Australia's Pending Ecological Collapse

June 29, 2004

OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Glen Barry, Ph.D., Forests.org

Australia is experiencing ecological collapse on a continental scale. The same environmental catastrophes are playing themselves out around the world. But in Australia we see the western culture's cavalier attitude towards the environment juxtaposed upon an arid region with relatively few lush, fertile areas. In Australia's land one can seen the future, and it is not pretty. Ancient forests continue to be felled to make paper, soils are made barren by salt deposition, the Great Barrier reef is silted, and water and energy are wasted despite their scarcity. In Australia we are witnessing the effects of deforestation, climate change and water mismanagement earlier and more clearly. Horrendously wasteful over-use of land, water and the atmosphere's waste holding capacity are laying waste to a continent.

As the magnitude of the crisis unfolds, slowly the country's politicians are realizing the seriousness of the situation. But tinkering around the edges of environmental policy will not sustain Australia. Radical plans to conserve Australia (and the world's) water, forests and atmosphere are our only hope. This will include an end to industrial logging in most natural forests, abandoning marginal farmland, and making water and air use more efficient, or barring this, stopping activities that impact them.

More fundamentally, the lies of perpetual economic growth and petroleum dependent societies must be shattered. Less ambitious programs of environmental conservation are window-dressing.

Below you will find a startling overview of Australia's ecological condition, and two modest efforts to address the situation - barring development adjacent to the Daintree rainforest and a new water management system. Perhaps the Australian public and body politic are waking up?

Nothing to show but a wasteland

Drought-Hit Australia Plans to Save Ailing Rivers


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Juni 2004

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