Switching focus on to global climate change
From capturing the aftermath of storms in the Philippines to showing the reality of the coal industry in Australia’s Latrobe Valley, photographer Michael Hall has done it all.
It was after a near-fatal cycling accident that Hall, a Kiwi now based in Sydney, began what’s become a decade-long project exploring human impact upon the world’s environment.
‘‘I got run over and just about lost my life so it took me a while to get my capabilities back and there was a lot of pent-up energy that I put into getting myself well so could get my thoughts out through my camera.
‘‘It’s been a personal journey for me, in the first instance, I became curious about climate change and decided to discover, and understand for myself, what was going on.’’
Hall is back in New Zealand for Photival, Wellington’s annual documentary photography festival. As the keynote speaker, he’s been tasked with sharing not only his photography skills but also his journey.
‘‘I’ve gone to a lot of destinations to put this puzzle together. It’s been a big project which has taken a long time but I feel like I’ve gained so much insight through my camera.
‘‘[After the accident] I started to understand that I could play a part in being an educator so this new found energy that I had could be channelled into this project.’’
While his primary focus has been on capturing images overseas, after cycling the length of New Zealand, Hall became acutely aware that the country is far from off the hook.
‘‘I’d always thought this was a problem outside of New Zealand but it’s become a problem just as much here.
‘‘I think dairy farming has been really detrimental.
‘‘Our rivers are completely The United Nations is investigating senior staff based in Fiji over allegations of sexual misconduct.
The male staffers work for the World Food Programme, which has an office of about 15 people in Suva.
A United Nations spokeswoman based in Bangkok confirmed a ‘‘number of allegations’’ had been made about senior staff members at the office.
‘‘As a result, World Food Programme has decided to investigate formally,’’ she said on Thursday.
‘‘At this stage it would not be appropriate to comment further.’’
A United Nations staffer, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the allegations against the two staff members surfaced last week.
Both men had been suspended pending a formal investigation, the staffer said.
The allegations had been made by up to three female staff members at the World Food Programme in Suva.
Morale had taken a hit in United Nations circles in the Pacific in subsequent days, with staff frustrated and disappointed, the staffer added.
‘‘I would hope they employ an independent panel to undertake this inquiry.’’
The United Nations spokeswoman would not confirm whether the staff members had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
The spokeswoman also would not give any details about the allegations.
The World Food Programme is the food aid arm of the United Nations and one of several United Nations operations in Fiji at present.
It provides food assistance during emergencies and supports economic and social development.