Today, 5 June, is World Environment Day and the theme is ‘Time for Nature’. It is a theme that asks you to consider the fact that the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate of the earth are what allows us to exist and inhabit this small blue dot in the ever expanding universe.
Today, you and everyone else on this planet (and off it) are being asked to take notice, raise your voices and remember that without a habitable earth we no longer have a home.
To mark World Environment Day the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is calling upon people to raise their voices to demand that state and federal governments take urgent action to avoid climate chaos by hastening the transition to genuine renewable energy, while at the same time increasing the removal of atmospheric carbon by protecting existing forests and increasing regeneration.
Severe impacts already being felt
Our country is already being ravished by droughts, heatwaves and bushfires fed by climate heating, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
‘With many populations of Australia’s unique species crashing, the Great Barrier Reef dying before our eyes, and rainforests burning, we need to raise our voices now and demand action.
‘If we heat the planet by just another degree over 99 per cent of the world’s coral reefs will be gone and the mass die off of trees in tropical rainforests will make 75 per cent of them into carbon sources rather than sinks.
‘We can’t afford to lose our forests as we rely upon them to absorb one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels. Without forests to mop up our mess we have no chance of avoiding the worst.
‘Halting the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and promoting their restoration have the potential to contribute over one-third of the total climate change mitigation that scientists say is required by 2030
‘Logging has more than halved the carbon stored in north-east NSW’s State forests, and now the Forestry Corporation want to reduce it further by burning 400,000 tonnes of trees every year for electricity. This is to displace genuine renewable energy
‘If logging of north-east NSW’s native forests were stopped tomorrow they would begin sequestering in the order of 26 per cent of NSW’s annual carbon emissions as they regain their lost carbon.
‘We need to urgently stop logging of public native forests and offer private owners financial incentives to protect their forests.
‘In 2018/19 land clearing in NSW increased from a long-term average of 2,700 hectares per year to 45,553 hectares. Increasing land-clearing in a climate emergency is akin to pouring petrol onto the flames. It has to stop.
‘As last year’s fires showed time is fast running out. People must now raise their voices to stop our descent into climate chaos,’ Mr Pugh said.
It is time to listen to what nature is telling us, that we need to take care of our home. It is time to take action to protect the planet and everyone’s future.