Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: June 4

Threats to environment are urgent 

This Friday, June 5, marks World Environment Day. Now, more than ever, we need to stop and reflect on our environment and our place in it.

The bushfires last summer were a wake up call to us all about the vulnerability of our environment. More than 12 million hectares of National Parks and bushland were destroyed and an estimated one billion animals perished due to the fires.

ACTION: The theme for World Environment Day, on June 5, is Biodiversity.

ACTION: The theme for World Environment Day, on June 5, is Biodiversity.

EcoNetwork-Port Stephens is a grassroots community-based environmental and sustainability network comprising 26 community and environment groups and eco-businesses with a focus on sustainable planning. Many of our members work tirelessly to protect and enhance our environment. However, we are increasingly playing catch up with world events; koala rescues, cleaning up plastic from our waterways, restoring habitat corridors or fighting to keep the balance in Port Stephens between our beautiful bush and its water environments and human encroachment.

In 2020, the theme for World Environment Day is Biodiversity. The threats to our planet's biodiversity are a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa - and now, a global disease pandemic - demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which they exist.

Biodiversity is the foundation that supports all life on land and below water. It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance, and climate change mitigation.

Changing, or removing one element of this web affects the entire life system and can produce negative consequences. Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture, and acceleration of climate change, have pushed nature beyond its limit. In the last 150 years, the live coral reef cover in our oceans has been reduced by half.

Within the next 10 years, one out of every four known species will possibly be extinct. If we continue on this path, biodiversity loss will have severe implications for humanity, including the collapse of food and health systems.

There is no room for complacency.

We have shown during the pandemic that we can act together to achieve radical change. We saw emissions drop world wide as vehicles and industry stopped or slowed down. We have the means, the ideas and the knowledge to change our trajectory towards an unlivable planet. We just need the will to implement them. You can read more at www.un.org/en/observances/environment-day.

Kathy Brown, EcoNetwork-Port Stephens

Gan Gan plan worthwhile

To provide employment and generate local income, now would be a good time to approve the development proposal for the old army camp between Nelson Bay and Gan Gan Roads (Gan Gan Army Camp grand plan, Examiner, News, March 5).

It would also be great to have all the dumped rubbish in this area cleaned up at last.

Wal Midgley, Corlette

Bowled over by club's efforts

Congratulations to Soldiers Point Bowling Club for keeping its greens open for members to play bowls during the coronavirus lockdown.

The club gained no income from this concession which gave many of us valuable outdoor recreation and exercise.

While no formal competitions were played, informal pairs games were permissible while observing social distancing requirements. The club ensured seating arrangements were such that members complied with the law.

We look forward to the club reopening and regular competition bowls being played.

Peter S Smith, Soldiers Point