Our Future | Action needed now for sustainable living

Action needed now for sustainable living

I was lucky enough to grow up on a cattle farm west of Albury.

The Murray River borders my family's property and portions of land are fenced off for revegetation and conservation, which means there is a wonderful array of Australian wildlife right on our doorstep.

A childhood surrounded by cows, horses and native animals inspired me to become a veterinarian. But what I've witnessed on our land, and in my clinical work, has also convinced me that we humans are failing our animals, and ourselves.

Worldwide, 2020 was one of the hottest years ever recorded. It is just the latest record in a long list of them, a troubling trend that has meant more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts and extreme weather for much of Australia.

On the farm, we've witnessed distressed and disoriented waterbirds, fluffed up and gasping for air on 40 degree days.

Just a few weeks ago we found a kookaburra suffering heat stress in the middle of a paddock, lost and open mouth breathing.

Of course, Australia has always had droughts and heatwaves, but the science is overwhelming and backs up what we are seeing in real time on the property.

Human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels for energy, is heating our planet and disrupting our weather patterns.

That's why we must quickly change the way we power our homes and businesses, manufacture our products and move around Australia and the globe.

The good news is that we already have many of the tools we need to transform our world for the better.

I'm passionate about making a change in the veterinary industry, so in my business Anipal, I use recycled plastic to create eco-friendly dog collars and leads.

I'm about to launch a range of dog treats that will have a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional varieties.

I'm also a supporter of Veterinarians for Climate Action, a growing group of vets and vet nurses who are advocating for change. Whether it be talking to distressed farmers suffering through drought, or treating animals badly burned in bushfires, vets are eyewitnesses to the devastating impacts climate change is already having on this country.

But we also know that it is not too late to create a safe and sustainable world for future generations.

Our communities and animals are worth fighting for, so you can expect to hear a lot more from us in the future.

Stephanie Stubbe is a veterinarian, founder of Anipal and supporter of Veterinarians for Climate Action.

This story Action needed now for sustainable living first appeared on The Canberra Times.