Threatened Species Day

Today, 7 Sept, is National Threatened Species Day. 7 Sept was chosen to commemorate the death of the last Tasmanian Tiger in 1936. I got this at work via email, and thought that it captures the significance of the day really well:

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the death of the last Tasmanian tiger in captivity in Hobart Zoo. It symbolises the irreversible loss of an amazing and beautiful Australian marsupial that led a private and largely silent life among Tasmania’s forests, wetlands and grasslands, emerging only at dusk, dawn and during the night to hunt on the open plains.

So why did the Tasmanian tiger become extinct?

Because sheep were more important.

Introduced to Tasmania in 1824, sheep marked the beginning of the end for the tiger. Bounties were introduced almost immediately, and between 1888 and 1909, the Tasmanian parliament too offered a bounty for each tiger killed. A year after the time the scheme terminated, the species was considered rare; 26 years later, it was gone.

But hindsight is always 20/20: was this extinction predictable at the time? As early as 1863, the famous naturalist John Gould made the following prediction:

"When the comparatively small island of Tasmania becomes more densely populated, and its primitive forests are intersected with roads from the eastern to the western coast, the numbers of this singular animal will speedily diminish, extermination will have its full sway, and it will then, like the wolf in England and Scotland, be recorded as an animal of the past…."

73 years later, he was proven right – the combination of hunting and habitat destruction, compounded by disease, had taken its ultimate toll. Fifty-four other species of wildlife have gone the same way since European settlement.

Fortunately, the sheep are doing well.

So what will we do about the other 1685 species currently threatened with extinction?

Will we rescue or remember them?

There are lots of events happening around Australia today and the rest of this month – some are listed on the WWF-Australia events and volunteer pages.

WWF has also got an e-card that you can send around if that’s your vibe.

David Suzuki

David Suzuki was just in the WWF Sydney office!!!! He was gracious enough to make time to talk to our CEO Greg Bourne for a video interview (hopefully the results will be available online in time for WWF’s next monthly email bulletin) and then talk to the team in the Sydney office.

A few years ago now, well before I was actively interested in the environment, I read Sacred Balance and it totally changed my view of nature and the environment. I’ve since read Good news for a change which was a real eye opener as well – and got me totally inspired. To see him in person was soooooooo cool!

His short talk to us was inspiring – his advice? Don’t burn yourself out. He also suggested that it will take approx. 20 years for our energy infrastructure to be transformed – and given that it’s pretty clear we are running out of oil, we need to move quickly.

He was so down to earth and completely inspiring. And he looks about 20 years younger than he is – an amazing person.


WWF is hiring

Well, they’ve been hiring for lots of different positions, but this one involves me 😉

We’ve just posted an ad for a full-time web developer. The link has more details. Please pass this around to anyone you think has the skills and might be interested.

My role will be changing a bit once we get the right person on board – I’ll be moving more into tactics and strategy with a focus on social media (blogs, Flickr, YouTube etc.) which regular readers of this blog will know is a real passion of mine. We haven’t finalised what the role will look like yet, but it’s exciting just thinking about it!

An Inconvenient Truth WWF advance screening

Speaking of An Inconvenient Truth – if ya want to come along to an advanced screening, WWF is putting on a preview on September 6 at Dendy Opera Quays. Tix cost $15 with a small proceed going to WWF – but as you know from my recent review, I think it’s a must see film so come along if ya can. I’ll be going, and hopefully hanging about for a few drinks after at the Opera Bar.

Bookings through WWF – details here.

WWF stuff

I’ll keep this reasonably short – yesterday we posted a news article that I thought was pretty cool: Sony to lower its CO2 emissions. Sony has committed to reducing it’s emissions by 7% of 2000 levels by 2010 – that’s for all it’s operations globally.

We need to collectively reduce our emissions by 60% by around 2050, so I suspect they’ll still have a way to go after 2010, but it’s still a good step forward.

The other thing is we’re running a petition at the moment calling on a firm target and timetable to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, the primary driver of global warming, by 30% by 2030. It’d be great to get heaps of signatures for the petition, so it’d be great if you can check it out, add your name and pass it on if you can.

It’s not anywhere near as fancy as Amnesty message in a bottle campaign, but a start nonetheless…

WWF Futuremakers email newsletter design featured by Campaign Monitor

The heading kinda says it all, but we’re very chuffed that Campaign Monitor has featured our Futuremakers email newsletter in their design gallery. The design was created by Massive Interactive in collaboration with us, and we put together the HTML behind-the-scenes.

The HTML is unfortunately a bit of a mess because we wanted the design to look good in a wide variety of email clients (including Gmail and Hotmail) which meant a lot of less-than-satisfactory hacks to get the desired end result.

We’ve been using Campaign Monitor for the last three or four emails that we’ve sent out, and the service is excellent. We’ve run into a couple of small issues, and they’ve been very prompt in responding to our feedback, which has been fantastic.

It’s very cool to be featured in the gallery especially because I was following the gallery well before we were a customer, and learnt an enormous amount about how to develop a compelling newsletter. Their blog articles on CSS and best practices have also been invaluable.