The WHO estimates that one in six people will experience infertility in their lifetime. Further, we have seen a dramatic decrease of almost 50% in both male sperm count and female conception rates in the past 50 years. This decrease can be largely attributed to our increasing exposure to chemicals in our environment known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
When we think of pollution in streams and rivers, we tend to think first of rubbish in water; the litter traps along the Yarra River in Melbourne’s CBD that are often overflowing, or the empty plastic bottles along the Moonee Ponds Creek. But water pollution takes many forms, from physical trash to invisible chemicals that accumulate in our waterways.
Victoria can simultaneously solve Melbourne’s future sewerage crisis whilst building a sustainable carbon credits sector. A common sight for Melbourne’s residents in the 1850’s would have been carts full of “nightsoil” trundling down Flemington Road. Melbourne subsequently built one of the world’s best municipal water systems, supporting the quality of life its residents enjoy today.
Unnecessary overtreatment costs Australia $30 billion per annum. Only 60% of diagnostics and treatments are effective, while 30% is of no or little value and 10% can be harmful. So while medical care undoubtedly provides many benefits to many people, sometimes treatments can be ineffective and sometimes even downright harmful. We could save more than 8,000 kilotons of carbon emissions by scrapping low value care that does not demonstrate any benefit.
As a custodian species of the planet’s ecosystems, we have become disconnected from our responsibilities, attending to the patterns that build the complex web of life. Our activities and waste products are disrupting ecosystems, impacting the reproductive success of other animals. Pharmaceutical waste can persist even in the most remote places on the planet, including Antarctica. But it’s not all bad news, particularly if we pay attention to where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.