Vote for Nature

Depressing though it is, it is nevertheless important to acknowledge that today we are witnessing the loss of biodiversity at rates never before seen in human history. According to the UN IPBES report released last week over a million species are at risk of extinction.

Australia has an opportunity to lead with new environmental laws at the federal level to curtail this loss. We will know at the weekend whether we have the maturity and cohesion of purpose to move forward on this urgent path.

The rate of extinctions is hardly news to many of us in Australia. We already know that one out of three mammal extinctions globally over the last 400 years have been in Australia. More than 1,700 species of animals and plants are listed currently by the Australia Government as being at risk of extinction. The recent release of the first national review of threatened species monitoring shows Australia is a world leader in causing species extinctions, in part because Australia’s system for conserving natural heritage is grossly inadequate at federal and state levels of government.

Both the IPBES report and the Senate’s Interim Report on Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis are calling for transformative change in the way we position ourselves in relation to nature as well as the need to fundamentally rework our environmental legislative frameworks.

Current biodiversity laws and policies don’t adequately address the threats to the natural world. We need to include biodiversity considerations across all sectors and jurisdictions to prevent further degradation of natural systems. All of us have an important role in rallying our governments to ensure this occurs.

National environment organisations are already well advanced on the development of new environmental laws, based on empirical science, which will address the crisis of extinction. The Australian Conservation Foundation as well as many other similar groups are championing the Blueprint For The Next Generation Of Environmental Law developed by the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law. The ALP and the Greens have accepted the need for this type of policy change in their policies.

Please think about this when you are considering your vote on Saturday.

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