These resources will assist students of all ages with their understanding of the sustainable management of Australia's natural and environmental resources and heritage.
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Sustainable living is about finding a balance between our modern lifestyles, the environment, water and natural resources. To ensure there is a healthy planet for the future we must all think about ways we can lessen our impact on the environment and reduce our energy, water and material consumption. There are many local, national and international activities that focus on sustainability, the largest this year is the RIO+20 conference in Brazil.
Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms on earth -- the different plants, animals and micro-organisms and the habitats of which they are a part. We all depend, directly and indirectly, on living systems for our health and wellbeing. No matter how technologically advanced we are, we rely on food, fibre, materials and energy from nature for our continuing existence.
Australia's vast oceans provide many benefits to the community, Our oceans are a source of food, provide recreational activities, tourist hotspots, and support a range of industries such as minerals and energy that contribute to our economy. Our oceans, and the life in them, need to remain healthy, productive and resilient so that future generations can enjoy them as we do now.
Heritage includes places, values, traditions, events and experiences that capture where we've come from, where we are now and gives context to where we are headed as a community. Our heritage gives us understanding and conveys the stories of our development as a nation, our spirit and ingenuity, and our unique, living landscapes. Heritage is an inheritance that helps define our future.
Land is all around us, from the wide open plains, high mountains, flowing rivers and suburban areas. The land is our environment and provides us with clean water, clean air and healthy soils, as well as maintaining our unique biological diversity. Unfortunately some human interactions with our land creates changes to the natural landscape and in some instances we cause damage to waterways, plants and animals. Through the Caring for our Country initiative, activities are undertaken to maintain landscapes and biodiversity while balancing our lifestyle and production needs.
Australia faces major challenges in ensuring our water recourses are shared and managed sustainably. Australia's water is vital for healthy river systems and wetlands and is also needed in the agricultural and manufacturing industries to produce food and products.. The Water for the Future program takes action to address water shortages around the country, and these actions are shaped by the best available information on water availability and the way we use water.
Parks Australia supports the Director of National Parks, the federal park agency, in conserving Australia's biodiversity and cultural heritage. The Commonwealth's terrestrial protected areas, including six national parks (three jointly managed with their traditional owners) and two botanic gardens, are managed by Parks Australia. The national parks range from tiny Pulu-Keeling, a pristine atoll far out in the Indian Ocean, to the iconic World-Heritage-listed Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta and the Booderee National Parks.
The Australian Government has a long history of working with Indigenous people, particularly in natural resource management and heritage related activities. We recognise and respect the knowledge Indigenous people have in managing Australia's land, fresh water and sea, and in conserving biodiversity. Indigenous Australians are key partners with us in managing Australia's environment and cultural heritage.
Antarctica is the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent in the world and located right at the bottom of the world. Although Antarctica is one of the harshest environments on the planet it is it also one of the most vulnerable and needs our help to protect it. Australia is one of a group of nations who have signed the the Antarctic Treaty and there are now measures in place to protect Antarctica's plants, animals and prevent pollution of world's most pristine environment.
Waste and Pollution
Waste is created when items are no longer fit for use and are thrown away. Waste can be as small as rubbish from a chocolate wrapper and as large as an old television. Pollution, like waste and is caused when substances end up where they shouldn't be, for example chemical pollution in our waterways or exhaust fumes from cars polluting the air and our atmosphere. The Department is helping to address waste and pollution through The National Waste Policy which is an efficient and environmentally responsible approach to waste management in Australia.
Atmosphere is a layer of gases which surrounds the earth. The Australian Government has taken decisive measures in recent years to protect the atmosphere and continues to work to improve the quality of air in urban areas and to promote the recovery of the ozone layer. The focus is now on improving fuel quality and reducing vehicle emissions, transport options that reduce pollution without impacting on access and mobility, management of wood heater emissions and the monitoring and management of fine particle pollution.
Laws and regulations
Laws and regulations are rules which govern issues and areas of importance. The department is responsible for legislation enforcing and monitoring a number of specific regulations around national environment law, fuel, water, pollution, heritage places and shipwrecks.
Other useful links
Still looking for information? Here are some links you might also find useful:
- Australian Alps: Education Resources
- Murray Darling Basin Authority: Education Resources
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority: About the Reef
- Bureau of Meteorology: Students and Teachers
- Future Sparks
- Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Education
- LivingGreener: Take action
- Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
- Green Vehicle Guide
- Waterwatch Australia
- CSIRO: Education
- Indigenous resources