The Australian economy devastating wildlife

Koalas
  • 30% decline of total population in 3 years; the state of New South Wales was worst with a 41% decline in 3 years.
  • Now extinct in 47 electorates and only one electorate, Mayo in the Mt Lofty Ranges of South Australia, has more than 5,000 koalas.
  • Every region across Australia saw a decline in population – there were no upward trends.
  • Some regions have remaining populations estimated to be as small as just 5-10 koalas.
Woodland birds in Mt Lofty Ranges of South Australia
  • Population has dropped by 45% in the 20 years since 2001.
  • Scientists say the trend is a sign that the ecosystem is on the verge of collapse.
  • The causes are frequent prescribed burning (some bird species require long-unburnt habitat), land management, and an increase in pests and weeds.

Half of global coral cover destroyed since the 1950s

The world’s coral reef cover has halved since the 1950s, ravaged by global heating, overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction, a trend that is projected to continue as the planet continues to heat in the 21st century.

Diversity of species on reefs has dropped by more than 60% and total reef cover had approximately halved.

“Marine heatwaves are rapidly intensifying, leading to more frequent and severe bleaching events, including on some of the world’s most isolated and pristine coral reefs”.

“Over the last few years, Caribbean reefs have been clobbered by hurricanes and new diseases, both linked to ocean warming. Frankly, the global picture for coral reefs is pretty grim”.

The world’s oceans absorbed more than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases and average water temperatures have continued to rise as the planet heats.

Military deployed to fight fires in Spain

260 Spanish troops are assisting firefighters battling a raging blaze that has emptied out villages and burned through forestland for days.

“We have talked for a long time about the consequences of abandoning the environment, or climate change. Today, we are living them,” Juan Sánchez, director of the operations center at Andalusia’s forest–fire agency, told reporters.

Humans causing species to lurch towards extinction

Efforts to halt decline of population & diversity of animals & plants have largely failed.

28% of the 138,000 species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are now at risk of extinction, including 37% of sharks & rays.

In 2019 the UN’s biodiversity experts warned that a million species are on the brink of extinction—raising the spectre that the planet is on the verge of its sixth mass extinction event in 500 million years.

Social cost of 2019’s plastic more than GDP of India

The pollution, emissions and clean-up costs of plastic produced in 2019 alone exceeded the annual GDP of India.

It estimated that unless there is concerted international action, this cost will double by 2040.

Since the 1950s, roughly 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced with around 60% of that tossed into landfills or the natural environment.

The debris is estimated to cause the deaths of more than a million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals each year.

Tragically, the plastic pollution crisis is showing no signs of slowing down, but the commitment to tackle it has reached an unprecedented level,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

France’s minister in charge of biodiversity, Berangere Abba, said if the world failed to act there would be “more plastic in the oceans than fish” by 2050.

North Atlantic right whales critically endangered by the Anthropocene

Climate change-induced warming in the Gulf of Maine has resulted in the population of the North Atlantic right whale to plummet, leaving the species critically endangered.

Right whales have long been known for foraging fatty crustaceans in the Gulf of Maine. But in the past decade the water there has been warming and the whale’s main food source, which thrives in cold water, has deteriorated.

The result was that the species now travels north-east to the Gulf of St Lawrence in Canada to forage for food, and there is a major decline in the number of female whales reproducing.

“When they can’t build those thick layers of blubber, they’re not able to successfully get pregnant, carry the pregnancy and nurse the calf”

In the past decade, the population has decreased by about 26%, leaving only 356 North Atlantic right whales on Earth.

Virtually all emperor penguins doomed for extinction by 2100 as climate change looms, study finds

If climate change continues at its current rate, more than 98% of emperor penguin colonies are expected to become quasi-extinct by the turn of the century. Scientists’ near-term predictions were equally grim: they estimated at least two-thirds of colonies would be quasi-extinct by 2050.

An emperor penguin colony in the Antarctic’s Weddell Sea was effectively wiped out in 2016 because of record-low sea ice and early ice breakup. More than 10,000 chicks are thought to have drowned when the sea ice broke up before they were ready to swim.

Video shows salmon injured by unlivable water temperatures after heatwave

A conservation group recorded the video after a heatwave in the Pacific north-west on a day when water temperatures breached 21˚C (71˚F).

‘Heat dome’ probably killed 1 billion marine animals on Canada coast

“Ecosystems are going to change in ways that are really difficult to predict. We don’t know where the tipping points are.”

Upward expansion and acceleration of forest clearance in the mountains of Southeast Asia

Total mean annual forest loss in Southeast Asia was 3.2 million hectares per year during 2001–2019, with 31% occurring on the mountains, and is accelerating.

German climate, insect protection laws cross finish line

A 2017 study in Germany was one of the first to raise global alarm about the loss of insects.

It found that the biomass of flying insects across German nature reserves had declined by more than 75% in 27 years, triggering warnings of an “ecological apocalypse”.

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle on the need for sea conservation

“We humans, we have to listen to the laws of nature and face up to the reality that we’re causing our own misery.”

Great apes predicted to lose 90% of homelands in Africa

85 to 94% loss by 2050 of Great Ape’s habitat, mainly due to resource extraction for mobile phones, timber and palm oil.

“What is predicted is really bad”

Global freshwater fish populations at risk of extinction

Populations of migratory freshwater fish have plummeted by 76% since 1970, and large fish – those weighing more than 30kg – have been all but wiped out in most rivers. The global population of megafish down by 94%, and 16 freshwater fish species were declared extinct last year.