Climate change, pollution and deforestation are putting Australian nature under enormous 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 at risk of extinction.
The number of endangered species in Australia has increased by eight percent in the past five years. In addition, due to climate change, all the ecosystems in the country are under increasing pressure. These are some of the dramatic findings of the state of the Environment Report 2021. The five-year list is published by the Department of Environment. Commentators and media Down Under described the results as “shocking” and spoke of “catastrophic loss of wildlife and habitat”.
More than 30 experts collected data for two years. It covers every aspect of Australia’s environment, from rivers and oceans to wind and ice, rural and urban areas. Reading the latest report was “thinking”, the University of Sydney commented.
According to researchers, since its colonization in 1788, 39 mammal species have gone extinct on the Red Continent—more than on any other continent. At the same time, 80 percent of the country’s nearly 400 mammal species live in Australia alone, including the cuckoo, wombat and egg-laying platypus. 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 endangered species list or are now classified as “critically endangered”. . Overall, the number of endangered animal and plant species has increased over the past five years from 1774 to 1918.
One of the main reasons for this is the destruction of natural habitat. According to the report, about 7.7 million hectares of land was cleared in Australia between 2000 and 2017. But the devastating bushfires of 2019-2020 badly affected the wildlife too.
“Overall, Australia’s environmental conditions and development are poor and continue to deteriorate due to increasing pressure from climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction,” the report said. This has a negative impact not only on people’s health, but also on their standard of living and their cultural and spiritual fulfillment.
Scott Morrison’s previous Conservative government, which was heavily criticized for its passive stance on environmental policy, had already received the report in December 2021, but was put on hold due to the general elections in May. On the other hand, the new government of Anthony Albanese has made the fight against climate change a key item on its agenda. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the report reflects “more than a decade of inaction and willful ignorance”.