Monday, September 16, 2019

BIODIVERSITY MONTH - What can you do to help the marine environment?

The 2016 State of the Environment report states that: "Three coastal or marine ecosystems were listed as threatened ecological communities under the EPBC Act during the past 5 years: 
Saltmarsh rehabilitation Townsville

• the Giant Kelp Marine Forests of South East Australia (2012) and 
      Posidonia australis seagrass meadows of the Manning–Hawkesbury ecoregion                (2015) were listed as endangered 
Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh (2013) was listed as vulnerable

Biodiversity creates a balance, a give and take, that gives our lives stability and health. These and other marine systems protect biodiversity, one of the keys to humanities survival. 

Our very good friends in South Australia put out a great newsletter and like many of us they are focusing on biodiversity month.They brought up some very good points in their recent article.

"strong urban ecosystems – including a wide variety of native plants, animals and insects that enhance biodiversity values – are good for the humans who live in our cities and suburbs.The more variation in vegetation, the more variation in the animal life it will attract – which in turn increases valuable ‘services’ such as plant pollination. Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behaviour. It helps reduce anxiety and stress, boosts our attention span and creativity, and increases our ability to connect with other people"

Having healthy coastal and marine waters also provides us, and other animals, with life sustaining services. The health of these systems is eroding. We see it almost everyday on the internet and on the news but what can we do about that? We live on the land and that marine environment is way out there under the water!

What we CAN do is be mindful of our choices on the land since everything we do on the land affects the sea sooner or later! We can be proactive and make some changes to encourage better biodiversity locally; at your house, on your street and in your community.

1. Eliminate or reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers which leach off the land and into the stormwater run-off. Check online to see if you can find some of the do it yourself remedies for garden issues. 
    • worm farms can chew up kitchen waste while giving you back nutrients for the garden.
    • composting your garden refuse provides a circle of life right in your own yard.
    • make your own homemade white oil and other organic solutions to keep pests away.
    • join community action groups who are restoring habitats nearby 
    • plant native plants that enhanced biodiversity and that our wildlife depends upon.

2. Make your yard native friendly so that birds and butterflies have something to eat and install an easy to make "bee hotel" to assist the mild mannered native bees that don't form hives. Although if you like to have hive bees there are plenty of natives that will be happy to oblige given the right kind of hive boxes.

3. Examine what you actually NEED to get by and reduce your consumptionWalking down the street past shops one can wonder how in the world people buy so much stuff! The thrift shops do pretty well out of those excesses but unfortunately most all of our relentless spending ends up in our overwhelmed tips and garbage dumps. Buy second hand and look for things that will last.

4. Use your imagination and find alternative solutions to avoid single use plasticsSingle use plastics have become an ocean scourge affecting the lives of marine animals and the general health of the sea. Most everything we buy has waste packaging that can become a death sentence in the environment. 

Humans are adaptable. That's how we have come as far as we have. With some simple habit changes and actions we can definitely change our impact on our over stressed world and encourage local biodiversity.