Educational Sustainability Program Essay Example

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GREENING AUSTRALIA TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM

Executive Summary

Climate change is a global environmental issue and Australia has not been spared from the effects of climate change. One of the main effects of climate change in Australia is the risk of rising water levels as a result of emissions that leads to the rise in water temperature. The concern of climate change affects not only the environment but also the economy, justice and security as well as the health of Australians. It is estimated that for the last 100 years, there has been a steady increase in the surface temperature by about 0.7% and since 1910 the Australian temperature was about 1-5oC despite the small difference, it has had an effect on the global climate. This paper focuses on tackling climate change through a program dubbed “Greening Australia” as an effort of tackling climate change. The Greening Australia program aims to plant about 10billion trees by the end of 10 years in order to avert the adverse effects that may be caused by climate change. Deforestation as part of the human activities leading to climate change will also be addressed in an effort to address climate change as an issue.

Introduction

For centuries of human habitation on earth, especially after the 15th Century, industrial revolution ushered the age of exploitation of natural resources in form of minerals, gas, oil, diamond, gold and other precious metals. Exploitation was done without paying regard to its negative impact on the environment, which is climate change. According to Paul Crutzen, a Nobel Prize winner stated that the geological epoch that emerged from Holocene was human activities, having a permanent effect on the earth’s biosphere (Crutzen, 2002). The acceleration of human activities has led to the rapid deterioration of the environment leaving large tracts of land deforested and creating an ecological imbalance in the ecosystem.

The survival of species, the ecosystem and biodiversity entirely depends on how humans will decide in terms of changing the way in which people work and live. According to Plumwood (2007) he states that ecological crisis will occur if humans fail to find out new ways of adapting in regards to energy needs and consumption levels (Plumwood, 2007). It is material therefore that humans including the Australian people adopt a way in which the ecosystem is protected from adverse effects of our economic exploitation.

The failure of humans to ensure that climate change is tackled is linked to deforestation. Deforestation is the destruction of forests and cutting down trees without replacement and creating an imbalance in the ecosystem in terms of purifying and cleaning the air. Carbon dioxide is used up by trees which produce oxygen in the process, but due to the fact that trees are destroyed, carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere leading to rise in temperatures. Much of the Australian land is exposed, with the amount of forest cover remaining fairly minimal hence it leads to rise in temperature and consequently climate change.

Greening Australia Program

The human population has for centuries continued to increase, and this has meant that traditional areas meant for forests and animals have been cleared to make room for urbanisation and human cities for habitation. This is true of the place of urbanisation in displacing nature as evident in Doreen and Bird (2009) who tell the story of the penguins living in the Australian coasts and how human habitation has displaced theme from their sanctuary. The accelerating human activities that have led to the risks of climate change can either be linked to industrial activities and the destruction of forests in order to get land to pursue other activities.

According to Bradshow (2012) he states that there is little that is left to lose that is as a result of deforestation and the degradation that is experienced in Australia. It is arguable to state that Australia is generally unsuitable for the growth of forest since 75% of Australia is covered by arid lands and inhospitable and the little areas remaining for forest cover have declined considerably (Bradshow, 2012). It is reasonable to draw a conclusion that the increase in the land clearing rates is attributable to the increase in human population and the need to meet the demands of economic and social developments (Gibson & Roelvink, 2009).

The Greening of Australia program will act as way of creating a balance in terms of tackling climate change and being part of the global community addressing climate change. Re-forestation involves planting of trees in Australia. As part of the plans of ensuring that the program is sustainable, a curriculum is created to ensure that students and young people have adequate knowledge of the environment and also know the importance of environmental conservation.

Description

The agency of addressing climate change in Australia is serious and the most common source of climate change is linked to human activities. Despite efforts by the Australian government to limit human activities such as introducing Carbon tax in order to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, there has been no change. The other sources of human activities leading to global warming include greenhouse gases, deforestation, transport and electricity generation (Stern, 2006). The fact that Australians have changed the way in which they use land and other available resources has led to increasing the risk of global warming.

The program, Greening Australia, seeks to ensure that there is sustainable restoration of the Australian environment in order to manage climate changes. Despite the fact that Australia is considered a developed country, there is still a need to ensure that Australia avert the impacts of changing weather patterns by greening. Greening in this case refers to the process of planting over a Billion Trees within the next 10 years. Due to the fact that Australia is home to indigenous species and biodiversity, it is important to ensure that there is an increase in forest cover to ensure that water sources are protected, there is soil conservation, the economic status of the country is maintained and that Australia contributes to the fight against the climate change and the adverse effects.

Overview

The impacts of climate change on Australia as it is estimated by 2030 are that:

  1. There will be an increase in 1oC of warming temperatures

  2. Likelihood of 20% months of droughts

  3. Likelihood of 25% increase in days of high or extreme fire dangers

  4. An increase in storm surges and with severe weather events

As a result of the statistics, Australia is at the centre of the effects of climate change, that is become the driest inhabited continent in the other, extremely exposed to the effects of drought and extreme heat. Being the home of a host of biodiversity and ecological systems, there is a high chance that they will be affected. Climate change is likely to affect the food production, the economy of the continent, agriculture as a result of the threat of heat.

Rationale

The need to implement and carry out the Greening Australia program is to address degradation of forests and the risk of loss of diversity while at the same time address adverse risks posed by climate change. The forest cover in Australia becomes fragmented and it continues to deteriorate without any particular recourse from the government. Deforestation as part of the human activities associated with development and economic enhancement means that the clearance of forests releases a substantial amount of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere leading to the rise in carbon emissions hence leading to anthropogenic climate change (Bradshow, 2012).

There is also reasonable and reliable statistics that show that Australia has warmed up that is there is an increase in the number of hot days and nights while there is a decline in the number of cold days and nights (Nicholls, 2006). There is also a shift in the rainfall patterns that were experienced in Australia and during droughts; it is hotter than other days (Nicholls, 2006). Despite there being protection of forest areas, there is need to have more trees in Australia in order to restore the climate back to normal and tackle climate change globally. Reforestation project in the form of Greening Australia program will act as way of combating the adverse effects of climate change, protect the ecosystem and foster economic development through conservation.

Why we need the Greening Australia program is to restore the balance of nature that is increasing forest cover to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases that has led to the rise in temperature. It is not reasonable to argue that since Australia is a desert-arid area, trees cannot grow, because areas such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia has grown trees and they are located in the desert. Trees are likely to flourish with use of technology in order to ensure that there is adequate forest cover to recycle the air and marinating the temperatures.

Greening Australia program embraces one of the notions of humanity that is to restore and recover, by thinking creatively in order to restore the environment to what it used to be. Responding to climate change through forestation is a way of managing the environment to avoid situations of melting ice-caps, temperature rise and high concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere.

The Greening Australia program is informed by the distinct environmental, cultural, and educational and the geographical features in the Australian environment. According to Bita (1997) she asserts that the survey carried out by Environment Australia showed that between the periods of 1991-1995 about 308,000 hectares of trees were cleared in Queensland while 150,000hectares of trees were cleared in NSW within the same period (Tisdell, 2000). If the statistics are were to remain the same, then the Australian forest cover will reduce significantly.

The distinctive features of climate change in the Australian environment are that:

  1. That the Australian environment is relatively bare with limited forest cover compared to other states and continents

  2. Australia has witnessed as series of bush fires in the recent past caused by the rise in temperatures and the arid conditions experienced in the continent.

  3. The environment has been affected by emissions caused by human activities, industrial exhaust, and greenhouse gas emissions and from petroleum products.

  4. The indigenous Australian communities (Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders) have always have a cultural link to the land and the environment, something that is important in environmental protection

The proposed media for which to communicate and inform the Australian public about the Greening Australia program is through:

  1. Advertisement

  2. Creation of curriculum to be taught to children and students in a classroom setting

  3. Printing of brochures informing the public about the importance of planting trees and how it protects the ecosystem

The targeted learners in the case of the climate change curriculum are:

  1. High school students

  2. Grade School

  3. University Students

Objectives

The purpose of this program is to ensure that millions of Australians are able to manage and benefit from the natural resources rather than destroying the environment. This can be achieved by:

  • Supporting Australians and indigenous communities to have land tenure policies that do not affect the forest cover and lead to further deforestation that is giving Australians the right to manage their environment and resources in a responsible manner.

  • Protection of the Australian biodiversity through the planting of a Billion trees within the span of 10 years ensuring that there is no loss of the services such a tourism that depend on a functioning ecosystem, species are not lost but protected.

  • To ensure that Australia mitigates the effects of climate change in a way that there is economic and environmental sustainability in order to ensure there is resilience to warmer temperatures and the shocks of any adverse weather changes.

  • Planting of trees will ensure that there is clean water and clean air, improvement of agriculture, reduce the rate at which climate change affects the environment and counter desertification effects and ensure that the Australian economy grows.

What are the Policies Addressing Climate Change?

The Australian government policies in regards to addressing climate change include the proposal to replace the carbon taxation regime with a direct action plan in order for those polluting the environment to reduce emissions (Miller, 2014). The policy does not adopt a green movement approach towards leading to the Australia to tackle the effects of climate change. Despite the proposal to create an emissions reduction fund to lower the emission, there is no ideal policy that leads towards sustainability because all this impose sanctions to companies but it does not stop the emission of gases that lead to climate changes.

As early as 1989 Australia had adopted a greenhouse gas emissions reduction proposal (Burgmann & Baer, 2012) this was to ensure that there was a decrease in emission, reduction of greenhouse gases by the year 2005, however emission levels continue to rise. Further to this, the Australian government has gone ahead to ratify various treaties that touch on climate change such as the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Toronto Targets, the Kyoto Protocol and the Stockholm Declaration as part of the efforts to address climate change and its effects (Lloyd, 2013).

Protection policies in terms of managing and protecting the forests are what are needed. The Greening Australia program seeks to be a sustainable and long term solution to degradation and deforestation. In order to deal with risks of planted trees being cut down, then any Australian cutting down a tree, must replace that tree with two trees. This policy will be enforced by environmental protection agencies and anyone desiring to cut a tree must seek approval from the environmental agencies.

Addressing Challenges and Dilemmas and Solutions

  1. One of the main challenges in making Greening Australia program a success is funding. However this will be addressed through asking the stakeholders such as the Australian Government, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to allocate funds to the Greening Australia Program.

  2. The other problem is participation. One of the principles in ensuring environmental sustainability is public participation (Tisdell, 1997). The Australian communities will be involved in the Greening Australia program as part of ensuring that it is a success and it achieves the goal of averting effects of climate change.

Conclusion

In conclusion, climate change is a real, important and serious issue that affects Australia and the entire global community. It is highlighted that the focus of this program is to ensure that Australia plants over a billion trees by the end of 10 years and this will greatly avert the challenges posed by climate change such as rise in water levels, rise in temperatures, and negative impact on economy, food production and the ecosystem. In order to make the Greening Australia program successful, it is important that there is a sustainable plan, which is training the young generation and students about environmental conservation and the need to plant trees as a way of averting the negative impacts of environmental degradation. There is no other way of ensuring that climate change is tackled other than by taking an environmental friendly approach to protect the environment and that is; planting trees.

REFERENCES

Bita, N. (1997). Ungreening Australia: 500,000HA A Year but Slowing. The Weekend Australian

Bradshow, C.J. (2012). Little Left to lose: deforestation and forest degradation in Australia since European Colonization. Journal of Plant Ecology, 5 (1): 109-120

Burgmann, V. & Baer, H.A. (2012). Climate Politics and the Climate Movement in Australia, Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 61

Crutzen, P. (2002). Geology of Mankind. Nature 415, 23 doi:1038/415023a

Doreen, T. & Bird, R. (2012). Humaninimalia: a journal of human/animal interface studies, 3(2): 1-27

Gibson, J.K. & Roelvink, G. (2009). An Economics Ethics for the Anthropocene. Antipode, 42 (1), 320-346

Lloyd, G. (2013). Emissions targets to stay: Hunt. The Australian

Miller, D. (2014). What is the Coalition’s direct action climate change policy? ABC News Accessed at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-20/coalition-climate-change-direct-action-policy-explained/5067188

Nicholls, N. (2006). Detecting and Attributing Australian Climate change: a review. Australia Metrological Magazine, 55: 199-211

Plumwood, V. (2007). A review of Deborah Bird Rose’s Reports from a Wild Country: Ethics of Decolonisation. Australia Humanities Review, 44, 1-4

Stern, N. (2006). What is the Economics of Climate Change? World Economics 7(2), 1-10

Tisdell, C.A. (1997). “Protection of the Environment in Transitional Economies, Regional Development Dialogue, 18(1), 32-49

Tisdell, C. (2000) Australian Environmental Issues: An Overview. Brisbane: University of Queensland Department of Economics.

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