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State of the Environment Report: Australia is shocked by the state of its natural environment

“Catastrophic Losses”
Australians shocked by environment report

Climate change, pollution and deforestation are putting Australian nature under massive pressure. A paper by the Environment Ministry now shows the extent of the destruction: the country’s biodiversity is rapidly declining, and more and more animals are threatened with extinction.

The number of endangered species in Australia has increased by eight per cent in the past five years. Also, climate change is increasing pressure on all ecosystems in the country. These are some of the dramatic findings of the Environment Report 2021. A five-year assessment is published by the Department of Environment. Commentators and the media Down Under called the results “shocking” and a “catastrophic loss of wildlife and habitat”.

More than 30 experts collected data over two years. It covers every aspect of Australia’s environment, from rivers and oceans to wind and snow, rural and urban areas. The University of Sydney commented that it was “relieving” to read the latest report.

Since its colonization in 1788, 39 mammal species have gone extinct on the Red Continent — more than any other continent, according to researchers. At the same time, 80 percent of the country’s nearly 400 mammal species live in Australia alone, including koalas, wombats and egg-laying platypuses. Since the publication of the last report in 2016, 17 species of mammals, 17 species of birds and 19 species of frogs have been added to the list of threatened species or are now classified as “endangered”. Overall, the number of endangered animal and plant species has increased from 1,774 to 1,918 in the past five years.

One of the main reasons is loss of natural habitat. According to the report, about 7.7 million hectares of land were cleared in Australia between 2000 and 2017. But the Devastating wildfires 2019-2020 It has seriously affected the animal world.

“Overall, the state and development of Australia’s environment is poor and continues to deteriorate due to increasing pressures from climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction,” the report says. This has a negative impact not only on people’s health but also on their quality of life and their cultural and spiritual satisfaction.

Conservative Scott Morrison’s previous government, heavily criticized for its inaction on environmental policy, it had already received a report in December 2021 but put it on hold due to general elections in May. On the other hand, the new government of Anthony Albanese has made the fight against climate change high on its agenda. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the report reflected “more than a decade of inaction and willful ignorance”.

(This article was first published on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.)