Climate change and pollution have immensely increased every day and this rise is beginning to take a serious toll on Australia’s environment and wildlife. Modern Australians habits, lifestyles and attitudes have caused severe problems on wildlife and nature that will continue getting more serious unless action is taken. This essay will be discussing how climate change and pollution is affecting Australia’s environment and how the ideas to solve these problems are being discussed and addressed. Both pollution and waste production are ever-increasing and are huge problems caused by modern Australians.
Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels to make energy have been on the rise and the increasing population does not help that problem. Landfills and litter are two other huge problems effecting Australia’s natural wildlife and ecosystems. Whilst the consequences of these problems are severe, steps are being taken by the Australian Government and public to help raise awareness and help to reduce the problems of greenhouse gas emissions and trash. The Australian lifestyle has left a devastating amount of destruction affecting the natural Australian wildlife and environment.
However Australians have become more aware of these problems and are actively trying to take steps to help the environment improve and recover. Climate change and global warming are huge issues for both Australia and the entire world. Australia is a large producer of air pollution, with an ever increasing production of greenhouse gases and burning of fossil fuels due to a constant growth of population. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) there was a 1% increase of average energy used by Australians compared to 2009.
The increase of energy use is to be expected with the ever-expanding growth of both population and industries such as mining however the growth is not healthy for the environment. CO2, methane and other gasses get trapped in the atmosphere, which then traps heat and warms the planet (Australian Academy of Science 2010). Increased temperatures mean hotter and dryer weather for Australia, which increases the risks of fires, droughts, storms and other natural disasters. The warming of the planet affects all walks of life on Earth, from marine mammals to humans. Australia’s average temperature has risen 0. 7oC since the 1960’s.
The rapidly increasing temperature and decreasing rainfall is a huge threat to the Australian native wildlife in many ways. It has already started to destroy natural habitats and increase threatening, non-native species to increase pressure to already threatened species. More invasive non-native species such as cane toads will flourish and overthrow native wildlife due to the depletion of native Australian wildlife to compete with (World Wildlife Fund For Nature 2008). These problems are slowly getting more publicity, and there are steps being put into place to help reduce the effects of climate change troubling Australia.
Many different ideas and solutions have been devised by the Australian Government and the Australian public. These ideas have arisen to help lower the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to help improve the natural environment’s health and to reduce further damage. According to the Australian Academy of Science (2010), CO2 emissions need to be half of what they were in 2000 to significantly reduce global warming by 2050. This is a huge problem because with the ever increasing population growth, more energy is needed to be used, but most of the energy being produced is by burning fossil fuels which is not sustainable.
Global action is being taken to stop global warming the planet by over 2oC and Australia needs to majorly reduce emissions to help this global cause (Climate Change Authority 2014). Simple steps can be taken by average Australians to reduce their carbon footprint with minimal effort. Walking or catching public transport, turning off lights when they are not needed, recycling anything possible and drying clothes outside rather than using a dryer are a few examples of many simple ideas that when put to use greatly reduce the energy usage of individual people (State Government Victoria Department of Health 2011).
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) around 74% of Australians questioned in an interview were concerned about climate change, which is evident in many different ways. One way it is evident from the growing amount of solar panels present in households, growing from 118 in 2001 to 639,803 in 2011, this is a huge growth that greatly improves Australians green energy usage potential. Just over 14% of Australians energy usage has been from renewable energy.
If renewable energy such as solar, wind or geothermal energy increases further, Australians could potentially save $1. billion dollars a year in energy costs in 2020 (Clean Energy Council 2013). Small steps have been successfully taken to begin the path to greener energy in Australia and slowly the effects of these changes will show in the reduction of harmful gasses emitted into the atmosphere, which will help the native Australian wildlife and land recover. Landfill and rubbish are also huge complications to the Australian wildlife and environment and the modern Australian lifestyle has caused a huge increase of waste pollution and production.
Glass, aluminium, plastics, polystyrene and numerous other miscellaneous items such as cigarette butts can all be found littered all over Australia and in Australian waters (Clean Up Australia 2010). According to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (2011) around 100,000 marine mammals are killed every year due to rubbish and debris in waterways, not including birds and other creatures, and around seven tonnes of trash finds its way into the ocean each year globally.
Both marine and land animals can both be caught in stray nets, or think that some plastic is some food, which can end up killing the animals. Each Australian on average produces two tonnes of waste annually, with most waste ending up in landfill (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection 2013). Landfills are the producer of toxic chemicals that can enter waterways and the land affecting both plant and animal life (Clean Up Australia LTD 2009).
There are many ways that Australia can improve their recycling habits which would dramatically improve the environment’s health and save resources. Australians have now become more aware of how the incorrect disposal of waste can lead to problems for the environment and have taken many huge leaps forward to improve habits to benefit the environment. There have been legislations put into place by some states, one example of this is the Waste Avoidance and Recourse Recovery Act.
This Act is to make people abide by waste management options such as stopping unnecessary resource consumption and to reuse and recycle (Climate Change Authority 2014). The benefits of recycling are very notable, recycling reduces the use of resources, saves energy and reduces landfill sizes which improves the environment’s health. For example, when one aluminium can get recycled, that saves enough energy to run a television for three hours (Clean Up Australia LTD 2009).
Refuse, reuse and recycle is a stance most commonly known as it is easy to remember and easy to do. Refuse any packaging or bags that you don’t need, reuse anything possible and to recycle any materials that can be recycled (Clean Up Australia LTD 2009). Organisations have been created to encourage the conservation of Australia’s ecosystems. Clean Up Australia Day run by the organisation Clean Up is one of Australia’s largest community event geared towards saving the environment, and has been running for over 20 years (Clean Up Australia 2010).
Many small steps have been taken by Australians and every little piece of recycling helps keep energy usage and rubbish production lower and improves the health of Australia’s land, wildlife and ecosystems. The modern Australian lifestyle has caused many problems for the land, wildlife and natural environment of Australia, however many preventative measures have been devised by the government and the public to help reduce the effects of these problems and to help preserve the remaining healthy wildlife and habitats.
Greenhouse gasses are largely contributing to the global warming crisis and Australia as a large first world country, is a huge contributor to the problems affecting the natural environment. If the planet’s temperature rises an additional 2o Celsius this could cause dramatic harm to Australia. Pollution and trash are also huge problems for the native Australian wildlife and ecosystems. Animals can get trapped or eat litter causing harm or death, and landfill produces both harmful gasses and toxic liquids that pollute the air, land and waterways.
Awareness of these issues has risen exponentially and many different options to reduce carbon footprints are being taken by the public, organisations and the Australian Government. Refuse, reuse and recycle is an easy and memorable process, which every Australian can do in their day to day life. Whilst the modern Australian lifestyle has harshly effected the environment of Australia, progressive steps are being taken for a greener and healthier future, which will greatly increase the chance of helping the natural environment.