Environmental Issues in Australia By Leah Burns Readings and Resources Markus, N. 2009 On Our Watch: The Race to Save Australia’s Environment. Carlton: Melbourne University Press. The Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts: http://www.environment.gov.au/ Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, Jan 2010 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs @.nsf/mf/4613.0/ Overview The Australian Environment Threats to the Environment Consequences of those Threats Exercise Ways of protecting the Environment Multiple Choice Questions Next writing workshop The Australian Environment Very large continent: 7.6 million km2 Diverse environment 18 world heritage listed sites Endemic flora and fauna 85% flowering plants, 84% mammals, 45% birds, and 89% fish Australia has the greatest number of reptiles of any country: 755 species Driest habitable continent on earth Australian Fauna Monotremes - egg laying mammals Echidna Threats to the Environment Climate Change What is climate change? “long-term changes in climate, including average temperature and rainfall” (www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change.aspx) Since the beginning of the 20th Century, Australia has an increase of 0.8 degrees C in average temperatures The Kyoto Protocol Australia's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the world Land Clearing Farming Agriculture The major use of land in Australia – 60% or 454 million hectares Livestock (cattle and sheep) Mining 0.02% of the land Logging Urbanisation Over 80% of Australians live in urban centres within 50km of the coast and these areas make up only about 1% of the total land mass of Australia. Drought Water use ¾ water used by agricultural and pastoral sectors (Markus 2009:21) The world’s driest continent 2/3rds of the country is arid or semi-arid and only partly habitable due to the lack of permanent water Climate and annual rainfall are highly variable Only 6% of Australia’s land is classed as arable Population Currently 22.7 million Expect 30 million by 2050 (Markus 2009:18) Urbanisation (high density in coastal cities) Consequences Pollution Soil Salinity 17 million hectares in Australia will be at risk of serious dryland salinity problems by 2050 (National Land and Resources Audit) Loss of Biodiversity and Loss of Habitat Species Extinction Since European arrival 220 years ago: 104 plant and animal species = extinct. 88 = currently critically endangered 1502 = endangered, vulnerable or conservation dependent (Markus 2009:27). Dwarf Emu, Kaka, Lesser Bilby, Tasmanian Tiger Exercise Form groups based on the topic you have chosen Discuss this topic, in the context of the Australian Environment, in your group You will be asked to present your ideas back to the class based on, Why your topic is important, and How it should be protected Ways of Protecting the Environment Legislation Conservation E.g., protected areas Local and Global Initiatives E.g., indigenous knowledge 1. How many world heritage listed sites exist currently in Australia? a. none b. five c. ten d. eighteen 2. Australia has 755 species of what? a. flowering plants b. mammals c. reptiles d. birds 3. Which of the following is NOT true? a. Australia is the largest country in the world b. Australia is a very old continent c. Australia is the driest habitable continent on earth d. fire has been a major force in shaping Australia’s landscape 4. Which of the following species are monotremes? a. kangaroo and emu b. koala and possum c. echidna and platypus d. dingo and sugar glider 5. What is climate change? a. global warming b. long-term changes in climate, including average temperature and rainfall c. the gradual increase of the Earth’s average surface temperature, due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. d. a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere 6. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, Australia has an increase in average temperatures of: a. 0.3 degrees C b. 0.8 degrees C c. 0.12 degrees F d. 2 degrees C 7. Australia's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are: a. among the highest in the world b. among the lowest in the world c. the same as Norway’s d. lower than most Asian countries 8. Which of the following forms of land use is responsible for most of the land clearing in Australia? a. Mining b. Logging c. Urbanisation d. Agriculture 9. Which of the following activities is responsible for the most water use in Australia? a. filling swimming pools b. agriculture and animal farming c. industry d. watering gardens 10. Australia’s current population is 22.7 million. What is it expected to be by the year 2050? a. 20 million b. 25 million c. 30 million d. 35 million References Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 2010 http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change.aspx Markus, N. 2009 On Our Watch: The Race to Save Australia’s Environment. Carlton: Melbourne University Press. The Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts: http://www.environment.gov.au/ Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, Jan 2010 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4613.