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Fernandez, Joanna Lynne M.

April 26, 2015

Bio 164 (Headline of the Week Topic 3)

Carmichael mine may push rare bird to extinction, scientists warn Greg Hunt
Of all the news I read online this week, this article really struck me the most because it clearly
shows how we humans directly affect the environment and all the plants and animals in the planet. The
issue of humans being the drivers of most species extinctions has been going round for the past years
and for some, it may be considered pass. Is it really an old topic that no one should really bother looking
into? Or is it in fact a pressing issue that clearly needs to be dealt with as soon as possible?
In Australia, particularly in the Galilee Basin region, a $16.5 billion mining project called
Carmichael mine is set to be developed. In line with the creation of Australias largest mine, scientists
have warned of the serious detrimental and irreversible consequences that it will have for the
endangered black-throated finch. A black finch recovery team comprised of scientists from
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and James Cook University as
well as representatives from Townsville council also warned of possible extinction for said bird species if
the project will push through. In fact, the recovery team have already written to Greg Hunt, the federal
environment minister, about the possible consequences and detrimental impacts of the mine especially
that part of the areas to be cleared contain the only two remaining habitats where significant populations
of black-throated finches remain. As a response to such threats, Adani, the Indian mining firm that will
operate the mine, is required to find more than 28,000 hectares of habitat outside the mining site for the
finches, as part of an offset strategy to compensate for habitat loss. However, the recovery team states
this will not work because any prospective offset that consists of suitable habitat will already be
supporting black-throated finches and so cannot provide habitat for displaced birds.
The article provided facts and figures which are very useful for the readers to really understand
the claims of the report. By doing so, the extent of the impact of the planned clearing will be understood
well even by readers who dont have scientific training and background. The article also included
interviews from people who are real experts of the field which was good because this kind of issue is a
very serious one and we dont want just anyone to make a comment on this and claim expertise.
Personally though, I really am sadenned by the news. As I said in the first part, this kind of topic
may seem pass or sometimes redundant for many of us. Okay, we hear news about such things and for
some time, we talk about them and throw off our opinions to other concerned colleagues. But then what?
What do we really do in situations like these? I must admit, I was once a believer of nature being an
unlimited souce. I once believed that its okay to cut trees again and again without considering the impact
that it may have on animals and us humans. Fortunately, in my years of stay in the university, I have
learned how to be more critical of many issues as I have accepted that we have our responsibility for all
the things on Earth. We should not just think of ourselves, we must consider other species as well. We
should not think highly of our race, we must put in our minds that we are merely equal with all the other
supposedly lowly creatures that thrive on Earth. We should not just think of the present and how we will
survive and live comfortably. We must think of the future generations to come and how theyll manage to
live. As clich as it may sound, we must start changing our way of thinking today. We must take action
and start to view the environment as not just some source of unlimited resources but as a major part of
our daily lives.
(Article from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/24/carmichael-mine-may-push-rare-bird-to-extinction-scientistswarn-greg-hunt)