Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The state of Australia: our environment

By Ian Lowe

The state of Australia’s environment is a real worry – and we have the report cards to prove it.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

For the past two decades, successive federal governments have received a series of independent, five-yearly State of the Environment reports. I was appointed to chair the first national assessment, which delivered its findings in May 1996. And what we concluded then – a lifetime ago for an 18-year-old reading this today – is even truer now:

Some aspects of Australia’s environment are in good condition by international standards … Unfortunately, [this] report also shows that Australia has some serious environmental problems.

How we’re doing now

Whether you read the latest 2011 State of the Environment report, or the first from 1996, many of Australia’s biggest environmental problems have remained the same. But what has changed is the scale and speed of action now needed to fix them.

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The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.