Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Environmentality 20 July 2011

Dear Environmentality listeners.

Environmentality is now available via internet streaming. Go to the North West FM home page for instructions on listening to the program online.

Our guest today was Simon Branigan from the Victorian National Parks Association. During the show Simon provided us with an insight into the VNPA and its activities. Simon is an experienced radio presenter having been involved with the Grass Roots Eco Radio show on Edge Radio 99.3 FM based at the University of Tasmania. From the hospitality industry Simon has worked his way up the environmental industry finally completing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management.

The VNPA is 60 years old next year and is the oldest conservation group in Victoria. The group is an independent non-profit membership based organisation and its aim is to improve the protection and management of the natural environment in both marine and land based national parks. Although the main focus is marine national parks the group has a broad interest in protecting the natural environment. For instance the group has also been campaigning about alpine grazing.

VNPA performs a range of work including a bush walking and activities and campaigns protecting the natural environment. Simon’s main role is the marine environment and coasts and raising awareness of these natural environments. For instance he is looking at issues in Westernport Bay and Alcoa expansion at Anglesea.

The group is based in the 60L Green Building located in 60 Leicester Street Carlton near Victoria Market and employs about 19 people including part time staff.

Simon informed us that the south coast of Victoria has a unique and diverse marine environment having about 12,000 plant and animal species. This is larger than the marine environment we are more familiar with in Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Like land based environment’s marine environments are also threatened by invasive species such as the Northern Pacific Sea Star and Undaria Japanese Kelp in Port Philip Bay. Undaria has now infested Apollo Bay Harbour.

Every 3-4 years VNPA conducts a professionally based Nature Conservation Review in both land and marine environments which assesses environmental conditions and threats and proposes steps to be taken to protect these environments. A recent review was Protectig our Seas and Shores. Campaigns VNPA conducts are based on science. The groups structure is based on an executive director and board. Simon is involved with the Conservation Committee.

Recreational fishing was discussed and although marine parks are no take areas they are still available for certain water based activities. There is some evidence that marine parks support larger and more diverse marine populations and that there may be a spill over into areas outside the parks. There is a need for more marine parks.

Simon told us about a new VNPA website which can be used to explore Victoria's marine environment, without getting wet! The site provides information, photos, video and information about local environment groups for many Victorian marine sites.

On the VNPA website are fact sheets about a range of environmental issues with a particular emphasis on marine parks.

Anyone wishing for more information on VNPA campaigns can email VPNA also has available a Marine Action Pack which is filled with educational materials, a marine sticker, letter writing kit and postcards to help you become a marine defender and can be obtained at the same email or by phone on 03 9347 5188.

The show finished with a brief discussion of the political ramifications of the carbon tax.

You got to hear;

  1. My Baby Portable Player Sound by Pizzicato Five
  2. Swim by Madder Rose
  3. De-luxe by Lush
  4. Sugar Hiccup by Cocteau Twins
  5. Over and Over by Morcheeba

Our mystery question for today was “what organisation does Simon represent?” Correct answers SMS to 0447 777 989 during the show receive a $10 gift voucher to the EnviroShop. Or answers can be left on our blog at

Another great show. Thank you to Simon for all the information on our marine environment in particular and telling us about the VNPA. You need to listen to the show for all the details!

Listen to the show!

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