Away from the public gaze, serious threats to the environment keep rising
Threats to the Australian environment get reported in bursts – a contested development decision or a particular conservation campaign can thrust an issue into the headlines and on to the nightly news bulletins for weeks before a deal is crunched and a “solution” heralded.
But the “solutions” are often illusory and the actual threats keep rising, away from the scrutiny of the political and news cycles.
As the last five-yearly and independent “state of the environment report” found: “The main pressures facing the Australian environment today are the same as in 2011: climate change, land use change, habitat fragmentation and degradation, and invasive species,” with interactions between them amplifying the threats.
It noted that in a few cases (such as air quality and poor agricultural practices) the pressures had eased, but in most (such as grazing, invasive species, habitat destruction, coalmining and urban growth) they had worsened.
After 30 years of environment reporting, on and off, it’s evident that the “deals” to end headline-grabbing environmental battles often aren’t enduring solutions at all, with the scrapping continuing away from the national public gaze.
photo credit: Stefan Fisher