Aslan Shand, acting editor
The review of Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA) recently released made it abundantly clear that the laws protecting our environment and species that depend on it in Australia are woefully inadequate. This is compounded by an overriding attitude that we, as humans, have the right to use the ‘resources’ that are just sitting out there doing nothing until we find a use for them.
But those resources are far from ‘doing nothing’. They are ensuring that the planet can continue to support life, including humans. As long as the dominant narrative doesn’t give value to what the plants, animals, soil, and the planet’s atmosphere provide, it allows us to willingly, or unwillingly, be led down a path that undermines life as we know it on Earth.
On 17 August it was reported that Greenland’s ice sheet, the largest single contributor to ocean levels rising, has melted beyond the point of no return. This should be ringing alarm bells.
There are millions of signs telling us that if we don’t take action now, then we will end up with a seriously depleted planet – not in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren, but in our lifetimes.
In Australia some of us are aware of the obvious dangers. Protesters have been out at COVID-safe ‘pop-up protests’ on the lack of action to save Australia’s iconic koalas, and on the federal government’s ignorant drive to continue to support coal and gas extraction as a way forward after the pandemic.
It is easy to feel powerless in a world that seems far outside of our control, but there are many contributions everyone can make at myriad levels. For many of us it starts with thinking about what we buy at the shops, for others it is planting trees, or reminding politicians at all levels of government that they should be acting in the best interests of all the world’s citizens.
For others it is laying their lives on the line. A record number of people, 212, were killed in the last year for ‘defending their land and environment’ according to a report in the Guardian on 29 July.
But there is hope – from the quiet dedication of those defending the threatened hummingbird, to the noisier and disruptive actions of activist groups like Extinction Rebellion.
The question is, what action are you going to take? What choices will you make to shift the balance towards a future that is creating the change we need to see?
The planet will go on without us, but we can’t go on without this planet. We are just one thread in the amazing web that is this small, water-filled planet flying through space. It is so easy to forget how magical that really is.