A normal week, another loss of koala habitat for new housing estates, of forest to provide jobs in the logging industry, of land clearance for gas development and agriculture. As Dr David Shearman writes, the litany of destruction is relentless. Australia is participating in a worldwide biodiversity crisis, in which thousands of species are threatened or have become extinct. The climate emergency is the main cause, but there are many others which emanate from economic growth and its consumption of natural resources.
The Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) in 2017 produced a comprehensive plan for laws to effectively protect biodiversity and the natural environment. The Panel recommended establishing a statutory National Sustainability Commission (NSC), of equivalent importance to that provided by the Reserve Bank. It would establish and monitor the evidence on Australia’s sustainability and provide solutions for government which could be delivered nationwide by a national Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Our rural sector plays an important role in biodiversity and land management.
Recently the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s special report Climate Change and Land highlights the need for prioritising the sustainability of the nation’s rural sector, for we depend on this sector for food sustainability.
Indeed ultimately the health and wellbeing of all of us depends on the sustainability of our rural friends. This is the reason a doctor is writing this article.
Dr David Shearman, AM FRACP, is a founder of Doctors for the Environment Australia and an emeritus Professor of Medicine at Adelaide University.
Read the full article in the Canberra Times, 20 August 2019