The Mornington Peninsula is known for its natural beauty, thriving agriculture, and picturesque wineries and farm gates. However, the Mornington Peninsula, as well as the greater Victorian region, are beginning to feel the effects of climate change with increasing temperatures, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and changes in rainfall patterns. In this blog post, we will delve into the various ways in which climate change is impacting the Mornington Peninsula.
One of the most noticeable effects of climate change in the region is the increasing temperatures. Heatwaves are becoming more frequent, and extremely hot days are estimated to double by 2050. This rise in temperature poses serious risks to human health, agriculture, and the delicate balance of local ecosystems.
Changing Rainfall Patterns
Rainfall has decreased by 10-20% across most of southeastern Australia, including the Mornington Peninsula .Unfortunately, this trend is expected to continue, exacerbating water scarcity issues. The decrease in rainfall, coupled with flooding and storms, puts the region at greater risk of water-related challenges and infrastructure damage.
Increased Fire Risk
Dry conditions resulting from climate change significantly contribute to the increased risk of wildfires. Mornington Peninsula is no exception, as it is expected to experience more extreme fire weather and prolonged fire seasons. The greater frequency and intensity of bushfires pose a threat not only to the natural environment but also to human lives, property, and the local economy.
Rising Sea Levels
The rising sea levels pose a significant threat to the Mornington Peninsula, especially for infrastructure near the coastline. By 2050, the sea level in Port Phillip Bay may increase by 24cm from the levels recorded in the 1990s. This gradual increase in sea levels, combined with the increased risk of flooding and major storms, could lead to extensive damage to coastal areas, loss of property, and displacement of communities.
Biodiversity Loss and Environmental Disruptions
Climate change is altering the delicate balance of the Mornington Peninsula's ecosystems. Changes in habitat, increased salinity of waterways, decreased stream flows, the introduction of new pest species, and disturbances in lifecycles are all contributing to the loss of biodiversity. This not only affects the natural beauty of the region but also disrupts ecological processes, potentially leading to cascading effects on the environment.
Impact on Agriculture
Agriculture plays a vital role in the Mornington Peninsula, representing the predominant land use and contributing an estimated $1.3 billion to the local economy annually. Farmers in the region bear the brunt of climate change impacts, facing challenges such as water scarcity, heat stress on crops and livestock, changes in growing seasons, and increased pest pressure. These impacts not only threaten the livelihoods of farmers but also have ripple effects on the local economy and food security.
Our Efforts in Sustainability
At Green Olive at Red Hill, sustainability and mitigating the effects of climate change are central to our business philosophy. On the roof of our farm store and house we have a solar PV system that generates 39kW of power. The solar PV system at full producing powers the entire farm.We capture all our own water and store it in large above ground tanks. Our farm irrigation comes from the large dam that collects water from the natural spring and general water runoff. We flush toilets with dam water rather than precious rain water and all waste water is processed naturally in an aeration treatment plant and then irrigated back onto the paddocks. Our kitchen leftovers, green waste, coffee grinds, paper hand-towels and napkins are composted in our Enrich 360 machine. Overnight the waste is turned into compost that can be returned to the garden to grow more farm fresh produce. Where possible we reduce the need for glass and plastic containers, but if we do use them they are commercially recycled. Every year we plant more native trees to create corridors for wildlife and we are always thinking of ways to further improve our sustainability practices. Read more about our sustainability here.