State of the Environment Report
The recent release of State of the Environment Report 2021 is a part of a five yearly status report by independent scientists for the Australian Government to analyse the current status of the ecosystem and flora and fauna in Australia.
The current report confirms the damning status of Australia’s ecosystem and its immense pressure on our native flora and fauna. The Report highlights the impacts of land clearing, invasive species, resource extraction and the compounding impacts of climate change to our wildlife and ecosystem.
The Report also highlights climate change as already affecting all aspects of our environment. Extreme events are becoming more evident and the frequency and intensity of these events becoming higher. Every individual has been impacted by the effect of climate change, both directly and indirectly.
Every ecosystem in Australia faces some level of strain due to climate change, land use change, resource extraction and habitat loss. Moreover, at least 19 Australian ecosystems have shown the signs of collapse or near collapse. One of the most noticeable ecosystem change is in our Giant Kelp Forest in Tasmania to shorter common Kelp.
Tasmanian ocean water is getting warmer and is in the process of ‘tropicalisation’ which is pushing warmer-water species further south and absorbing more carbon dioxide than the rest of the oceans around the world. This is making our ocean more acidic and susceptible to more bleaching. The Antarctic environment is facing catastrophic impacts due to increased temperature and loss of species.
Our wetlands are severely impacted and have reduced ecosystem function of the wetlands. Southern and south western wetlands are in ‘very poor’ condition due to significant pressure on aquatic ecosystem. We are losing more species in the last decade than we have lost in the last century. About 85% of the species are endemic to Australia and nowhere to be found and we keep exploring more species here. Australia accounts for 10% of the global flora and 533 animals and 1,385 plants are listed as Threatened under EPBCA 1999. Out of these listed species, more than 53% are endangered or critically endangered. The trend of listing species under EPBCA is increasing every year.
We all have a role to play to protect and enhance our unique home that we share with millions of other species. Responsible resource extraction, use and management is key to co-survival of the environment.
Local Government plays a vital role in conservation of our natural resources and optimising the benefits they provide to us. Sorell Council continues to learn from its experience, from other Councils and from the broader scientific communities. We continue to keep improving and enhancing our capacity as natural resource managers to benefit our local communities.
We are also doing our part by implementing the following projects:
- Updating all street lights to LED lights to conserve energy use and use of energy efficient electrical equipment.
- Installing solar panels in many of our community halls and facilities, and our office building to reduce our dependency on conventional energy sources.
- Facilitating recycling centres, including a special items recycling facility in our offices, to reduce what goes to landfill.
- Partnership with regional businesses like Boomerang Alliance to implement projects such as Plastic Free Places to help local businesses reduce their usage of single use plastics.
- Regular and proactive monitoring for fire hazards in residential areas to protect our already vulnerable biodiversity.
- Improving the health of Council managed reserves, parks and roads by weed control programs and fire hazardmanagement and focusing on natural growth of the native species.
- Our flood modelling completed in 2020 considers climate change in its assessment.
There are simple things we can do as a community to collectively work towards protecting our environment for the sake of every species on earth:
- Minimising the resources we use by reducing, reusing, recycling and managing waste at its source.
- Improving our energy use efficiency by switching to more efficient appliances, turning off devices while not in use, repairing devices rather than replacing them and sharing devices for co-use.
- Transferring indigenous knowledge to new generations.
- Decreasing our ecological footprint by selecting resources that are more sustainable and have longer lifespans.
- Using bicycles and public transport where possible for frequent use and walking for shorter trips.
- Advocate for your workplace to use common transport initiatives or transition to electric vehicles where possible.
- Organise responsible group eco-tours rather than individual vacation.
- Have more awareness around our environment – make sure introduced species are not leaked into our environment, our cats and other pets are kept within our boundaries and they do not interact with native wild species.
- Improve our social environment by responsible eco-tourism, give helping hands for community work and appreciate communities and community groups for their work on conservation.
- Always look for the ways to reduce plastic consumption, avoid or reduce the use of resource intensive products.
For more information and further reading on the State of Environment please visit the website below: