June 8 is World Oceans Day 2022. It is a chance for people to celebrate and take action for our shared planet – a place with just one ocean and one climate which connect us all. Action needs to be taken to care for our fragile world every day and conscious consumerism has undoubtedly taken hold over recent years, however days like this are a chance to re-set and re-commit to our actions on an individual level.

The world is warming and the consequences of humanity’s past choices are now being felt more than ever. This is not an opinion but a simple fact, one which was recently brought home to residents here Northern Rivers (NSW).

Northern Rivers floods 2022

This year, residents in Lismore have experienced two consecutive major floods.

On February 28, the devastating first flood peaked at 14.4 metres, two metres higher than the previous record of 12.27 metres in 1954. This was also well above the town’s 10-metre-high levee wall, constructed in 2005. Four people died and 2,000 homes were destroyed or deemed unlivable of the city’s 19,000.

Four week’s later on March 29, as Lismore and the entire Northern Rivers struggled to recover from the first flood, heavy rain began falling onto the soaked catchment feeding into Wilsons River. Once again, Lismore’s traumatised community had to evacuate, with predictions of floods of 10.6 metres. The flood only reached 9.7 metres. But then a further 279mm of rain fell between 9am Tuesday and 6am Wednesday 30 March, with an 11 metre flood predicted. Once again, residents had to evacuate.

Whilst waters have receded the rain has consistently continued falling since. The wet weather is attributed to a La Niña weather pattern, and yes Australia does have a highly variable rainfall however as the world warms, the atmosphere can hold more water. That means we are more likely to see larger floods.

Taking action

While the issue can seem insurmountable and bigger than us as individuals, it is important not to feel helpless. There are small actions we can all take everyday to make a difference.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Shop smart

Studies have shown Australians waste up to $2,500 on food per household each year. When food rots in landfill it produces greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn negatively impact the environment. Plan your meals to ensure you only buy what you need – in doing so you’ll not only be saving the environment but you’ll be saving a few dollars too.

Be water wise 

world oceans day 2022 water wise

According to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation cutting your shower from 8 minutes to 4 minutes saves up to 13,140 litres of water and 350kg of carbon dioxide every year. Additional measures to reduce your water use include installing water-saving shower heads and turning off all water when brushing your teeth. You may also consider investing in a rain water tank.

Slash single use plastics

Make sure you take your own, reusable bags when doing the shopping. Place them by your door or keep them in your car. It will quickly become second nature to grab them as you go. Additionally so ‘no thank you’ to single use straws, coffee cups, food containers etc. A little organisation can have a big impact in this area.

Power down

Reduce your carbon footprint. Make sure you turn lights off in your home or office when they are not needed. Consider replacing light-globes and appliances with energy efficient ones when the time comes.

 

Get educated

Take the power into your own hands and get educated – a wealth of useful information is only a click away. Here are some sites to help you sharpen your understanding of Mother Earth:

 

Great Barrier Reef Foundation – An Australian non-profit organisation established in 1999 to help protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef.

Greenpeace International – Greenpeace is one of the leading organizations advocating for the environment. The independent global campaigning nonprofit works to protect and conserve Mother Earth while promoting peace at the same time.

The Conversation – curated by professional editors, The Conversation offers informed commentary and debate on the issues affecting our world.

National Geographic – National Geographic is best known for its beautiful magazine covers, depicting natural and cultural scenes from all over the world.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *