Inarguably colonisation and industry have changed Australia’s environment since the first fleet set foot on NSW in the late 18th Century. This first industrial age was built on natural capital, driven by the need to populate and establish, with unprecedented changes to the natural environment. In some cases we have exceeded environmental and resource limits, a scenario echoing across the world.
A new paper, co- authored by Wayne Meyer from the Environment Institute suggests we are moving through a second industrial transformation of Australian landscapes. Wayne and his co authors examine six emerging economies driving change in the Australian landscape; water, carbon, food, energy, amenity and mining.
These emerging economies could result in positive or negative transformations of Australia and the paper delves into some of partnerships and decisions we face as a nation to ensure a positive outcome. This includes forming new partnerships between government, science, the private sector and communities, supported by renegotiated institutional settings and governance. Science has a pivotal role in getting the information we need to make these deicisions and supporting effective strategies for positive change.
The paper is wide ranging in its scope, looking at local impacts and communities to generation- and nation-wide changes in how the country manages economies, environments and society. Overarching is the need to adapt to climate change and the global changes it will force in the absence of immediate and deep cuts to carbon emissions. The authors provide potential pathways to move forward, citing the need for vision and the power it provides towards solving these complex multidisciplinary problems.
The full paper is accessible here.
Brett A Bryan, Wayne S Meyer, C Andrew Campbell, Graham P Harris, Ted Lefroy, Greg Lyle, Paul Martin, Josie McLean, Kelvin Montagu, Lauren A Rickards, David M Summers, Richard Thackway, Sam Wells, Mike Young, “The second industrial transformation of Australian landscapes”, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Available online 24 June 2013, ISSN 1877-3435, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2013.05.011.