Kangaroo in the bushfires
The last four months has been devastating for the Australian Environment with bushfires ravaging forests and habitats: from North Queensland rainforests never expected to burn, to the wet Eucalypt forests of East Gippsland. From the scrublands in Western Australia to the unique ecosystems and habitats on Kangaroo Island off the South Australian Coast.
These bushfires have been driven by clear climate factors. A warming in Australia during 2019 of 1.5C, with more frequent extreme heat events, a record deficiency in rainfall (also partly driven by climate factors) and reduced soil moisture increasing the dry ‘fuel load’ in the environment, and a long term increase in Forest Fire Danger Index and fire weather.
Australia is Burning by the numbers (to 8 Jan): Source: France24
- 10.7 million hectares now burnt (8 Jan)
- Over 1 billion wildlife affected (a conservative estimate) Extinction event likely for some species
- 400m tonnes CO2 Emissions (Australia’s annual emissions are 528MT)
- Over 2000 homes destroyed (many more sheds & structures)
- 26 people dead
- Current fires: NSW 129 fires, Vic 40 fires
- Smoke air pollution choking capital cities (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne) and many regional towns in SE Australia
- $700m in insurance claims so far
Six of Australia’s prominent conservation biology, ecology and fire scientists have authored an article at The Conversation published 9 January explaining “We estimate most of the range and population of between 20 and 100 threatened species will have been burnt. Such species include the long-footed potoroo, Kangaroo Island’s glossy black-cockatoo and the Spring midge orchid.”
“The continued existence of such species was already tenuous. Their chances of survival are now much lower again.”
When I started raising concerns about the Kangaroos in Northern memorial Park, I thought this was a fairly simple issue about their welfare in the face of cemetery development.
After a meeting with Cemetery staff I am now reassured about their continuing welfare.
But as I made wider enquiries I discovered further issues with regard to Moreland Council’s lack of action in developing a Biodiversity Strategy.
Matted Flax lilly
Here in the City of Moreland we have a highly urbanised environment, but we still have parks and creeks that permeate through our suburbs. A wealth of natural species, including at least 36 threatened species, manage to co-exist with human settlement and all of our buildings and roads.
Today – September 7 – is National Threatened Species Day, and we should pay attention to the species threatened with extinction in both our local environment and nationally.
Here in Moreland some species have learnt to live among the houses and roads and in the street trees we have planted.
Many more live in the parkland environments along watercourses and flood mitigation basins and wetlands, including along Merri Creek, Moonee Ponds Creek and Merlynston Creek.
A few find some refuge along the Upfield rail verge. Some find solace and nesting holes in mature trees and live among our dead in the Fawkner and Northern Memorial Cemeteries.
At least 36 threatened species partially live or visit Moreland. Many are bird species which visit the area, but we also have moths, lizards, dragons, fish, frogs, flying foxes and grassland flowers. Each is unique.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt achievements
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that he will call a double dissolution election for Saturday July 2. Time to review the Abbott/Turnbull record on the environment.
Climate Action Moreland reports on a recent public opinion survey that 57 per cent of Australians think the Australian Government is not doing enough on climate change and want to see more climate action.
The Australian Conservation Foundation have prepared a list of the Good, The bad, and the inconclusive achievements of the Government with Environment Minister Greg Hunt. You be the judge:
The Abbott/Turnbull Government environmental record
We’ve examined the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s environmental record and found much more bad than good.
As the federal election draws nearer, it’s worth remembering the world we hand on to future generations is the result of decisions our elected representatives make today.