World Environment Day - 5 June 2008
CO2 Kick the Habit! Towards a low carbon economy

Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions (that is, carbon dioxide and other gases emitted by your car, power stations, industries and appliances) are something that we have all heard about. We can't see them, so it can be hard to imagine what you can do to help reduce the problem.

That is why the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has chosen World Environment Day this year to focus on raising awareness to countries, companies and communities about greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them, hence the theme - 'CO2 Kick the Habit! Towards a low carbon economy'.

When you hear the words 'kick the habit' it immediately makes people think of smoking. Just as we have changed our attitudes towards smoking over the years and realised it is a dangerous addiction, we now need to realise that our 'addiction' to carbon is unhealthy for us, and the planet!

We are addicted in the way we rely on cars, fossil fuels for electricity and all the things we consume. We therefore need to make conscious decisions to change our ways if we are going to kick the carbon habit, which may take as much determination as kicking a smoking habit.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is also not just a terrestrial issue...it is also affecting life on the water.

Boats on the water

Studies have shown that fishing boats, and to a lesser degree the transport of seafood, cause the most greenhouse gas emissions in the fishing industry. That is why staff at the Department of Fisheries, along with the industry, are working out ways to reduce emissions during fishing activities.

Some of the ways emissions (might be able to be reduced) include:
  • using fuel-efficient engines (with on-board computers and adjustable propellers to ensure boats are driven in the most efficient manner);
  • using bio-fuels instead of diesel;
  • going out less often; and
  • restructuring fisheries so that fewer boats are driving over the same patch of ocean to catch the same amount of fish.

It's not just the professional fishing industry that can make changes either. Recreational boat users can reduce greenhouse emissions by looking at the size and efficiency of their vessels, the duration of the trips they make and how fast they make them.

We can all make a difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions both on and off the water!

If you would like to read more about these ideas, check out the April 2008 edition of Western Fisheries, available from newsagents, Department of Fisheries offices, the NMDC gift shop or by phoning 9203 0353.

For more information on World Environment Day visit www.unep.org/wed/

Did you know - Jellie