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Green Dean

Fri 8 Jun 2007 In: True Stories WayBack Archive National Library

Dean Williams TV reporter Jaquie Brown dubbed Dean Williams ‘Green Dean' when she asked him to host the 'Green Desk' segment on student radio station 95bFM. Nine years of broadcasting later, Tuesday 12th June 2007 will be his last show on bFM. Openly-gay Dean also co-produces and presents Radio New Zealand National's science and environment show 'Our Changing World.' He's an award-winning environmental feature maker, science journalist, keen organic gardener, studied biology and in his early career says he used to be an environmental activist. Dean leaves next month for a year in the Southern Asian country of Cambodia – widely noted to be one of the most corrupt countries on earth, with wide income disparity and international aid funds getting transferred illegally into private accounts. He explains why he's uprooting himself from the comfort of New Zealand to plunge into the rigours of Cambodia: “I leave in July for a year's sabbatical to volunteer for the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) in the tourist town of Siem Reap, famous for the 9th century Ankor temple complex. I visited the region last year, as part of an Asia New Zealand Foundation Award to report on sustainable development. I found the level of poverty there heart rending, and after seeing the good work by aid organisations there, I decided to go back and help. The ACCB is a grassroots organisation, working at village level to provide families with an income that doesn't rely on handouts. Half of Cambodia's population is under eighteen years old, the Pol Pot regime in the late 1970's and 80's wiped out about 3 million people, food is scarce, landmines are plentiful, and there are all sorts of social problems as a result of civil war and poverty. I'll be working with extremely poor villagers and getting them to diversify their crops and manage their natural resources. To us, it may sound simple but many poor Khmer (Cambodians) toil all day simply to get one meal on the table for their family. There's no time to think about changing the way they do things. I am going to help poor villagers in Cambodia to harvest honey sustainably from giant wild bees and teaching locals to grow vegetables for their tourist hotel market. The average wage is less than a US$1 a day and I've seen the difference projects like this can make. Kids can go to school, there is food on the table, and basic human rights issues can be addressed. Then perhaps the scars of witnessing genocide will be dealt with.” Join Green Dean with an impressive line up of DJ's and performers - Cian, Slow Deck, Sola Rosa, Damon, Steve Able, Caitlin Smith, Dee Za Star and Buckwheat - on 9th June at ‘4:20', upstairs at 373 Karangahape Road, Auckland, to raise funds for the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity. Tickets are available from 'Il Buco' 113 Ponsonby Road, 'The Love Shop' 290 K Road, or at the door from 7pm on the night.     Matt Akersten - 8th June 2007

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Friday, 8th June 2007 - 2:52pm

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