Australia makes world top list in Olympic year.

Australia enters an Olympic year as the only developed nation to make a world list of deforestation hotspots, due to land clearing which is decimating a national symbol.

Eastern Australia in particular has been singled out. The states of New South Wales and Queensland recorded the highest rates of land clearing, and experts fear that Victoria and Tasmania may soon catch up. The statistics are far more depressing than those recorded at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976, where Australia failed to win a single gold medal.

  • Australia kills tens of millions of native animals each year as a consequence of land clearing, and is the worst offending country in the world for mammal extinctions.
  • The country has cleared nearly half of its forest cover in the last 200 years.
  • An area the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is being destroyed every two minutes.
  • Australia has lost 27% of rainforest, 19% of open forest, 11% of woodland forest and 28% of mallee forest since 1750.
  • 73% of all deforestation and land clearing in Queensland is linked to beef production.
  • Carbon emissions released by land clearing across the country are equivalent to about a third of the total emissions released by all of the coal-fired power stations in the wide brown land. When native forest logging emissions are included, this is equivalent to at least half the carbon pollution of all Australian coal-fired power stations.

In response to the dismal performance at the Montreal Olympics, the Australian government poured millions of dollars into the creation of the Australian Institute of Sport. In response to the deforestation statistics, the Australian government poured millions of dollars into the resources and the agricultural sector.

Koala Killer

So real is the threat to wildlife that the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, earned the nickname Koala Killer, because the biggest threat to koalas in New South Wales is habitat loss. Under the Berejiklian government, restrictions were axed and land clearing rates dramatically increased, and this made eastern Australia one of the most infamous places on the planet for forest destruction. Some experts fear habitat loss could drive Koalas to extinction. How many countries knowingly wipe out a national symbol?

The sunshine state is not much better. 275,775 ha of likely koala habitat in Queensland was cleared between 2013 and 2018. Of this, 76% of likely koala habitat was cleared on land which is primarily dedicated to beef production.

Even if the Olympic Games do go ahead in 2021 and Australia wins many medals, what will the country’s athletes come home to?

Image: http://www.worldatlas.com

Australia develops the E-chidna to replace wild echidnas.

Australian scientists have created the E-chidna to replace echidnas in the wild once the country’s natural environment has been successfully destroyed, in what is being hailed as a world first in the creation of electronic wildlife.

The digitised animal looks exactly the same as a wild echidna, but will exist only in animated form. The first E-chidna is set to be released into the world wide web next week, and a female counterpart will soon follow. It is hoped the pair will breed and populate cyberspace with little baby E-chidnas.

“The E-chidna is a source of pride for all Aussies,” announced Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley. “It epitomises this country’s attitude towards and treatment of the natural environment, and it will replace wild echidnas when they and other native animals become extinct.”

The minister then outlined how successive federal and state environment ministers contributed to the birth of the E-chidna through support of the fossil fuel industry, traditional agricultural practices, land clearing and overdevelopment, as well as a general apathy towards the protection of Australia’s natural environment.

“They are all here with us in spirit,” Ley said of the ministers, “and their actions should not be forgotten today. Every minister could have chosen to spend the E-chidna budget on protecting the natural environment and saving the wild animals, but their dedication to environmental destruction has been vindicated today.”

Ley also boasted that the E-chidna represents a watershed moment in government and private sector cooperation. She explained that much of the research and development was funded by the donations from the fossil fuel industry, the farming lobby, property developers and large scale irrigators, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Observers have compared the E-chidna to the Tamagotchi, a Japanese electronic pet, but highlighted one major difference between the two electronic animals. The Tamagotchi had to be fed and cared for by its owner, or it would die, whereas the E-chidna will simply be neglected, just like its wild cousin.

Ley also boasted that the E-chidna is only the beginning of an exciting scientific journey.

“This country has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – which is another source of pride for Aussies, and means we have a backlog of wild animals to replicate in digital form. The Tasmanian E-Tiger is ready for release, and we’re also determined to wipe out species such as the Black-flanked Rock-wallaby, the Eastern Curlew, the Gouldian Finch, the Northern Quoll and the Black-footed Tree Rat. Our tech experts are already working on the E-versions of all of those animals, so they can be released as soon as the animals become extinct. It’s quite exciting.”

The E-chidnas will be visible to anyone searching the internet, anywhere in the world, so people will not have to visit Australia to witness this unique and fascinating creature. This created concern among the tourism sector, which relies heavily on Australia’s natural wonders to generate income.

In response, Ley argued that destroying Australia’s wildlife is further proof that her party is good at managing the economy.

Image: Jacob Dyer