As stated in the Australian Curriculum, “The Sustainability priority provides the opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of the necessity of acting for a more sustainable future and so address the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life and meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.” It is important for students to understand the meaning and role of sustainability to increase the likelihood of a more sustainable future.
An example of how sustainability can be intergraded within education is through the teaching of deforestation. Deforestation is the removal of expansive areas of forest lands by humans due to the increasing human population which further increases the demand of socio-economic development (Bradshaw 2011). Nearly 50% of the earth’s original forests have been cleared since the industrial age. According to eSchoolToday, although their has been an increase in awareness due to the improved educational system, deforestation has not decreased significantly because of the large amount of people still participating in the practice for “personal gains” (eSchoolToday 2010). By incorporating sustainability into the Australian Curriculum, it decreases the chance of unsustainable practices occurring.
Forests are crucial to human development as they contain many different habitats which increases the areas biodiversity. This rich diversity results in a greater possibility for “medical discoveries, economic development and adaptive responses to such new challenges as climate change” (eSchoolToday 2010). Forests also contain ecosystems and through the process of land clearing, many homes of species are destroyed resulting in an increase in the likelihood of that particular species going extinct within that area (eSchoolToday 2010.). Deforestation has many negative impacts such as soil erosion destruction, implications within the water cycle, loss of biodiversity and an increase in C02 emissions which contributes to climate change (eSchoolToday 2010).
The graph displayed below shows that Queensland has the highest deforestation rate within Australia from 1995 to 2005 whereas the Northern Territory has only cleared 1.13% of the amount Queensland has destroyed (ConservationBytes 2011). Clearly, it is crucial that the awareness of the negative impacts deforestation has should increase in awareness in hopes for a more sustainable future.
Australia has destroyed almost 40% of its original forests and a large quantity of the remaining vegetation is highly fragmented. If clear and effective policies regarding the restoration of degraded forests and the protection of the current existing forest are not implemented immediately, Australia is at risk of loosing most of the remaining endemic biodiversity due to the large destruction of ecosystems (Bradshaw 2011).
ACARA. 2013. “Cross-Curriculum Priorities.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/cross_curriculum_priorities.html.
ConservationBytes. 2011. “Deforestation Partly to Blame for Queensland Floods.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://conservationbytes.com/2011/01/17/deforestation-qld-floods/.
Corey J. A. Bradshaw. 2011. “Little left TO lose: deforestation and forest degradation in Australia since European colonization.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://jpe.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/1/109.full.
eSchoolToday. 2010. “Effects of Deforestation.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://eschooltoday.com/forests/problems-of-deforestation.html.
eSchoolToday. 2010. “Importance of Forests.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://eschooltoday.com/forests/importance-of-forests.html.
eSchoolToday. 2010. “What is Deforestation.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://eschooltoday.com/forests/what-is-deforestation.html.