Forty-one new species of Australian animals and plants are now on the official list of those edging to extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the only environment group which has UN observer status.
This group gets advice from 10,000 international experts — nothing to be ignored!
Already Australia is the world leader in biodiversity loss – 54 animals, including one in 10 native mammals, have become extinct since white settlement. More than 1300 flora species and 450 fauna species are also threatened. This is due mostly to habitat loss, climate change and pollution plus feral pest species.
According to the World Heritage Convention advisory body and even the Federal Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Australia has no clear strategies, financial investments or other ways to bring about change in this downward spiral, despite various efforts to achieve this.
The current national plan has 10 strategies and only one of its national targets has been met with no means for showing how any achievement would be evaluated.
Not surprising then the outlook for our native species is dismal despite the size of the loss increasing annually. No plans provide any means of addressing the continuing loss of ecosystems on which all species depend.
Governments are doing little if anything to address this problem as the results show. They always give in to pressures of industry and development, with continual largescale clearing in Queensland making Australia one of the countries responsible for 80 per cent of the world’s deforestation. Australia is the only developed country now on the watch front for global deforestation.
The Worldwide Fund for Nature estimate 3 million hectares of eastern Australian forests will be lost in the next 15 years due to land clearing which continues unabated. This is largely due to pressure for land from the burgeoning livestock industry. It is estimated 1500 football fields of native woodland are cleared every day in Queensland alone.
East Gippsland especially has massive deforestation with State Government logging and with such logging continuing unabated in much of Victoria. This is happening despite the fact that one quarter of Australia’s greenhouse gases is caused by deforestation!
I am reminded of Pete Seeger’s everlasting; “When will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?”
I rather fear that we will learn only when we are facing the last tree/animal, plant/ bird/plants and that we will then plaintively ask – where did we go wrong and what can we do to turn this around? All way too late I am afraid – the time to act is now!
It is time we as people in our communities demanded this extinction stop in this town, this state and this country and demand every state and federal government sign up to real change with clear annual targets and independent monitoring to ensure it happens.
It is time we all stood up strongly together against any more logging and clearing until we genuinely tackle this loss of biodiversity and can ensure we have a viable survival plan for all our existing species.
Viki Sinclair, Mirboo North.