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3 March 2006 - Expert advises environment key to regional security      

Expert advises environment key to regional security

Sydney, 6 March 2006                        

Professor Norman Myers begins a speaking tour in Australia today by warning of the consequences of environmental degradation for the economic and political security of Australia and the Pacific Region.  He will speak of water shortages, soil erosion, desertification, pollution, deforestation, and climate change, with emphasis in particular on mass extinction of species.  Professor Myers is interested to see how Australia, one of the most species rich countries in the world, is taking steps to safeguard its many species found nowhere else on earth.

This internationally renowned scientist will also demonstrate how grandscale environmental degradation is a key factor in security issues--no less! Water, soil, vegetation, climate and biodiversity are prime components of a nation’s foundations, and thus they ultimately underpin a nation’s economic activities and political stability. As a nation’s resources are depleted, its economy will eventually decline, its social fabric deteriorate, and its political structure become destabilised. “Leading nations like the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden and China now recognise the many linkages between the environment and security. For instance, the Pentagon in the United States has established an Office of Environmental Security”, said Professor Myers. He also said “I commend the Australian Government for investing in species conservation through the Regional Natural Heritage Program, which supports conservation efforts in the biodiversity ‘hotspots’ of Asia Pacific. 

Professor Myers’ speaking tour is sponsored by Humane Society International’s ‘Extinction Denied’ program and the Australian Government. Professor Myers does not believe in environmental doom and gloom, rather he preaches environmental doom or boom. He is coming to Australia in March to advise Australia’s business leaders that it need not cost the Earth to save the Earth, rather there can be profits aplenty for businesses that are environmentally progressive. Professor Myers will also advise political leaders and policy experts on how environmental supports can supply lifestyles that are not only better off but better. 

Professor Myers, from Oxford University, gained international fame in the early 1970s by being the first scientist worldwide to warn of a mass extinction underway as a result of tropical deforestation.  He has gone on to notch up a series of “research firsts”, including the economic value of species, the new phenomenon of environmental refugees,  the $2 trillion of  “perverse” subsidies that undercut both our economies and our environments,  the emergence of over one billion affluent people in developing countries,  the conservation priority of biodiversity hotspots, and our degradation of evolution for millions of years ahead.   He is only the second scientist to receive three of the four most prestigious environmental prizes worldwide.  He has been an adviser on environmental and hence economic concerns to several Prime Ministers, the World Bank Group, NATO, United Nations agencies, the White House, the Pentagon, and dozens of Japanese business corporations.

The Australian Government is supporting Professor Norman Myers’ speaking tour to build awareness of the environment as a vital factor at the heart of our economies.  He is in Australia until 22nd March, giving lectures to universities, political leaders, policy experts and business heads in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. 

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