:https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/from-the-red-centre-to-the-green-tropics-australias-outback-presents-a-palette-like-no-other">Reader's Digest.</a></em></p> <p><em>Photos: Reader’s Digest</em></p>

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