Hi everyone! My name is Mac Veh and I’m a sophomore at Michigan State studying Environmental Studies & Sustainability and Political Science [Pre-Law]. I’m from Toledo, Ohio and I like to do so many things. I have this philosophy that one path isn’t for me, so all of my hobbies and ambitious are spread across multiple areas of education. I like to think that I’m a good photographer and video editor, but who knows. Through this education abroad program, I’m hoping to learn more about different cultures within a place I’ve never been to before.
Along with learning about new cultures and ideas, I want to study the ways that Australia is working towards promoting sustainability and preserving the natural environment. For my project, I want to examine the ways Australian policies are working towards reversing the environmental damage that was caused during the colonization of the continent, like land degradation and soil erosion. Through the settlement of Australia, the British colonists overused and abused the natural ecosystem so much to the point of possible environmental collapse. In another project that I did for one of my CSUS classes, I examined the environmental decisions that could lead to a societal collapse, and this trip is an opportunity to look into the outcome of these decisions. In my project, I plan on looking at the current ways the Australian people are working towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable future in all aspects of society, such as agriculture, urban settings, and more. I also think that using photographs could help support my ideas, as they could be used to further explain the steps being taken in Australia.
Davison, A. “Urban Nature and Australian Environmentalism: the Urban Experience of Members of Environmental Groups in Hobart and Perth.” Urban Nature and Australian Environmentalism: the Urban Experience of Members of Environmental Groups in Hobart and Perth – Open Access Repository, 1 Jan. 1970, eprints.utas.edu.au/1524/.
Griffith, Hywel. “Why Climate ‘Paralysis’ Looms over Australia’s Election.” BBC News, BBC, 5 May 2019, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-48145505.
“The Movements of the Australian Environment Movement.” Friends of the Earth Australia, http://www.foe.org.au/movements_of_australian_environment_movement.
After traveling throughout Australia for a month and learn all about the sustainable acts that people are doing throughout the continent, it is clear to me that the Australians are very aware of their actions and how they affect the environment. From visit to visit, farm to market, and municipal plant to eco-houses, people all across Australia are creating change and adapting to a world threatened by climate-related environmental issues. It is truly incredible to see so many like-minded, educated, and passionate individuals work towards creating a revolutionary lifestyle for the future of human society.
In terms of land degradation, the environmentally-minded people of Australia are working tirelessly to create the most of what they’re given from the environment. At the Syntropic Farm, the farmers are using different types of vegetation in collaboration to effectively and efficiently use the water that they’re provided. In an increasingly variable climate with volatile weather patterns, the people of Yungaburra are truly working towards creating change in the agricultural industry. Similar to this, the desalinization plant in Adelaide saw the need for a more efficient and geologically easier source of water, so change was created. The plant now provides water to people throughout Adelaide and the surrounding areas, making it more accessible, compared to buying from other plants, towns, or states. Lastly, environmentalists throughout Australia, ranging from the pastoralists at Jigsaw Farms to the ecologists at Calperum Station have acknowledged the need for large areas of trees for the sustainable cycle of promoting biodiversity and maintain soil structure and health.
Overall, it is clear to see that the people of Australia are determined to combat climate change and the ecological issues created by the uneducated and consequential actions of the imperialist colonizers.
Australian Academy of Science. (2015). The science of climate change questions and answers. Retrieved from https://www.science.org.au/learning/general-audience/science-booklets-0/science-climate- change .
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2006, January 20). Land degradation. Retrieved from https://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/faeb6096cda4d9adca256bdc001223ff!OpenDocument
Bradshaw, C. J. A. (2012). Little left to lose: deforestation and forest degradation in Australia since European colonization. Journal of Plant Ecology, 5(1), 109–120, https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtr038
Cullen, P. (2004). Water: the key to sustainability in a dry land. In J. Goldie, B. Douglas, & B. Furnass (Eds.) In Search of Sustainability. CSIRO Publishing.
Diamond, J. M. (2011). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. NY, NY: Penguin Books.
Gretton, P., & Salma, U. (1996). Land Degradation And The Australian Agricultural Industry. Productivity Commission: Industry Devision. Retrieved from https://www.pc.gov.au/research/supporting/land-degradation/landdegr.pdf.
Leahy, S. (2018, March 26). 75% of Earth’s Land Areas Are Degraded. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/03/ipbes-land-degradation-environmental-damage-report-spd/
Rodale Institute. (n.d.). Regenerative organic agriculture and climate change: A down-to-earth solution to global warming. Retrieved from https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/rodale-white-paper.pdf .
The AGE: National Victoria. (10 July 2015) Mount Rothwell: the feral free incubator for Victoria’s lost species. Retrieved from https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/mount-rothwell-the-feral-free-incubator-for-victorias-lost-species-20150710-gi9avy.html .