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.
Knowledge holders and leaders from across Victoria, including Traditional Owners, gathered at the Royal Society of Victoria to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Victoria in biodiversity conservation and recovery, considering the urgent need to establish an independent Taskforce. RSV President Rob Gell framed the biodiversity crisis as “everyone’s problem.”
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.
Supply disruptions affect food prices, most affecting people on low incomes and those already food insecure. Fewer than 5% of Australian adults eat the recommended number of vegetable servings daily. If everyone did, we would not have enough. Led by Dr Rachel Carey, the Foodprint Melbourne project seeks to increase equitable access to fresh, healthy foods and promote sustainable production for current and future generations of Australians.
There are around 6,500 different types of Australian native foods, but there are many barriers to First Nations people commercialising them. Currently, Aboriginal people only receive 1-2% of revenue from the commercial bush food space. The good news is that 40% of the land mass has been returned to Traditional Custodians, and now with a formalised commercialisation and export strategy for native foods, the opportunities for Indigenous producers are endless.