Dr Ross Wissing’s decade working in WaterWatch showed him how to help local communities work with natural resource managers to learn about, understand, and improve the health of their local waterways. Ross fears declining investment means many of the mistakes of the past, and lessons learned, have been forgotten – and are now being repeated.
How big is the problem of invasive species? In the words of Deakin University’s Professor Euan Ritchie, ‘the short answer is: it’s massive’. Invasive genes and species are one of the biggest environmental problems facing Australia and the number one cause of native species extinctions. They also cause immense economic and cultural damage; since the 1960s, Australia has variously spent and incurred losses amounting to $390 billion due to invasive species.
Our environment cannot bounce back from major petrochemical contamination, on top of the constant flow of waste from agriculture, textile factories and our homes. The cheap and easy approach to dealing with waste has been to simply bury it, which is unsustainable, especially as chemicals inevitably leech out into soils and waters. While thermal desorption removes contaminants, it also kills the soil. The best solution is bioremediation.
Let’s Torque is a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) communication skills development initiative that runs a public speaking competition for undergraduate students. In 2017, a group of students in Monash University’s Global Challenges course (BSc Honours) launched a dynamic program that is now run by and for students from all universities across the state. Our thanks to all participants for stepping up for this year’s locked-down competition!