Archive for the ‘Australia’ Tag

Thames Beats Out Amazon and Yellow River for Prize: by Bonnie Alter, London   Leave a comment

Thames Raters at Raven's Ait on the River Thames

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monet thames photo
Photo: kunst fur alle: Monet, Waterloo Bridge

The mighty Thames River, a mess in the 1950’s, is back. It was declared biologically dead then and now it has won the esteemed International Thiess River Prize for good river management.

The historic (dare we say iconic) river beat out China‘s Yellow River, Australia‘s Hattah Lakes and Russia’s Smirnykh Rivers Partnership to win the $350,000 prize.

hattah lakes photo
Photo: Hattah Lakes, Australia

The prize money will be spent on further restoration work and a project to twin the Thames with a river in the developing world which also needs restoration.

Hurrah for the Thames: the numbers of fish are increasing, with 125 different species recorded, with salmon as well as otter and sea trout populations returning. In the last five years, 400 habitat enhancement projects have been completed and nearly 70 km of river has been restored or enhanced. This includes changing concrete channels back into naturally flowing streams.

It is quite a coup for the environmental agency looking after the river, since there are 13 million people living along it and there is quite a bit of industry as well. The chemical quality of the river has improved from 53 percent in 1990 to 80 percent in 2008 so that almost 80% of the Thames is now judged to have good or very good water quality.

Previous winners of the prize include Lake Simcoe, in Ontario, the Danube (!) and the Chengdu Sha River, China.

And the other contenders? The Hattah lakes in Australia are ravaged by drought and are part of a system of semi-permanent freshwater lakes within Australia’s Murray Darling Basin.

Posted October 18, 2010 by dmacc502 in environment, government

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Pope canonises first Australian saint | World news |   Leave a comment

Mary MacKillop holding a copy of her Life Vows...

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Pope canonises first Australian saint | World news |

via Pope canonises first Australian saint | World news |

The Pope today gave Australia its first saint when he canonised a nun who was briefly excommunicated.

Benedict XVI also declared five other saints in a mass attended by tens of thousands of people.

Speaking in Latin on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica, the pontiff read out the names of the six new saints, declaring each one worthy of veneration in all the Catholic church.

Cheers broke out in the crowd when Mary MacKillop‘s name was announced – evidence of flag-waving Australians celebrating the 19th century nun who was briefly excommunicated, in part because her order exposed a paedophile priest.

An estimated 10,000 people gathered at the Sydney chapel where MacKillop is buried and at the city’s Catholic cathedral, where a wooden cross made from floorboards taken from the first school MacKillop established was placed on the steps.

Born in 1842, MacKillop grew up in poverty as the first of eight children of Scottish immigrants. She moved to the farming town of Penola, in South Australia, to become a teacher, inviting the poor and Aborigines in the area to attend free classes in a six-room stable.

She co-founded her order, the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, with the aim of serving the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, particularly through education.

“She supported Aboriginal people because she believed in supporting people who were disadvantaged,” Melissa Brickell, a pilgrim from Melbourne who was in Rome for today’s service, said.

“She is a friend of Aboriginal people from the early days.”


Posted October 17, 2010 by dmacc502 in Catholic, Pope

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