Answering the Prisoner's Dilemma
A record number of attendees and informative and entertaining guest speakers ensured Earthwatch's 13th Annual Dinner & Oration was a huge success.
The key address was delivered by Ross Garnaut, Professor of Economics at the Australian National University and Climate Change Advisor to the Prime Minister.
Guests voiced their concerns to Professor Garnaut, with some questioning whether a traditional BBQ with a slow-cooked roast lamb would still be on the menu.
Professor Garnaut's response to a seemingly light-hearted question answered a significant concern for Australia's agriculture; urging Australians to eat Kangaroo instead of beef as a way to reduce the impact farming practices are having on the environment.
He also warned of a 2C degree rise in temperature in Australia by 2070 with a 30% chance of a 4C degree rise in inland areas. This temperature rise would have dire consequences for farming as we know it in Australia.
In response to what can be called the Prisoner's Dilemma*, Professor Garnaut commented on the need for a global response to climate change with cooperation from our closest neighbours; Indonesia, China and India.
Earthwatch's 2008 Principal Investigator of the Year Award was also presented on the night to Drs Nancy FitzSimmons and Tony Tucker for their work in the Kimberley region on freshwater turtles.
With the help of Earthwatch volunteers, the project aims to conduct the first detailed analysis on the ecology and evolution of freshwater turtles across the Kimberley Plateau and to provide information for conservation management.
Of particular concern is the potential impact of a cane toad invasion, which is likely to adversely effect long-necked turtles and the aboriginal communities that have harvested them for thousands of years.
Congratulations Nancy and Tony and many thanks to Professor Garnaut for his informative oration regarding the climate change impacts on our fragile environment.
The Earthwatch Annual Dinner and Oration is supported by Rio Tinto as part of their global partnership with Earthwatch.
The Annual Dinner Door Prize was later awarded to Rob Richards from Clear Horizon who received two bottles of premium Victorian wine.
Thank you also to all those who attended the dinner, we hope to see you again next year.
*The Prisoner's Dilemma looks at why actors, such as countries, would
choose to cooperate for the common good in the long term, when the
short term benefit is to act in one's self interest.