It is time to Save Our Planet
The scientific information is clear! Climate change is a reality and we have very few years left to turn things around and to save our planet from catastrophic climate change. A slow but steady approach is no longer feasible, that disappeared with the failure of Kyoto.
WREC has been involved in many environmental campaigns over the years and continues to speak out about preventing pollution, protecting biodiversity and reducing our ecological footprint. We believe that the imminent threat of run-away climate change should make this the top priority for everyone.
What is climate change?
Climate change is a change in global or regional climate patterns. Climate change is also known as global warming and is the process of our planet heating up due to an increase in the concentration of atmospheric gases.
The great increase in use of fossil fuels and broad scale land clearing and deforestation since the Industrial Revolution is releasing greenhouse gases at an unprecedented rate. This heats up the Earth, causing average global temperatures to rise by approximately 0.6°C since pre-industrial times.
What we now know is activities such as burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, and cutting down forests is polluting our atmosphere and warming our planet. This is also causing an increase in extreme weather events, sea level rise, and a warming and acidification of the oceans.
A rise of more than 2°C above pre-industrial global average temperature will cause significant changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, and will lead to more extreme droughts, floods and storms. These changes will affect the habitat of millions of animals and plants worldwide, placing many at real risk of extinction, and will have very severe social and economic consequences.
Climate change has been apparent from the mid to late 20th century. One thing most people agree upon is that our climate is changing. There are still some climate change deniers out there but most scientists agree that are natural ecological systems are changing.
The Paris Agreement
In December 2015, world leaders were scheduled to meet in Paris for the UN’s COP 21 climate conference. On the agenda was a historic global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change before it was too late.
Relevant legislation in Victoria
Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas driving the climate crisis. When plants photosynthesis, they take carbon dioxide from the air and transform it into carbon that the plant uses to grow leaves, stems, and roots.
Any excess carbon created through this process is transported down the plant and is stored in the surrounding soil. This carbon in the soil is known as soil organic carbon and it feeds microbes and fungi, which in turn provide nutrients for the plant.
Soil organic carbon is the main component of soil organic matter, providing more structure to the soil and allowing it to store more water.
Bare soil is bad soil, and so covering the soil with dead organic matter is a plain and simple way of carbon sequestration.
Carbon can remain stored in soils for thousands of years or it can be quickly released back into the atmosphere through farm practices like plowing and tillage, where soil is prepared for planting by mechanical agitation methods such as digging, stirring, and overturning.
Deforestation and modern farming practices are contributing factors to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The environment cannot speak for itself and that is why we all need to act to reduce our ecological footprint.
What is an ecological footprint?
The ecological footprint was originally conceived as a simple method for comparing the sustainability of resource use among different populations.
The consumption of these populations is converted into a single index: the land area that would be needed to sustain that population indefinitely. This area is then compared to the actual area of productive land that the given population inhabits, and the degree of unsustainability is calculated as the difference between available and required land.
WREC develop a vibrant Ecological Footprint & Sustainability program in 2010. This program was shared with schools and community groups, at events and festivals. Whilst the program is not currently active, the ethos of living within our means continues to be promoted.
For individuals interested in calculating their environmental impact there are many useful resources: