How can we address the causes of climate change and other damage to the environment – whether local or global?
What’s the problem?
According to the CSIRO, Australia has the capacity to pursue economic growth, sustainable resource use and reduced environmental pressures simultaneously. However this will not happen automatically.
Over two centuries of economic growth have put undeniable pressure on the water catchments, landscapes, and ecological systems that underpin our well-being. We have also had a disproportionate impact on the atmosphere.
Changing these trends requires a conscious effort and a willingness to manage the associated trade-offs and risks.
Seven things you need to know
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. Its ocean territory is the world's third largest, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometres.
Australia is one of the most urbanised and coast-dwelling populations in the world. More than 80 per cent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast.
Australia has around 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity and is one of the 17 megadiverse countries that together account for almost 70 per cent of the world's species.
More than 80 per cent of Australia's mammals, reptiles, frogs and flowering plants are unique to Australia, along with many of its freshwater fish and almost half its birds.
Australia has one of the worst extinction records of any country. And more than 1,850 animals and plants are listed as threatened under Commonwealth legislation (the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).
350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere is generally considered the maximum ‘safe level’ for avoiding dangerous climate change. Atmospheric measurements showed that the globally averaged monthly mean carbon dioxide levels hit 400ppm in March 2015.
Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the OECD, with 26 tonnes of greenhouse gasses being emitted per person every year.