Purpose

The purpose of this website is to promote discussion of ideas to promote a vision for leaving a heritage for the future of this planet.  It aims to promote and develop ideas and principles that enable conservation and sustainability.

 

Following are some of the major inter-related issues of concern:

 

Climate change

We are in a situation of climate emergency.  The increase in global warming over the last 50 years has already produced irreparable loss of species and habitat.  There are no real reasons for questioning the work of climate scientists.  Immediate changes need to be made to reduce carbon emissions and to stop deforestation.  Carbon trading must not result in clearing forests for revegetation and any revegetation projects need to be sustainable in terms of water use.  People need to be made aware of the reality of climate change and its consequences.

 

Overpopulation

A situation in which world economies depend on population growth and on further clearing of diminishing areas remnant vegetation is nothing short of insanity.  The world needs to learn to manage population growth before running out of resources and the resulting humanitarian disasters.  Climate change threatens to reduce the habitat suitable for humans by reducing the areas for agriculture and loss of land in highly populated areas due to sea-level rise.  The current high levels of population are not sustainable and are causing irreparable loss of habitat for other species.

 

Sustainability

An economy that relies on growth and exploitation of non-renewable resources is unsustainable.  One indication of unsustainability is reliance on desalination for water supply for cities.  Water use is a critical for sustainability.  Enough water needs to be left in natural watercourses to allow healthy ecosystems.  Agriculture needs to learn to manage without using artificial fertilisers, particularly minded phosphates.  Indeed, we need to stop using our mined resources as though our use in the next few decades is all that matters.  Our near-surface deposits are all we have for all time.  Changes to agricultural practices are needed, particularly regarding livestock.

 

Preventing loss of natural habitat

Further loss of irreplaceable natural habitat should be a top priority of governments around the world.  Developing countries should set the example and stop destruction of old-growth forests.  Systems need to be in place to ensure the control of invasive species that threaten areas that provide habitat for native flora and fauna.

 

Water

Water from natural drainage systems is commonly over allocated in terms of agricultural use.  Upstream collection of water is preventing sustainable water flows so that communities down-stream miss out.  Systems need to be in place to recognise and prevent this.

 

Energy

The use of fossil fuels, particularly coal, needs to be stopped as soon as possible to reduce the impact on climate change and acidification of the ocean.  Renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal should be exploited as long as they do not threaten natural habitat and ecosystems.  Nuclear energy that relies on uranium concentration, with its threat of use in nuclear weapons, should be phased out.  Integrated Fast Breeder reactors have the potential for replacing the use of fossil fuels, although the impacts of mining and processing of uranium ore need to be kept to a minium.

 

Acidification of the ocean

Most of the surface of our planet consists of oceans and these are the main sink for excess carbon dioxide produced from the burning of fossil fuels.  The increased absorption by the oceans results in acidification and this is a major threat on biodiversity in the oceans.  This will affect fisheries and human populations that are dependant on the oceans for food.  This threat is adequate reason for stopping the use of fossil fuels irrespective of the threat of climate change.

 

Economic systems

Carbon trading is an economic system that, if properly implemented, would place pressure on industries to reduce carbon emissions and to compensate by the planting of trees.  Left by itself carbon trading has the potential to cause further deforestation in order to allow for generation of bio-fuels and for planting of trees.  This deforestation would result in an overall increase in carbon in the atmosphere.  There needs to be complementary systems in place to prevent any consequential deforestation or unsustainable water use to support forest plantations.

 

Promoting interest in flora and fauna

Generally people are ignorant of the wonders of native flora and fauna around them.  An aim of Heritage Bushcare has been to promote knowledge of the local plants.  It would be good to develop a model for providing information on local flora and fauna that can be applied in other areas.

 

Recruiting volunteer assistance

Large populations of people should provide the resources for reducing the threat of invasive species.  People should be proud that their local environment of their own yard, their road verge and the closest area of remnant vegetation or revegetation site are undergoing active reduction of invasive species.

 

Cultural changes

A large variety of cultural changes are required to improve the sustainability of our society.  These include changing the way housing and work is planned so that there is less reliance on cars and even on public transport.  Local industries and food production should be promoted.  There should be a change from keeping lawns and roses to lower maintenance gardens that enhance local biodiversity.  There should be a change from keeping harmful pets such as cats and dogs.  Keeping of horses uses large areas of land at the margins of cities and they are a potential carrier of weeds and disease to areas of native vegetation.  Almost all use of trail bikes involves trashing of areas of native vegetation.  Their sale and use should be made illegal so as to reduce the areas of native vegetation that are purchased for use of such vehicles.  Biodiversity trading is another approach that would reduce their use.

 

Culling of overpopulated native animals

Some native birds and animals have burgeoned in numbers as the result of human activity and cause a threat to local biodiversity.  In South Australia these include koalas, some species of kangaroos and corellas (white cockatoos).  While there are passionate but misdirected people opposed to appropriate management of these species, some kind of control is required to allow native vegetation to regenerate and to remove pressure on declining species, such as those competing for tree hollows for nesting.

 

Political decision making processes

In a democracy the emphasis can be on winning the next election rather than on sustainable management of resources.  This process can thrive on maintaining prejudices, false perceptions and general ignorance of the facts.  The Internet provides a means of bypassing the popular media which has a pressure to compete with other media sources to grab attention and maintain daily content.  Governments which focus on the economy favour development at the expense of biodiversity.  This is reinforces by political donations to parties that are not aligned towards conservation and protecting the environment.  The Internet provides the opportunity to only allow informed discussion; potential contributors that display ignorance of the issues would need to demonstrate that they have considered the issues so that they are not contributing to uninformed debate.

 

Fire management

Fire management can be influenced by political decision making.  Major fires that result in human tragedy can lead to inappropriate reactions such as clearing of native vegetation and adoption of inappropriate fire regimes.  There needs to be appropriate controls to stop urban sprawl into dangerous situations.  It is not acceptable for people to invade bushland areas and then demand clearing to make their houses safe.  The extremes of management seem to be adopted: fuel reduction burns can be too frequent and cause loss of biodiversity and increase in weeds that make the situation more dangerous, or no fire is permitted and large areas tend to burn in the worst conditions in singular uncontrolled events.

 

Solutions

There are many sites that list the problems and issues that need to be addressed.  It is an objective for this site to recognise solutions and strategies to solve address these issues.

 

Feedback on the above is welcome.

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