A coalition election victory will burn Australia

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The near complete silence of the current election campaign on biodiversity loss raises very serious questions.

Climate change is a top priority for voters, but biodiversity loss is rarely mentioned.

At 2021 UN climate change conference in Glasgow, this statement summed up the critical importance of linking the two threats:

“We face the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. One cannot be resolved without addressing the other.

The European Commission nailed in an article titled “Climate change and biodiversity loss must be fought together”:

“Today, about one million species out of about 8 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. The global rate of species extinction is already tens to hundreds of times higher than the average rate for the last 10 million years and is accelerating.

A great scientific paper describes the current situation as ‘biological annihilation’ to highlight the magnitude of Earth’s sixth major extinction in progress.

According to World Health Organization:

“Biodiversity loss can have significant direct impacts on human health if ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs. Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, incomes, local migration and can even cause or exacerbate political conflicts.

As a chilling example of the reality and critical importance of linking climate change to biodiversity loss, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report noted “the Arctic is likely to be virtually ice-free in September at least once before 2050 in all scenarios assessed”.

Already, evidence of a warming Arctic is very visible. The California gray whales that migrate each year from the icy waters of Siberia to Mexican lagoons are starving in large numbers. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries Administration has declared the mortality an unusual mortality event (EMU).

The most obvious reason for the depressing sight of over 500 emaciated and dying whales is the loss of prey. Gray whales, along with many species that share the same marine ecosystem, depend on detritus that falls from the ice-covered sea to the ocean floor, providing food for plankton and trophic layers.

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Without ice, there is nothing to feed the marine ecosystem, leading to catastrophic losses. The disappearance of gray whales is another indication of the undeniable proof of each species’ role in the ecosystem. As bottom feeders, they create huge plumes of mud that resuspend large volumes of nutrients bringing bottom crustaceans to the surface for seabirds to feed on.

Australia has been identified as a country likely to be seriously affected by the double climatic scourge.

Based in Queensland Bloom Impact Investing describe Australia as ‘about to barbecue and soaked’. His regional assessment report demonstrates massive changes in ecosystems across the country.

Yet no political party, major or minor, wants to address the appalling recent history of climate disasters and biodiversity.

During the extreme drought that began in 2017, described as the worst drought in 116 yearsTeacher Richard Kingford from the University of New South Wales has warned that large numbers of kangaroos are dying across the country. Reports from wildlife carers detail abandoned joeys, sun-blinded wallabies and koalas struggling to find eucalyptus leaves. Our wildlife is starving.

Vast swaths of the continent’s interior were brown, dying from lack of water.

Three billion animals have been killed or moved in the black summer bushfires. More than 100 entire populations of plant species have been burned, according to a Study led by CSIRO.

The election

More than half of the companies listed nationally threatened ecological communities were affected.

The most recent State of the environment report dated 2016 painted a dismal picture of biodiversity loss with no indication that major pressures on biodiversity have diminished.

A new report was expected in early 2022, but it will probably only be available after the election, just like the latest independent report on the coral bleaching extent of the Great Barrier Reef.

Forest industries in NSW and Victoria have not undertaken comprehensive recovery surveys of forest species affected by the Black Summer fires. Logging continues unabated despite experts warning that some species can take up to 120 years to recover.

No wildlife climate refuges have been designated. State and federal legislation is unable to provide adequate protection for Australia’s rapidly disappearing biodiversity.

Australia has the worst mammalian extinction rate from any country in the world.

Teacher Hugh Possinghamworld-renowned conservationist, says Australia’s populations of endangered species are declining at the rate of 1 percent per year.

There are no estimates of the loss of native animals in recent major floods.

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Not only is biodiversity loss not an issue in the federal election, but any discussion or scientific evidence of the important role each species plays in ecosystem health is politically irrelevant.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Australians are deliberately quarantined from any information about the impacts of biodiversity loss. Instead, the focus is on koalas, or unique wildlife species without any attempt to educate the public about the role each animal, insect or reptile plays in the health of the ecosystem. Interconnection is the foundation of the functioning of ecosystems.

With no attention from any major or minor political party on the impending catastrophe that accompanies climate change, the questions must be posed by the mainstream media and answered in acceptable ways.

Why is biodiversity loss such a non-event in the policy playbook? Why is it more important to try “gotcha” moments?

No one asks, “If the temperature continues to rise, making living conditions uninhabitable, what happens to non-living creatures? Will their homes, food, shelter, nutrients and water be affected in the same way? What will this mean for humans?

Such blatant rejection of the ongoing destruction of planet Earth’s life support systems can only be described as a symptom of collective madness, now rampant in Australia’s federal election. By failing to educate the public about the reality of this impending environmental nightmare, voters are increasingly stunned.

Besides the political ramifications, humanity has a spiritual and moral responsibility to protect the foundations of life. Political leaders and parties who ignore this injunction leave future generations to an unforgivable fate.

As a British climate teacher Tim Palmer at Oxford University said:

“If we don’t stop our emissions, our future climate could well become some kind of hell on Earth.”

Not just for humanity.

Sue Arnold is an AI columnist and freelance investigative journalist. You can follow Sue on Twitter @koalacrisis.

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