The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Ltd
By Peter Griggs
Recently, Tracey and I were fortunate to spend some time in Japan. A very noticeable feature of the crowds in the streets and on the trains were those who I identified as ‘stooped’ – elderly Japanese hunched over walking frames, moving slowly along with the assistance of walking sticks or being pushed in wheelchairs. Several of our guides on day trips announced that they were officially ‘retired’ but were continuing to work in a part-time capacity. Many taxi drivers appeared to be elderly. Officials wearing blue uniforms and directing traffic were often elderly.
The figures in Table 1 show currently that Japan has just over a quarter of its population aged over 65 years, the highest percentage for all countries. Globally, the country has the highest elderly dependency ratio (i.e. the number of over 65-year old citizens dependent upon 100 employed adults) and the highest median age for any national population (i.e. middle value).
Table 1. Demographic figures for selected countries, 2017 estimates
Japan has reached this situation due to a combination of two factors. The country, like Australia, Canada and the USA, experienced a ‘baby boom’ after World War II. The total Japanese population rose from 71.9 million (1945) to 111.9 million (1975). This trend has coincided with increased life expectancies. Today, Japan has the world’s highest life expectancy, so all those people born after 1945 have an increased chance of surviving into their eighties (or beyond).
The implications for Japan are profound. To support so many elderly, the country must maintain its economic prosperity. This task will provide its leaders a challenge, especially at a time when the Japanese population is predicted to shrink from 125 million (2020) to 107 million (2050) due to the country’s very low birth rates. Current Japanese workers may have to come to terms with the idea that they will be required to work until the age of seventy (or beyond), and that they will have to pay higher taxes to support so many elderly persons. Innovative solutions to caring for so many aged, such as the use of robots, may become more common.
Finally, from a global perspective, the world (and Japan) is in uncharted territory. Five hundred years ago, the life expectancy of some-one living in England was around 38-40 years of age. Currently, the world and individual countries have never had so many aged persons, and the numbers are likely to increase, especially in China where the current number of people aged over 65 is expected to rise from 123 million to 440 million by 2050.
There are no trends or insights from the past to guide global leaders in formulating policies to accommodate the ‘stooped’ generation. What is probable, however, is that these elderly will not be silent and that their sheer numbers will create new political movements, demanding a greater share of national resources to care for their aged members.
“The Corporate Geography of Australian Cities: Tracking change in ASX-Listed Firm Headquarters, 2013-2016” By Thomas Sigler
Dr. Sigler’s research was picked up by the Australian Financial Review, Dec 7 2017.
Congratulations to Professor Tor Hundloe
Emeritus Professor Tor Hundloe of UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been appointed as a member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)’s Qualifications Accreditation Board (QAS) for a period of 3 years from 27 April 2018.
The creation of the EIANZ-QAS is a milestone achievement in the development of the environment profession in Australia and New Zealand. The QAS will do much to encourage the development of a quality education for those choosing to enter the profession and progress in their careers. Professor Hundloe is a founding member of the EIANZ, was the inaugural President and was awarded Life Membership in 1991. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2003. In 2010, he was awarded the Individual Award by the United Nations Association of Australia Associations - citation 'An Environmental Pioneer'.
Among his authored books are The Value of Water in a Drying Climate (2012), The Gold Coast Transformed (2015), Australia’s Role in Feeding the World”(2016) and Adani versus the Black-throated Finch” (2017). https://sees.uq.edu.au/profile/9170/tor-hundloe
Dear Members, I would like to bring you up to date on some recent activities and to express some acknowledgements.
The search for new RGSQ premises: We are continuing investigation of various properties. The Gregory House Committee has been very busy, working with our real estate representative, to identify suitable properties within 7km of the CBD. A BIG THANK YOU to committee members, Bob Abnett, Paul Broad, Chris Spriggs and Bernard for their efforts in this regard. From the many properties reviewed so far, RGSQ Council has inspected and seriously considered six buildings, located in Rocklea, Toowong and Milton. While the buildings were attractive in many ways, all have drawbacks of one kind or another relating to location, price, size, layout, etc. Council has considered the pros and cons of each property with a great deal of discussion. The reality is, however, that we will probably need to compromise on some aspect of a new building. Nowhere is perfect, and you will recall that the decision to sell 237 Milton Road was, in part, determined by the fact that our current building had some major problems. We are seeking the best possible option for RGSQ future requirements and will not rush into a purchase without extensive consideration and background research. I hope to have more positive news on this over the next month or so. Meanwhile, the Society will lease our current office and meeting spaces at 237 Milton Road until the end of the year if we need to do so. Monthly meetings/lectures continue on the first Tuesdays of the month at Magda Community Artz Hall.
The Australian Geography Competition (AGC) has been very successful this year, with 782 schools and over 72,000 students participating across Australia, an increase from 2017. The AGC is RGSQ’s most effective activity in promoting Geography in high schools. A BIG THANK YOU to the AGC Committee for their dedication in organising the AGC, to Bernard and Lilia for coordinating the AGC and creating AGC materials and to all RGSQ volunteers who work tirelessly to pack the nearly 4 tonnes of materials into envelopes, satchels and parcels for the mail-out to schools on time. Students take part in the competition in schools from 17 to 31 May.
The top male and female students in Year 11 from each State and the combined Territories, participate in the annual Geography's Big Week Out, (GBWO), a six-day event on Kangaroo Island, South Australia in early October 2018. This exercise focuses on fieldwork, spatial technologies and analytical skills, allowing selection of Australia's team for the following year’s International Geography Olympiad (iGeo). This will be held this year in early August in Quebec City, Canada.
The new RGSQ website: The new Society website has been launched! Check it out at https://rgsq.org.au.
A BIG THANK YOU to the website committee, Graham Rees, John Fairbairn, Ian Francis, Lilia and Bernard for the considerable time and effort that has gone into creating and setting up this much-improved website which will be a valuable portal for the Society in reaching out to members and the wider world. Among other features, the new website will allow members to look up the latest calendar of the Society’s events, activities and lectures, renew and pay annual memberships online and access a private section where every individual RGSQ member can login to see information for “members only”.
To find out more, come along to the Tuesday June 5th evening meeting at the Magda Community Artz Hall for a “show and tell” presentation followed by hands-on assistance with using the new website. Members of the website committee will be available to answer questions. You are welcome to bring along your laptop to “play around” on the website at the meeting. There will be some laptops for use on the night for those who are unable to bring a device.
Dr Iraphne Childs, President
We have much pleasure in welcoming Dr Jonathan Corcoran and Mr Matthew Dale as new members. We hope your association with your new Society is long and mutually enjoyable.
On behalf of all RGSQ members, I have much pleasure in welcoming Mr Kent Olive, Miss Shannon Boyce, Miss Bonnie Wu, Miss Sienna Blanckensee, Miss Cassandra Malley, Miss Lindsey File, Mr Benjamin Priebenow, Miss Tamera Summerill, Miss Julia Marler, Miss Grace Marion Derrick, Miss Gail Gregson, Ms Jennifer Allen and Mr John Saint-Smith as new members. We hope your association with your new Society is long and mutually enjoyable.
Iraphne Childs, President
The Ken Sutton Memorial Library Group requires volunteers who would be willing to assist with organising RGSQ library material. No experience needed. If you are interested, please email Peter Griggs
Professor Iain Hay, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Geography and Dean (Education) in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University has been re-elected as one of the three Vice-Presidents on the Executive Committee of the International Geographical Union for the period 2018-2022. The other two VPs are from Italy and China. It is an honour to have Prof. Hay represent Australia on this peak international body for Geography.
The winner of the 2018 Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Prize for the highest achieving student graduating from the geography major at the USC announced.
The Faculty of Arts, Business and Law at the University of the Sunshine Coast held its annual Awards and Prizes Ceremony on Tuesday, the 27th of March. Ms Bethany Williams-Holthouse was the 2018 winner, having received a grade point average of 6.82 (out of a possible 7) for her Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours) program, and a grade point average of 6.875 (out of a possible 7.0) for the geography major in the program. Bethany is now working as a strategic planner for the Bundaberg Regional Council, which she enjoys very much. Bethany said that she loved geography, and that everything about geography has helped her in her present work with the Council.
Photo: Associate Professor Jen Carter with Bethany Williams-Holthouse, Awards and Prizes Ceremony March 2017.
Dear Members, the Gold Coast XXI Commonwealth Games this April marked the fifth time that Australia has hosted the Games – it was previously held in Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006). In 2018, 6600 athletes and team officials from 71 nations participated. The country with the largest contingent of 473 athletes, not surprisingly as the host, was Australia. The opening ceremony with a kaleidoscope of brightly attired competitors carrying national flags set me thinking more broadly about the role of the Commonwealth in global affairs in 2018.
After decolonisation of the British Empire, the London Declaration of 1949 changed the name from the British Commonwealth to the Commonwealth of Nations. Member states include republics and indigenous monarchies as "free and equal" nations, sharing English as a common official language and having democratic parliamentary systems. The Commonwealth recognises Queen Elizabeth II as its Head although not all countries were former British colonies. The newest members, Rwanda and Mozambique, have a very limited connection to British history but see trade advantages in joining the Commonwealth.
Debate persists as to the relevance of the Commonwealth today. Critics describe it as “neo-colonialist”, as being dominated by former colonial nations and for not taking action against member countries guilty of human rights abuses. Proponents argue the benefits of shared values, trade opportunities and cite the more human aspect, the “People's Commonwealth" comprising voluntary, professional, philanthropic and sporting organisations that work to improve the lives of people in member countries. The bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) discusses issues affecting the organisation and each member country. Equal representation for all member states gives the 31 smaller nations an international platform they may not otherwise have.
The Commonwealth Games is the highest profile international event sponsored by the Commonwealth of Nations.
Australia’s winning bid for the 2018 Games was announced in 2011 in Basseterre, the capital city of Saint Kitts. I was not familiar with the Geography of this small country but here’s what I discovered ...
The twin-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis is located in the West Indies Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, approximately 1,300 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. The two main volcanic islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, have high central peaks covered in tropical rainforest. The numerous streams descending from the mountains provide fresh water for both islands. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population. The name St. Kitts is a shortened form of its official name, St. Christopher, given to it by Christopher Columbus when he landed there in 1493. St. Kitts was Britain's first colony in the West Indies founded in 1623. In 1983, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis gained independence. The inhabitants call themselves Kittitians. Nevis is named after the Spanish word for snow - not because there is any! But because of the white cloud usually around the island's peak. The inhabitants are known as Nevisians. In 2016 the population of St.Kitts and Nevis was 54,821, most of whom identified as Anglican Christians. English is the official language but Saint Kitts Creole is also widely spoken. The economic landscape is dominated by tourism, former sugar plantations and light manufacturing.
There is now a thriving offshore-banking sector, an international financial centre and the regional Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange. There is no income tax, corporation tax or withholding tax on profits in the Federation.
St. Kitts and Nevis had a total of seven competitors in the 2018 Gold Coast Games in the beach volleyball, athletics and table-tennis events.
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/is-the-commonwealth-of-nations-still-relevant March 12 2018
The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Ltd
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