(over)Population - the Elephant in the room

Jenny Warfe of Blue Wedges Coalition names the Elephant in the Room – population  growth that is our worst enemy.

To:  Director Forests and Parks Strategy
Marine Investigation Process
Department of Sustainability and Environment
PO Box 500, EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002
 
Victoria's marine environment is suffering pressure from numerous threats such as invasive species, pollution and climate change – all human induced. However, the most pressing threat is human population growth and the obvious implications for the land and marine environments that our impacts pose.
This is illustrated well in the observations of Associate Professor Andrew Wilford from Bond University who recently stated that 10,000 years ago, humans and our domesticated animals, including animals kept for food production like cattle, accounted for 0.1% of mammal biomass. All the rest of the world’s mammals – lions, elephants, whales, kangaroos, antelopes etc. ? accounted for 99.9%.
 
By the start of the Industrial Revolution we and our domesticated animals accounted for 10?12%, and the rest of the world’s mammals accounted for nearly 90%.
 
Today we account for between 96% and 98%. All the wild animals put together now only account for 2 to 4% of the mass of mammals on Earth. It is a stunning and alarming transformation.
 
No wonder our marine environment is under threat. We have a basic obligation to protect those remaining 2?4% and the habitats on which they depend. I therefore submit that the terms of reference for the VEAC marine inquiry are far too narrow, only target the small percentage of Victoria's marine environment that lies within marine protected areas, and ignores the elephant in the room – human population impacts.
In relation to the other threats named above -invasive species, pollution and climate change - and for which in reality humans are the “vector”, the scope of this inquiry also needs to be broadened.
Taxpayer money and time will only be maximised if 100% of the marine environment and its catchments is assessed, not just 11% - because the management and health of the whole marine environment is vital. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive marine planning framework and legislation that properly protects the environment.
Part 1 of the investigation should include:
Ongoing threats or challenges to the whole Victorian marine environment and biodiversity, including opportunities for improved management and protection. Human population growth must clearly be considered in this context.
Part 2 of the investigation should include:
Marine planning, including improved legislative and institutional models for managing the marine environment and coastal habitats.
The recommendations from the Environmental Conservation Council's (ECC) Marine, Coastal & Estuarine Investigation Final Report, 2000.
The findings from Australian and international scientific studies of marine protected areas.
Yours sincerely,
 
Jenny Warfe