Earth is currently the only planet in existence with life and it has been thriving with life for possibly back to 4 billion years ago. Unfortunately, the human race has only existed for about 200,000 yrs of that time and within the last few centuries we have managed to put the entire world in peril. Human activity is really the only reason that global warming, over population, deforestation, pollution and many other environmental problems with the world. The human race may be the most intelligent species on Earth but it also has managed to be the species that put the world on the brink of destruction. I personally think that environmental issues should be the world’s top issue right now as that is the definitely the most imminent danger that every living thing is facing right now. Many nations are only finding solutions for the short-term but this is completely ignoring the longevity the planet that we all live on. It is very discouraging to see many world leaders (and even a United States presidential candidate) dismiss and completely ignore these extreme danger that the world is in.
Australia faces many environmental problems and climate issues as well as it is not an exception to the contribution to the destruction of the world. The World Wide Fund (WWF) has listed many of the environmental problems in Australia. Some of the issues include:
Deforestation is when forests are teared down and cut down to make more land for farming. When forests are cut, the salinity of the soil can greatly increase. Salinity is the amount of salt in water. The saline water draining from these certain areas can affect downstream or flow of water down. There is an estimation that around seven percent of the agricultural area of western Australia is suffering from this problem following deforestation.
Agriculture clearing and over grazing is clearing activities for agricultural land. Around 13 percent of Australia’s original vegetation has been removed since European settlement. Overgrazing is one of the primary causes of problems on biodiversity in Australia. Grazing and other agricultural attempts at improvement have merely changed the vast areas of grasslands and open grassy woodlands. In temperate ecosystems, about 2 precent of the original grasslands only remain. Moreover, overgrazing promotes desertification and erosion, and is also seen as one cause of the spread of invasive plants.
Overfishing has decreased part of Australia’s fish population to very record low levels. Two major factors account for this problem are the fact that some areas have low biological productivity , along intensive fishing efforts by commercial and recreational fisheries. This prevents the fish from reproducing as a normal rate. In 2005, about 20 percent of species that were observed and assessed in Australian waters were classified as overfished. Species that are currently still subjected to overfishing and are overfished include the southern bluefin tuna; blue warehou; silver trevally; orange roughy; and bigeye tuna in the Pacific and Indian Oceans beyond the Australian Fishing Zone.
Illegal fishing is another factor that places further pressure on some species. Fishes such as the patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean and sharks in northern Australian waters are now potentially endangered.
It is estimated that Australia gains around 20 new pests or diseases each year. Some well-known examples include cane toads, rabbits, willows and, more recently, black striped mussels and red fire ants. Historically, feral cats, foxes and rabbits have been a cause of local extinctions and significant reductions in range for native species through a combination of habitat modification and predation. They are a major ongoing problem.
Of continuing concern for Australia’s is continued population growth along the coastline. The formation of massive metropolitan centers with increasing population density on Australia’s coasts could possibly displace much valuable biodiversity and ‘high-value’ agricultural land.
There are many different organizations that address issues that were mentioned and many others not mentioned. There are over 60 organizations in Australia that are Australia based and do not include the international. Today, I will focus one locally based group, the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF).
AEF’s website states that they are “a not-for-profit, membership-based environmental organization having no political affiliation. [AEF] takes an evidence-based, solution focused approach to environmental issues.”They have recently written an article about International Policy developments. The discuss how the Obama administration along with others are pushing for less carbon emissions.
There are other groups such as the Australian Conservation Foundation where their goal is for ecological sustainability.