41 episodes

In ecology, the understorey grows where light shines through the forest canopy.

Our award-winning Understorey journalists highlight local and globally-connected environmental issues that the other media commonly pass over.

RTRFM’s long-running dedicated environment program makers Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth PO’ bring together stories from near and sometimes afar, whether it be conservationists rehabilitating habitat, citizen scientists gathering data, campaigners at the frontline, or decision-makers at their desks, seeking solutions together to the challenges affecting our shared air, water, land and life processes.

Understorey RTRFM

    • Society & Culture

In ecology, the understorey grows where light shines through the forest canopy.

Our award-winning Understorey journalists highlight local and globally-connected environmental issues that the other media commonly pass over.

RTRFM’s long-running dedicated environment program makers Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth PO’ bring together stories from near and sometimes afar, whether it be conservationists rehabilitating habitat, citizen scientists gathering data, campaigners at the frontline, or decision-makers at their desks, seeking solutions together to the challenges affecting our shared air, water, land and life processes.

    Understorey: Fighting Fires

    Understorey: Fighting Fires

    What's it like to be a volunteer firefighter in New South Wales? Understorey reporter Adrian Glamorgan speaks with Paul Cockram, volunteer firey with the Mongarlowe, NSW, Rural Firefighter Service (RFS), in an interview recorded 14 January. We hear a little of what it might be like to head off to a fire, smell the smoke, hear the eucalypts crashing down as flames engulfs one tree after another, and work as a small team to prepare the backburn ahead. Australia's worst summer season of fire has meant some volunteers have contributed 60 days at a stretch, which is why there's now a payment system for volunteers who've worked more than ten. Australia part-compensates the volunteers who go out on a call, knowing the wrong conditions could make it the worst day of the firefighter's life. But the federal government's policy throws up anomalies: it means the richly salaried will receive compensation of up to $300 a day, and the Newstart or pension recipient with nothing. Part 3 in an ongoing series, to resume in a few weeks. (Photos supplied by P.Cockram)

    Understorey: Fiery Reality Bites

    Understorey: Fiery Reality Bites

    Today, as a bushfire burns less than ten kilometres away from Canberra's southernmost suburbs, Understorey picks up more of the story from Alison Sexton-Green (further east towards the coast) who shares stories about the waiting and strain and permanently packed car that represent the daily experience of living in fire-threatened district. We learn about the state government's neglect of national parks, the Murdoch media's enthusiasm for coal at the very moment the bushfires gathered power, and what the community can do to help bushfire-affected areas. (Image: Alison Sexton-Green, 4 January, Monga looking to Deua)

    Understorey: Fire on the Mountain

    Understorey: Fire on the Mountain

    Understorey returns for 2020, wondering what’s it like to face a bushfire coming towards your property? This week we bring part of a conversation with Alison Sexton-Green, on the road out of Braidwood, New South Wales, just before the majestic Clyde Mountain drop, the very place where the fires were heading towards Alison’s small and beautiful rural hideaway, just before Christmas…

    (Photo: NASA, International Space Station view of the Australian bushfires, 4 January 2020)

    Understorey: Climate Emergency 2019~The Premier, Rockingham & COP25

    Understorey: Climate Emergency 2019~The Premier, Rockingham & COP25

    Premier Mark McGowan's enthusiasm for the fossil fuel industry, particularly LNG, puts its undermining effects on Australia's carbon emissions in the shadows. Further overlooked is the climate emergency's impact on the Premier's own Rockingham electorate. According to the government's own findings, within a handful of years it's likely we'll witness rising waters, more energetic tides and salt incursions bearing upon the seaside city. Paddy Cullen from Clean State Campaign is helping voters get this important message across to their own representative, the Premier. Meanwhile, in Madrid, young people at COP25 have been calling for meaningful action from all national governments. From the Marshall Islands to the Mississippi, from The Philippines to the burning farmlands of Australia, humanity's climate emergency has well and truly arrived. (Image: A Glamorgan)

    Understorey: Wild Kimberley Threat

    Understorey: Wild Kimberley Threat

    Tensions between usage rights and culture on the Fitzroy River are at another tipping point in the Kimberley, Western Australia’s remarkable wild north. Environs Kimberley Director, Martin Pritchard, speaks with Understorey about preventable devastation, as criitcally endangered species collapse. With a tiny electoral population they need our help adding voices to the push for better environmental policy to protect the precious ‘boom and bust’ Fitzroy River. More information at https://www.environskimberley.org.au/saving_the_fitzroy_river (Photo: A. Glamorgan)

    Understorey: A Tern for the Better

    Understorey: A Tern for the Better

    Terrestrial and marine ecologist Dr Nic Dunlop has just had his longstanding work with seabirds and climate, and wide support of environmental issues, recognised through the Conservation Council's prestigious Bessie Rischbieth Award. Dr Dunlop’s researches indicators of marine ecosystems and island, bat, climate change and landscape ecology. He has championed multi-decade projects protecting and tracking the population dynamics of fairy terns, identifying stable populations here in WA, but elsewhere in Australia and New Zealand finding it vulnerable and even critically endangered. Understorey interviewed Dr Dunlop on Saturday, just before Dr Carmen Lawrence announced the award, to learn more about the canny and beautiful traveller around our shores. (Photo: E PO')

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