John Connor, It Is Time
Australia is famous for its unusual animals (think koalas and kangaroos), but according to a new government report, thousands of the nation’s mammal, reptile, and bird species could go extinct if the pace of land-clearing continues unabated. The report, known as the “Biodiversity Audit” and leaked to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday, found that 2,891 separate ecosystems in Australia are at risk — some of them beyond salvation. Some 1.2 million acres of land in Australia are lost to clearcutting every year, and environmentalists accuse the government of doing nothing to stem the tide, even in the face of plenty of information about the impending crisis. “Past generations may have sleepwalked through extinctions like that of the Tasmanian tiger. We are about to do it with our eyes open,” says John Connor, campaign director of the Australian Conservation Foundation.