Australia's growing economy and its increasing use of energy and other resources have brought prosperity and wellbeing to many Australians. However, our economic activities and consumption patterns also have environmental consequences. The way we manage our natural resources - and the waste products that we generate - can impact on the social, economic and environmental options of present and future generations.
The chapter begins by presenting information on the attitudes and behaviours of households in relation to the environment. Consumer choices and lifestyle influence environmental pressures. This first section analyses the recycling and waste management practices of households, and includes an article which explores the varying demand for water implicit in the water consumption patterns of Sydney households.
The following sections discuss a selection of issues related to the use and/or condition of Australia's land, water and atmosphere. Topics include: the condition of Australia's freshwater resources; protecting the marine environment; land degradation and management; nature based tourism and world heritage; and Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
The discussion of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions also introduces the topic of energy production and consumption in Australia, which is discussed in the Energy chapter. The Environment and Energy chapters are linked, in that some of the environmental issues discussed in Environment chapter are among the consequences of the issues of energy production and consumption discussed in the Energy chapter.