What is its condition or situation since it is affected daily by climate change, declining water quality from coastal runoff, development...
Hard question to answer. Australia is indeed having environmental problems, however the biggest problem is the drought. We're really not sure if it is 'climate change' or part of Australia's natural cycle (at around 1896-1901 there was a huge drought similar to this), but our water habits and farming habits and developments are not making it 'better', that's for sure. Damming upstream of the River Murray causes massive problems for South Australia's water supply. Farming of unsuitable produce such as rice (!) causes a problem too, but people argue back that it's better for the environment or we'd have to ship the rice further from Asia. I'm rather torn on that issue.
We've changed our attitudes in a few ways. I'm amazed hearing about 30 minute showers from Americans, and that '15 minutes is a short shower' from others, where here, we're usually limiting ourselves to 10 minutes maximum. We already had dual flush toilets. People are installing rain water tanks, recycled water systems, solar panels, and other things. The government is creating desalination plants (though this will cause salinity problems in the ocean, which is not good), storm water cleaning (many people are opposed to this) and have banned plastic bags in shops. People willingly shower with buckets, so that they can water their plants, or use that water to flush toilets- we're under water restrictions that mean we can't water our gardens as much as they need. If people have a green lawn in summer, people look at them as if they're being decadent, and others put signs on their lawn informing the public that they're using bore water, or rain water, so they don't get glared at.
I think Australia looks about the same as it did, but the growing population does mean there are more housing developments going up, which always distresses me. Australia is a place where people love living in suburbia. These developments are often tiny plots of land (gardens that are 2 metres wide...), and are also often on land that would be better put to farms or parklands. I wouldn't want to live there, and I also want to see more trees. Cutting down trees doesn't do any good, especially when they don't plant more to take their place because of the water crisis! However I don't know what to do with all the people either. Perhaps new settlements out in land that doesn't grow much produce? Attitude change perhaps should happen.
Please don't think we're a treeless, ugly place though! We're dry, yes, and there are houses and cities, but we're still nice. I promise. :)
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