Switch­ing fo­cus on to global cli­mate change

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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