I just spent two glorious weeks on the Save Nature Now tour traveling across Australia.
Australia is very near and dear to my heart. It’s a continent that has been battered by the climate crisis. Aussies love nature and my talks were wonderfully embraced.
Did you know that 125 species of native birds are in decline across Australia? The Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is over 50 percent dead. Offshore seismic oil/gas exploration around Australia is killing all sea life. In the face of the unprecedented human-induced climate crisis, the neo-conservative government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott says “coal is good for humanity” despite the oceans trebling in mercury poisoning in the past 50 years from burning coal.
Georgie and Mike Dicks, along with Perth chapter president of Sea Shepherd Australia, Chris Lindgren, took me on Bruce the Rib, a rigid inflatable dingy used to protect sharks. That day it was used to investigate male Australian sea lions on Carnac Island, in the Indian Ocean.
We had a splendid morning exploring six miles off the coast near Fremantle, WA. The weather was blustery and wet, but the swells stayed below four feet as we zipped along the ocean marveling at albatrosses effortlessly gliding across the water.
We shot an Earth Calling SOS video while the frisky Aussie sea lions played beneath our boat. Upon returning to Fremantle harbor we smelled an acrid, giant oil slick on the water and traced it to a filthy long-lined fishing trawler.
When we confronted the captain, he shouted expletives and threw a large plastic box at us, which we filmed. I discovered first-hand that there’s never a dull moment when protecting the Indian Ocean on Bruce the Rib.
At the Fremantle Town Hall, I was honored to receive an Excellence in Conservation-in-Action Award from Sea Shepherd Australia. I enjoyed an amazing time with my dear friends, Jeff and Marina Hansen, and their loving children Abby and Beau, watching Willy wagtails, listening to kookaburras and laughing lots.
I learned that repurposed ocean plastic, Eco Shark Barriers, have been protecting beach-goers in Western Australia from accidents as well as all marine life including sharks, rays, sea turtles, dolphins and whales. Rigid plastic barriers bounce sea life away rather than entangle and suffocate them like old-fashioned shark nets do.
Thanks to Megan Louth, Natalie Banks, Liza Dicks, Heather Lindgren and naturalist Simon Cherriman, for making my stay in Perth a memorable and exciting journey.
Earth Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.