700+ Australian Species at the Brink of Extinction

In 1770, Captain James Cook first saw the east coast of Australia and was amazed at the variety of wildlife found. Just a couple of centuries later, Australia is facing the extinction of many different types of animals not found anywhere else on the planet. It is amazing what just a couple of hundred years can do, but the thing to remember is that even though it has got this far, something can still be done to help protect the animals that are facing extinction all over Australia.

Australia is Diverse

One of the most amazing things about Australia to the Westerners when they first arrived was the diversity of life on the island. Flora and fauna unseen before existed all over the island. Over the years, a couple things had the biggest effect on the disappearance of so many animals.

  • Loss of Habitat – This is one of the main reasons that so many animals have become extinct over the years. As people began to settle across Australia, they began to upset the balance of the natural world.

  • Invasive Species – In addition to losing land, animals and plants in Australia have had to deal with an influx of other species – large and small. This has had a large effect on the animal population over the years.

Both of these reasons are man-made, really. These events were set in motion by Westerners arriving in Australia.

Hidden Species Disappearing Too

While the numbers of known rare animals and those that are facing extinction is high, there is a good chance there are some species that haven’t been discovered yet that are in danger. Biodiversity is important for the ecosystem as a whole. And the more healthy the ecosystem is, the better quality of life we as Aussies can expect. Helping to save animals that are facing extinction because of a love of animals is noble, but when it comes down to it, saving the ecosystem and the Australian way of life is even more crucial.

What You Can do About Extinction of Australian Animals

  • Donate to FAME – The Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species is an important player in the battle to save the Tasmanian devil and many other animals (including fish) that are facing extinction in Australia.

  • Leave a Donation in Your Will – If you’d rather wait until after you’re gone to do something to help, adding something in your last will and testament to donate some of your estate to one or more organisations that work to save wildlife in Australia is a good idea.

Top 5 threats to Australia’s Environment

In modern Australia, it’s more important than ever for us to protect our wildlife and environment. While we’ve always done something as a country to try to help protect our land, over the years certain threats have popped up over and over again. By taking a look at the top five threats to Australia’s environment, hopefully we can come to a decision on what needs to be done and to get it done – the Aussie way.

Deforestation

While Australia may not have ever been known for it’s lush forests, the trees we do have are being cut down and harvested at an alarming rate. This has many serious side effects, including soil erosion. In order to stop the island from one day just washing away completely, we need to pay more attention to the rates of deforestation and to put plans in place to replace the trees we do cut down to use.

Aggressive Farming

Farming has been a part of the Australian way of life since the country was founded. That said, over-using or abusing the land has serious consequences. While there may be short-term gains by overworking the land for crops or grazing, this will eventually come back to haunt us in a very big way. Our food supply is of utmost importance, and should be something we regulate for the long term.

Illegal Fishing

Fishing is another part of Aussie life and has been for a long time. At the same time, there are people who fish illegally that go beyond limits or fish where they’re not supposed to be fishing. This has a big effect on the overall fishing situation in Australia. Treating our water as a national treasure – which it is – something should be done to stop those who are profiting from illegal fishing.

Import of Other Species

While many may think they’re doing no harm by sneaking this or that animal into the country, there’s a reason laws are in place to protect the environment. Bringing an animal into Australia, you never know what else you’re bringing with it. With more and more people doing this, the effect on Australian wildlife could be huge – in a negative way.

Pollution

In addition to the problems above, the overall levels of pollution being let into the air over Australia is a serious problem that must be faced in the 21st century. While there’s no way to stop all pollution in Australia without us losing our current lifestyle, there are things that can be done to cut down the number of emissions being let into the sky above our country.

Top 5 Fixes for Environment in Australia

As you can clearly see, these are some serious problems facing our country. If anyone can fix some of the problems with the environment, it’s us. The Aussie spirit is enough for us to surmount these problems and move ahead into the 21st century clearly – with fresher air and water too.

Meat Free Monday

While reading the latest GOOP newsletter (from Gwyneth Paltrow) I came across an interesting website started by Sir Paul McCartney and his family, called Meat Free Monday. They are encouraging people to eat less meat as a way to reduce our impact on the environment:

Meat Free Monday is an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption. Many people are unaware that livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the entire transport sector.

To build a better world in the future we all need to make changes in our lifestyles now. Not all the changes we have to make are easy; and not all the easy changes we can make are meaningful. But making just one day a week a meat-free day, really is the little thing that can make a big difference. For instance, the group Compassion in World Farming estimates that if the average UK household halved its consumption of meat this would cut more emissions than if car use was cut in half. By making a simple change in the way you eat, you are taking part in a world changing campaign where what’s good for you is also good for the planet.

It’s an interesting idea and I think it shows that by making small changes in our daily lives, we can have a great impact on the environment.

Check out their UK site for more information and how to get involved.

Why it’s Important to Buy Local Produce

Here in Australia, it seems that the days of the small time farmer are over in a lot of ways. After all, you can buy pretty much any produce you need at incredibly low prices at the supermarket and these are often perfect-looking. There are no spots on them, they are bright and clean, and they are easy to obtain… we just go to the supermarket and buy them.

However, there are a few things to consider before you go out and buy produce from a super huge chain and that is the fact that local, organic food is better for you then what you are getting at the supermarket. Yes, you may think that fresh fruit is organic just because it is fresh, but this is not the case. Buying local, organic food is not only better for you, but for the planet too and here’s why.

Why It’s Important to Buy Local Produce

For one, buying local means that your money is staying in the local community. This helps to build a stronger basis for business in your small town, which will in turn help to make the local economy stronger. The local economy counts for most of the jobs and revenue in your area, so why go spend your money someplace that is just going to ship the money out to another place? Spend your money locally on farmers and produce growers who have invested in the local community and you will help yourself out as well. Besides, there are advantages to knowing the person who grows your food. You can ask then what kind of additives they put in it… how they handle it, and how organic it really is. This will help you to eat healthier food than you would be getting in the big stores.

Buying organic food is also better for you, but it is also better for the planet. Organic food did not cause tons of toxic pesticides to be sprayed into the ground. Organic food did not cause the pollution of local water supplies and organic food is food that did not come from chemically burned out soil fertilised with artificial toxins and poisons that are seeping not only into the water but into the vegetables themselves!

Buying local, organic food just makes good sense all around. It is better for your, better for your community, and better for the planet.

Bottled Water vs Tap Water

You may think that bottled water is the way to go, right? After all, it is clean… it is convenient, it is portable, and best of all, it is cheap… you don’t have to do anything fancy, you can just pick up a case of it at the local supermarket, and drink from it all week!

Well, that might be what a lot of people think about bottled water, but there is one serious truth about bottled water that most people don’t think about… that the bottled water industry is hurting our planet in more ways than you can imagine! How? Well, here are just a few of the ways in which bottled water is negatively affecting the world around us.

Bottled Water vs Tap Water

First of all, what does bottled water come in? A bottle! This bottle is usually made from plastic and plastic is resistant to moisture because it needs to hold water inside! Plastic has a very, very long rate of decomposition, which means that it will sit in a land fill for years before it starts to decompose. And when it does finally decompose, it will let harmful chemicals enter our soil, hurting the water supply, plant life, and everything else in the food chain. Think of how many bottles of water you throw away per day? Well, multiply that by millions, and you will start to see how many of these plastic bottles are thrown away, each and every day, into landfills.

Second of all, even if the plastic bottles were not enough of a problem, there is the transportation of the water itself. Transporting bottled water all over Australia costs a lot of money every year in fuel costs, and where do you think that fuel ends up? It ends up in our atmosphere as exhaust. It then rains toxic chemicals down into our oceans when it rains, which in turn hurts fish and pollutes our planet. All of this fuel being used hauling bottled water around does indeed make a huge difference! The amount of carbon dioxide and monoxide in the air is continuing to grow, and since more and more trees are being destroyed, we are not getting as much oxygen as we should be. The result? A massively destructive practice that, no matter how innocent it seems to be, is playing a part in killing our planet!

What can you do instead? Invest a little bit of money into a water filter for your home. You can then use one bottle, and keep filling it up and re-using it! This is a very eco friendly practice that can help curb the amount of damage being done to our earth as a result of bottled water production and transportation.

Solar Cooking

A stove powered by the sun is making a big difference in impoverished countries.

Save Water by Using grey Water

As most Australians are, you are probably concerned right now with matters of an eco friendly nature. You are probably wondering what you can do to help conserve energy, water, and other resources around you so that less waste is produced and more resources are utilised over time. One of the basic resources that everyone uses is water, and since this is such a precious commodity, it is no wonder why Australians all over are switching to more water efficient systems so that they can utilise this precious resource a lot more effectively.

Australia, especially because of it’s rainy and dry seasons, is a perfect candidate for water renewal, because rain does not always fall regularly in the dry season. But what is something that everyone can do to help conserve and save water?

Save Water by Using Grey Water

Well, anyone who lives in Australia can help save water by using grey water around the home. Grey water is the water waste that you send down the drain from your sinks, your shower, your washing machine, etc. everything but the toilet sends grey water into the ground. But you cannot use grey water again for drinking, right? No, you cannot, but you can utilise it for a few things, and here are some:

First, you can use it to water grass. If you irrigate your drain properly so that it sends the water out into your yard, you will have healthier looking grass in no time! Another thing you can do is to irrigate your gardens with it. This grey water does contain some contaminants (bleach, soap, etc. ), but most of your garden plants will be fine from receiving grey water for nourishment. You can also install grey water systems that allow you to harness and use grey water in other ways too!

The bottom line is that, most homes use up to 40 litres of water per person per day! That is a lot of grey water, and this water could be going to better use. Why use 30 litres of fresh water to water your grass when grey water would work just as good? In fact, if you completely wanted to use grey water to its fullest potential, you could even use it for things like washing your car or to wash down your verandah.

Northern and Southern Platypus

From National Geographic:

National Geographic researchers are trying to collect DNA samples from these odd duck-billed mammals to determine whether there are separate subspecies.

Klm to Fly Using Biofuels

KLM Airlines has started testing flights using a combination of sustainable biofuel and regular kerosene. From KLM:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be the first airline in the world to make a demonstration flight on bio-kerosene with a select group of passengers. This will also be the first ever flight in Europe on bio-kerosene. On 23 November 2009, KLM will operate a flight using Boeing 747 equipment. One of the aircraft engines will be running on a fuel mixture made up of 50% sustainable bio-fuel and 50% traditional kerosene.

Eco Geek goes into a bit more detail about the fuel used:

The biofuel being used in this test flight will be made from camelina, a feedstock that produces 84 percent less emissions than regular jet fuel and has proven to be a low-impact crop, requiring less water and fertilizer and can grow in areas where food crops won’t be displaced.

Other test flights have been done using other feedstocks like jatropha and without passengers with positive results, but this will be the first using a purely camelina biofuel and with people (other than the pilot) onboard.

Hopefully we’ll see more testing and then it can be introduced into commercial flights.

Household Wind Turbines

Part of a growing trend, a Danish family of seven has installed its own wind turbine to produce all the electricity the family needs while reducing its carbon footprint.