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Mail address: P O Box 245 6906 North Perth, WA, Australia
E-mail: Information for Action is a non profit environmental organization committed to environmental change in our global community. Work on the website began in 1999 by President Rowland Benjamin and is maintained by a group of talented volunteers.

Environment - General



The Montreal Protocol is supported by many countries around the world and calls for the reduction in emissions of the main greenhouse gases. It also called for a monetary fund to be set up to aid developing countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So far, this fund has delivered over $1 billion to various countries for numerous projects. There has also been the development and adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has been ratified by 188 countries. However, only 120 countries have ratified the more legally binding Kyoto Protocol, even though many have signed the treaty.

Many localities around the world are also preparing greenhouse gas inventories and actively pursuing programs and policies to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions. This includes local governments participating in the “Cities for Climate Protection” program run by ICLEI, in which they are required to reach targets in the reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve milestones. In 2005, 188 countries will be required to submit reports to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change using new emission reporting guidelines. There is also a need for governments to develop alternative fuel sources to burning fossil fuels and encourage industry groups to produce their own efficient energy.

A cluster of biodiversity policies is currently emerging, including CBD, CITES, CMS and the Ramsar Convention. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by 182 parties by December 2001. It has 3 main goals: the conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of the components of biodiversity; and sharing the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. There is also the recent development of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) which was established to gather information and data, needed to assist in determining the success of global initiatives to protect biodiversity. Currently there is no way to determine the effect of the implementation of applicable policy and how the policy changes may protect or change biodiversity.

There needs to be better support and encouragement for holistic approaches to land management, such as integrated plant nutrition systems and integrated pest management which will lead to better agricultural system health worldwide. There is current work to establish an international program which will develop a set of land quality indicators to allow for the comparison of global land degradation.

Whilst ambient air quality has improved around the world, there is still the need for vigilance. Concerns over common air pollutants have resulted in reductions in many countries. This was achieved through specific policy measures, including emissions and air quality standards, technology-based regulations and different market-based instruments. Stricter environmental regulations in developed countries have resulted in cleaner technology and technological improvements. However, rapid urbanisation in developing countries, along with lenient air pollution legislation has resulted in increasing levels of air pollution.

Throughout the world there have been many areas of forest that have been protected and set aside for conservation and recreation purposes. There has been the implementation of forest certification to inform buyers of the environmental standards reached to provide forest products, that was brought about by a lack of government participation in improving forest management globally. Dealing successfully with forests internationally will depend on the international community achieving political, financial, scientific and technical support for sustainable forest management, particularly in developing countries. It will also require the development of sound land and forest use policies, ongoing monitoring of forests and the introduction of forest management planning at international level.

Unfortunately, the emphasis on water supply, along with weak enforcement of regulations has limited the effectiveness of water resource management, especially in developing countries. There has also been a move away from the focus on riparian rights towards the exploration of efficiency improvements and river basin management, along with a shift from supply solutions to demand management, including water use efficiency and pricing policies. The Second World Water Forum, held in 2000, declared the main challenges, in regards to freshwater, as meeting basic needs, securing the food supply, protecting ecosystems, sharing water resources, managing risks, valuing water and governing water wisely. There has also been the development of methods to encourage people in developing countries to treat their own water using diluted chlorine and special containers.

There are currently international agreements on the treatment of ballast water for exotic species and dumping of waste into oceans in development and these will need to be supported by all countries. There have also been recent developments in the use and technology for wastewater treatment facilities, which will greatly reduce the amount of nutrients in sewage being dumped in marine environments.


  • Talk about the environment. Increasing awareness is the first step towards helping the environment.
  • No matter which country you live in, the environmental problems are the same or similar. Action on these issues is most effective when undertaken in an international context. Think globally act locally. Lobby your government for improved legislation.
  • Reduce your use of all products.
  • Reuse everything you can and recycle anything you are unable to reuse. This can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by up to 385 kilograms per year.
  • Use natural gas where possible instead of electricity or switch to “Green Power” if available from your supplier.
  • Walk, cycle or use public transport instead of your car. Leaving your car at home two days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by over 720 kilograms per year.
  • When buying new appliances, look for those that are energy and water efficient.
  • Insulate your home to reduce the need for heating and cooling appliances.
  • Plant more trees in your garden or surrounding area to help absorb CO2 and other air pollutants and provide shade to your property.
  • You can find a personal greenhouse gas emission calculator at
  • Get involved with local groups that preserve areas of significance and keep watch over natural sites in your community.
  • Donate to conservation groups that preserve important habitats or protect endangered species.
  • You can also support the preservation of endangered species through supporting conservation and breeding programs at zoos, especially those which release them into the wild.
  • Do not purchase by-products of endangered species, such as ivory and pelts.
  • Where possible, consume grains, meats and other products from rare domestic species.
  • Keep your car, boat and other vehicles well tuned.
  • Buy water-based or low-solvent paints, glues and varnishes and use a brush or roller rather than a spray.
  • Avoid any household products which may contain hydrocarbons, including cleaning agents, furniture polish, fabric softeners, hairspray, nail varnish, shaving cream, car waxes, and restrict your use of aerosols.
  • Do not buy imported hardwoods as this encourages the destruction of the world's tropical rainforests.
  • Purchase wood and forest products from independently certified well managed forests.
  • Reduce your water consumption.
  • Plant a water efficient garden and only water when needed.
  • Use phosphate-free detergents and soaps.
  • Ensure all your litter is disposed of correctly when boating or at the beach.
  • And encourage family and friends to follow these tips!

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