THE ENVIRONMENT It is the total of our surroundings, all the things around us with which we interact Due to the pressures of population and technology, the environment is being degraded. This has been recognized, and governments have begun placing restraints on activities seen to be causing degradation. Since the 1960s, the environmental movement has created awareness of environmental issues. However, the extent of the environmental impact of human activity is hotly debated, and protection measures severely criticised. THE ENVIRONMENT Continents, oceans, clouds, soil, rocks Our built environment, and human-created living centres Social relationships and institutions THE ENVIRONMENT Our survival depends on a healthy, functioning planet. We are part of the natural world. Our interactions with it matter a great deal. DILEMMA (noun) Unsatisfactory choices Argument leading to undesirable choice (for one party at least) Quandary Catch 22 Problem 12 • Top scientists urge governments to solve environmental 'dilemmas' • Demand for water and energy, natural disasters and measuring carbon dioxide must be prioritised, leading institutions say. CONSERVATION Environmental conservation is important because if we waste our natural resources we will eventually run out of them. Without forests and plants there would be no oxygen for us to breathe. ANTI ENVIRONMENTALISM Conservative groups in society have opposed environmentalists, arguing that environmental action is pointless, expensive and against the economy. ANTI ENVIRONMENTALISM One step taken was to allege a conspiracy theory with scientists making “false” claims that the environment is threatened because of human behaviour! SUSTAINABILITY We are increasing our burden on the planet each year o Population growth, affluence, consumption Nature capital: the accumulated wealth of Earth o We are withdrawing our planet’s natural capital 30% faster than it is being produced. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES The nine listed here deserve attention. We will deal briefly with each. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 1. People 2. Energy Resources 3. Flora and Fauna 4. Land 5. Water ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 6. Food 7. Extreme weather 8. Volcanic events 9. Air 1. PEOPLE WORLD AUSTRALIA Paradoxically, the most effective way to stabilise population growth is to raise living standards. As men (and certainly women) gain increased access to health services, become better educated and more financially secure they tend to have fewer children. There has been little population debate in Australia. It has been assumed that growth is a necessary part of development . As we approach the 23 million mark, we need to address the issue of sustainability – how many can be reasonably supported in this environment. 2 DECLINING ENERGY RESOURCES SUBSTANCES AND ENERGY SOURCES NEEDED FOR SURVIVAL 3. FLORA AND FAUNA 4. LAND LAND DEGRADATION 5 WATER SHORTAGE OF PURE WATER 6 FOOD FOOD SHORTAGE OTHER ISSUES 7. Storms, floods, droughts 8. Tsunamis, volcanic events 9. Air contamination PLANNING Planning is necessary for effective management and implementation of environmental protection, but it often remains more of an ideal than a reality. PLANNING Although environmental concerns and agendas are increasing, current approaches are sectional and frequently unsustainable. For example, we need to have roads, trains, buses and ferries talking to each other. 85 FINALLY A LITTLE BIT OF ENVIRONMENT AL PREHISTORY ABORIGINAL LAND MANAGEMENT This book records that people used fire (and no fire) not just to create grasslands, but to distribute plants carefully and attract specific animals. Historical research reveals that Indigenous people made long-term, precise and detailed management of the land possible. In the last 70,000 years fire became more frequent as Aboriginals used it as a tool to drive game, to produce a green flush of new growth to attract animals, and to open up impenetrable forest. Densely grown areas became open water retaining forest, forests became grassland. Firetolerant species became predominant: in particular, eucalyptus and acacia.