Advances in Sustainable Development in Australia

Based on its rating of 0.15 on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when one considers the potential effects of global climate change. Due to this susceptibility, it is clear that urgent action is necessary to protect Australia from the potentially devastating consequences of unchecked climate change.

Australians are keenly aware of the need to act swiftly in response to this issue, and many recent advances provide ample reason for optimism. This article will review five key areas in which Australia has made substantial progress toward the goal of addressing global climate change, but there are still quite a few other areas in need of greater attention and advancement as well.

Circular Economy

According to estimates produced by the World Economic Forum, a circular economy in Australia could be worth over $26 billion in Australia within the next 10 years. Consumers throughout the country are already adopting circular economic principles through the re-purposing, re-using, or recycling of goods, which has had a positive effect across all industries — especially those in which business models based on the circular economy are becoming more prevalent.

Water Policy

Although Australia trails many developed countries in metrics that calculate the rate of carbon emissions per person as well as the loss of biodiversity, the country’s water policy has ensured that Australia’s water quality ranks near the top when compared to the rest of the world. The Australian government regulates the country’s water resources and is responsible for monitoring and reporting on not just the overall water quality, but also on the sustainable practices designed to ensure the responsible use of available water.

Employment in the Sustainable Development Sector

Australia’s sustainable development sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country, but it should be noted that the speedy growth of this particular sector does not mean that Australia has kept pace with the rest of the world. Efforts have been made in recent years to further stimulate growth, especially due to Australia’s low ratings in terms of climate change and clean energy goals.

Marine Biodiversity

One of the greatest threats posed by global climate change is the potential loss of marine biodiversity in the waters of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the most obvious example of this loss, as the bleaching of the coral reef is inextricably linked to global climate change. Australia has introduced a number of rules and regulations designed to protect marine biodiversity, and marine scientists and others have developed promising strategies for mitigating the loss of marine biodiversity the country has already experienced.

Education for Sustainable Development

In 2009, Australia introduced a national action plan designed to “equip all Australians with the knowledge and skills required to live sustainably.” Since the plan’s introduction, a great deal of the progress that has been made across the country can be largely attributed to the overall efficacy of these sustainable education efforts. Through a reorientation of the Australian education program and an effort to “harness community spirit to act,” this action plan has encouraged people throughout Australia to alter their lifestyles in a manner that is far more sustainable and environmentally conscious.