Australia is home to somewhere between 600,000 and 700,000 fauna, many of which can be found nowhere else in the world. Around 84% of our plants, 83% of our mammals, and 45% of our birds are endemic to Australia (or found exclusively in Australia only). As humans, we depend largely on animals for produce such as foods and medicines that keep us alive. Not only this, but we rely on much of our ecosystems for recreation and tourism. Biodiversity keeps the world spinning around.
With the ever-increasing pressures of climate change, reef deterioration and the rise in endangerment of many animals and insects, it is becoming more and more imperative that we make some changes to our lifestyles to keep our beautiful world, and the creatures that live on it, alive.
How can you help to protect Australia’s biodiversity?
The Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy has some great tips to preserve our local flora and fauna.
- Generate a natural habitat in your garden – research plants that are native to your area and create a sanctuary for local birds and other wildlife.
- Pull up any weeds that have popped up in your garden – educate yourself on what flora are native to your area, what appears to be a harmless plant could be a weed with the ability to cause significant damage if it spreads to bushland.
- Be a responsible pet owner – ensure your cats and dogs are de-sexed, and if you can no longer keep them, do not release them to the wild.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle – consider ways to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill and the waterways. Many things can now be recycled.
- Start your own compost bin – organic matter like vegetable peelings which usually ends up landfill is great for your garden. Start composting and you can reduce the need for chemicals and fertilizers in the garden and improve the health of your soil.
- Only put water down the drains – Oils and chemicals may start at the kitchen sink but end up in our waterways and seas and can have detrimental impacts on flora and fauna living in streams and rivers. Instead of using commercial cleaning chemicals try using white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
For more great tips, visit http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/biodiversity-month.