NSW State of the Environment Report: "We are doing something totally wrong", CSU says

ACTION NEEDED: Climate change is a moral issue now, we've got to make some serious changes to how we look at the environment, CSU expert says. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.
ACTION NEEDED: Climate change is a moral issue now, we've got to make some serious changes to how we look at the environment, CSU expert says. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.

THE impacts of human settlement and climate change are having a disturbing impact on the environment, Charles Sturt University's (CSU) Dr John Rafferty says.

The triennial State of the Environment Report released on Thursday details the condition of water, climate, air, land and biodiversity in NSW.

It revealed that the number of threatened species has increased by three per cent in NSW, with 1025 plants and animals now at risk of extinction.

In the Central West, it showed river conditions in the Macquarie-Bogan catchment were rated as moderate, however the fish condition in the Macquarie were extremely poor.

Inland NSW's population has grown by 40,430 people (3.3 per cent) during the past five years, with the Central West expected to grow by another two per cent by the year 2036.

Dr Rafferty, a senior lecturer in environmental education at CSU, said some of the data in the report was disturbing and "we are doing something totally wrong" to the environment.

"Climate change is a moral issue now, we've got to make some serious changes to how we look at the environment," he said.

"We've got to look more holistically at things, the science is great but we need a holistic approach."

This report was released just days after a United Nations report on biodiversity found that one million species were at risk of extinction in the coming decades.

Dr Rafferty said while the NSW report was laden with data and statistics, it was vital to look further afield.

"It's insane to look at NSW and ignore the global trends," he said.

"We can't have a business as usual approach ...we've known this stuff for a long time."

Dr Rafferty said while much of the Central West was in drought, and droughts have occurred many times throughout history, climate change was having a large impact.

"We've always had drought, but the frequency and the intensity [of this drought] is the real thing," he said.

"Droughts do occur, but lets look at the past 100 years and the parallels."

In the lead up to the federal election, Dr Rafferty said all too often, politicians do not look much further than their own term in office and any attempt to make improvements to the environment would take a long-term approach.

"This is a long term issue, we need to really make some serious changes," he said.