VALE: Professor John Chappell FAA (1940-2018)

It is with great sadness I heard the news last week that my old friend and colleague, John Chappell, passed away. We are of a similar vintage and shared many things in common and times together. He inspired me as he did so many not just in academic terms but as an incredible person; he is the only person I have known who could be called a “polymath”. Read More

Coasts and Legal Systems

The legal framework for environmental law as articulated by James Thornton in his book ClientEarth, refers to enforcement as the fifth stage. This follows four stages consisting of science leading to policy to law to implementation. This fifth stage may in all likelihood involve reference to some form of litigation the results of which may in turn intersect with earlier stages, in particular with policy and changes to legislation depending on the outcome of litigation or recommendations from the inquiries. Opportunities this year to be party to all five stages has made me more aware than ever on how important it is to understand and embrace the approaches and procedures that each stage requires from the various professionals who become part of the decision making process. Read More

Moods of Sydney Harbour

Much has been written about “our harbour”: its geological setting, geomorphic evolution, First Nation settlement, the arrival and impact of the British First Fleet, its natural systems and their degradation, wartime conflict, the ships and yachts, and so on. As one who grew up on its shores and now lives with a view of its waters, here is a personal reflection on some of its moods. Read More

Community Consultation

In 2016, I wrote a series of ACS blogs on the paper by Robert Thompson on “Cultural models and shoreline social conflict” , a most inspiring contribution to coastal management literature. I have used it in teaching on a number of occasions, and in September will be used again in lectures at UNSW and Sydney University. It is ideal for role play and demonstrating diversity of perspectives that people bring to the contested space we call the “coast”. Read More

Managing water quality through regenerative agriculture

Understanding and managing what flows out of coastal catchments into estuaries and ICOLLs is vital to improving the health of our waterways. It was a point made very clear to me at a recent meeting of the new NSW Coastal Council by the waterways science team from OEH and by representatives from those involved with the Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA). Read More

Coastal Dunes - Some Reflections

I have long had a thing about coastal dunes; perhaps it is in my genes? My mother’s family owned property in Sandridge Street, Bondi, and I grew up on the sand plain of Rose Bay. As an undergraduate I had the great joy of digging a pit in our tiny backyard to discover the structure of the iron-humus podzol soil profile—it was fascinating stuff. Read More

Tomorrow's Coasts - Complex and Impermanent

I have just received a copy of a book edited by Don Wright and Reid Nichols entitled Tomorrow’s Coasts: Complex and Impermanent (Springer). It is also Volume 27 in the Coastal Research Library (Ed. Charles Finkl), and is the result of a collaborative synthesis promoted by the Coastal and Environmental Research Committee of the Southeastern Universities Research Association in the USA. Read More

COASTAL CULTURAL MODELS – SOVEREIGNTY PERSPECTIVE

The primary focus of this perspective from his point of view is “individual control, boundaries, exclusion and privacy”. Words like castle, dominion, security, invasion, permanent physical occupation are cited as used in literature and legal cases to characterise the relationship between property rights and individual autonomy. Read More

COASTAL CONFLICT AND CULTURAL MODELS

I was delighted recently to have my attention drawn by Naomi Edwards to a fascinating paper entitled Cultural Models and Shoreline Cultural Conflict. It was written by Robert Thompson of University of Rhode Island in Coastal Management ( 2007, 35,211-237). I know, I should have seen it sooner, but these days I am very grateful to PhD scholars for keeping me up to date with literature. Read More