By Namrata Pingle
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has ranked Australia seventh amongst the world’s top 10 biggest polluters.
The report indicates these countries are using 50 per cent more resources than the planet can cope with, compromising the Earth’s future health.
WWF Australia ecologist Dr Martin Taylor says alongside mining pollution, agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.
“Livestock cover at least 60 per cent of Australia’s land surface, so there’s a very large footprint,” he says.
Dr Taylor says while they are pleased with the Labor Government’s introduction of the Carbon Tax on farming, they are still urging the government to add environmental issues to the budget.
“There’s still a lot of fossil fuel subsidies that support fossil fuel use over renewable,” he says.
“We still need to do a lot more to cut our fossil fuel subsidies and shift our economy on to a renewable basis.”
Holly Vyner, general manager of Biological Farmers of Australia, says Australian farmers and the agricultural industry must be more environmentally friendly and consider organic farming as the way of the future.
“Because organic farming has a focus on soil health, this leads to better and healthier farms, environment, animals and people,” she says.
The WWF study also reveals that a lack of change within Australia’s agricultural industry could potentially lead to the extinction of the country’s koala population within the next 50 years.
Australian Koala Foundation CEO Deborah Tabart says Australians must be more aware about the environment and depleting koala numbers.
“The average Australian has got to stop being naive about who’s going to fix it,” she says.
Ms Tabart says current numbers reflect the koala has already joined Australia’s sad record of declining species.
“I have already seen koalas go to extinction,” she says.
“The South East Queensland koala population will go to extinction next year.”
Dr Taylor adds unless there are changes to environmental practices, we will be compromising species as well as the quality of life for future generations.
“When we’re talking about whether we’re going to have a liveable planet in 50-100 years, that is a quality of life issue,” he says.
“[Future generations’] quality of life is going to be severely affected unless we take action now to reduce our footprint.”