Melbourne. The destruction of Australian ecosystems has received little attention in reviews of climate change. While it is entirely possible to save them. Australia’s Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory need to make conservation efforts for the Australian koala species, which is listed as an endangered species in the year 2022. At least 39 native mammal species have become extinct since the European colonization of Australia some 230 years ago.
The Australian continent, home to extraordinary and unique plants and animals, now has more than 1,900 threatened species and ecological communities. Ecosystems from the tropics to Antarctica are showing signs of collapse, including the Great Barrier Reef. Ecologists and conservation biologists have been warning about the widespread destruction of nature for decades. Then in 2019 an intergovernmental body confirmed that many, many people are underlining that we are in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.
Using the fossil record as a reference for ‘normal’ rates of extinction, we find that extinction rates are now hundreds or thousands of times higher than we expected. It is a crisis no less devastating than climate change, but it gets far less of our attention. Very few people recognize the need to deal with climate change, environmental destruction and extinction in an integrated manner. A lot of attention has been paid globally to deal with the problem of climate change.
But climate change is one dimension. Although we are facing a big crisis of environment and extinction of organisms. Without substantial increases in investment in conservation, habitat destruction and modification, invasive species, pollution and disease will remain major threats. If we expect things to change, we need strong environmental legislation, not weak environmental legislation.
And ultimately if environmental degradation is to be halted, we must confront the main causes of these issues which include consumption and unsustainable living. Protecting forests on land or under water helps to conserve and store carbon, which in turn helps fight climate change. It also provides home for countless species. Increasing whale populations can increase the productivity of the oceans. Australia currently spends about A$120 million a year on the conservation and recovery of targeted threatened species.