Despite the changes that occurred after European settlement, Melbourne’s urban waterways still contain remnant ecosystems, which faintly echo the diversity they once displayed. In addition to their contribution to the city’s environmental values, urban waterways also provide important social, economic, and aesthetic benefits.
In the latter part of the last century “cloud-seeding” was the favoured way to make it rain on a local catchment, likely at the expense of rainfall in some distant and unknown place. Historians have noted that, often, one of the first acts of colonial powers has been to modify the hydrologic cycle to their advantage by building channels and dams.
Australia’s caves were formed over millions of years, and exploring them is a journey to a hidden underworld that holds many wonders. But caves and karst landforms need our protection. They house complex ecosystems, critical habitat for plants, animals, and micro-organisms which, in many cases, cannot survive elsewhere. The biggest threat is overuse from tourism – which builds positive awareness, but also damages their natural integrity.
There is no denying that climate change is here. In many of the articles I have written for the Royal Society of Victoria, climate change seems to be a common thread woven among them. In Australia, this means warmer temperatures, less rainfall, and more extreme weather events. How do we ensure our land is ready for the change that is already happening and continues to intensify? Years of attending RSV presentations only reinforce in my mind our desperate need for better land management.