Failing nature laws could lead to further health crises


Taken by Annalise Hunt

Annalise Hunt

An open letter sent to the federal government from prominent health leaders and groups says that the review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC act) must be taken seriously.

Following COVID-19 and the black summer bushfire crisis, now more than ever, is the most important time to consider changing the EPBC act.

The EPBC act was created in 1999, the act only gets reviewed once a decade. The Doctors for the Environment Australia has created an open letter that warns if Australia doesn’t conserve the environment, it could put us at risk for further health pandemics.

The health and wellbeing of humanity, relies heavily on the health and wellbeing of nature. Humans require clean air, water, food and fibre to survive.

A healthy eco-system and plants are also important in the production of medicines and vaccinations, that humans rely on to prevent life-threatening diseases and viruses.

What has this go to do with the EPBC act? 

Climate change is not mentioned in the EPBC act and 21 years ago, when the act was established, many people believed climate change was a myth.

Research over the last two decades shows that, whilst climate change does not cue an immediate reaction from the environment, if it’s not acknowledged the long term effects are detrimental to the human race and animals.

“In WA, the immediate effects on our ecosystem could include increased bushfires as a result of temperature increases and the hotter and drier conditions we can expect across the state (and indeed, the country as a whole),” says Connor Tilbury,  a member of the Coastal Cleanup Crew.

The Coastal Cleanup Crew are a group of volunteers that clean up different beaches every week to reduce pollution.

“We have already lost portions of our iconic coral reefs to coral bleaching, which is a result of sea temperatures increasing even just a few degrees,” says Mr Tilbury.

It is extremely important that every individual does what they can to assist the ecosystem, by reducing their household pollution, plastics and emissions.

Al Harris, the senior media advisor at Clean State, says “the most important thing is to reduce carbon emissions, and thereby do our little bit to halt the potential for runaway climate change.”

Western Australia’s climate threatens to get hotter and dryer as a result of climate change, which will lead to an increase in the risk of bushfires. WA is already susceptible to bushfire weather, and after the black summer in the Eastern States, it is vital that these situations are taken into account when the EPBC act is reviewed.

“WA was featured on a piece, by the IPPC, that looked at areas of the world that could become inhabitable if climate change continues,” says Mr Harris.