Listen... Our Land Is Crying
Australia has extremely serious problems of land and water degradation. After only two hundred years of our use, the damage to basic, life-supporting resources met systems, and the loss of biodiversity have been such that crisis point has been reached in many areas. Our land is crying out for help. The situation can no longer be ignored or shelved, nor can it continue to be dealt with in a piecemeal fashion, treating the symptoms of its declining health and not the causes the ?unsustainability? which is built into the land-use practices to which it is subjected. In order to understand the problems and to find long-term solutions, we need to see the big picture. When we see Australia in the global context, we find that it suffers the same problems as the rest of the world, created by pressures of expanding human populations and unsustainable use of basic resources. Global climate change will affect our continent and our lives just as it affects other lands and peoples. In the context of its island continent status, Australia has had a unique geological history which accounts for its poor soils and their erodibility; the nature of its rivers and groundwater supplies; its problems with salinity; and the specialised adaptations of its flora and fauna and the ecosystems which they comprise to the uniquely Australian environments which evolved through geological time. It is the driest vegetated continent, with 75% of its area under arid regimes - and arid lands are inherently fragile; it has a highly variable climate which compounds the effects of aridity; it is the flattest continent, with lowest overall relief, and its poor drainage accounts for its saline water-table; its biodiversity and the high level of endemism of its plants and animals are the result of its geological history, and preserving that biodiversity and preventing extinctions is our responsibility, and ours alone. Understanding the geological history which has made Australia unique enables us to understand why the imposition of European agriculture and land-use practices on this ancient, fragile land and the introduction of foreign animals and plants, has had such disastrous consequences. Listen. Our Land is Crying presents the big picture of land-use, the degradation of land and water resources, and some of the wonders of this amazing continent, and provides a prescription for ensuring a bright future for Australia.
Publication Date: 1/1/1997