The Regenerative Hour: Bring soils into the conversation

A regenerative hour about stable soil sinks versus ‘coke of the farming world’ – with Chris Balazs from Sage Farm, Cindy Eiritz from Healthy Soils, permaculture singer and songwriter Charlie Mgee from Formidable Vegetable Sound System, and Colin Mockett from 94.7 The Pulse.

“Oil drives you crazy. Oil corrupts politics. Oil buys politicians.”
~ Jeffrey D. Sachs, American economist and director of The Earth Institute



Sage Farm’s new shop

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 219 on 94.7 The Pulse:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)

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 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour


Chris Balazs

» Sage Farm’s home page:
www.sagefarm.com.au

» Sage Farm on Instagram:
www.instagram.com/sage.farm

» Sage Farm’s address:
2430 Midland Highway, Bannockburn, Victoria
Look for the rusty “La Finca” sign out the front.



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Branding and understanding

After the Hour, we talked with Cindy Eiritz from Healthy Soils who added these three points to the conversation we had:

1) Re: The thin skin of soil which is being degraded and destroyed and may be gone in decades:
The great news is that with regenerative we can rebuild and actually ‘grow’ new soils.

2) Re: Regenerative branding of food:
Two definitive labels nearly ready are: Regenerative Organic, and Era of Regenerative Agriculture including the Australian version of this: LandToMarket.com.au

3) Re: Criticism of farmers:
Cindy Eiritz wrote: “It would be good to try to build more understanding of farmers. As you know farmers work tremendously hard under very difficult circumstances on quite often only minimal profit. So ideally rather than being critical of conventional farmers, we need to recognise their obstacles to change. We are scoping a library to try to create a safe space for them to explore innovation.

Here is some words I wrote for this that I think are really helpful for we city folk to understand:

“Conventional farmers need to be able to explore about these innovative new practices privately. This is required because farming is an extraordinarily conservative profession. There is great peer group pressure to be seen to be staying with everyone else. So much so that over that to practice regenerative farming has been social suicide. Historically innovators have been ridiculed and ostracised, often not even able to go into their own township pubs.

Interestingly though, brave innovators work away in isolation, and then years later their land is still green when surrounding land is drought-stricken. It is then that neighbours start looking over the fence wondering what it is they are doing. Then they will timidly come to a Field Day to try to see what is happening. Or explore by other means. Our library can quickly become a primary one of these means.

The conservatism within the farming profession is understandable. Farms are big businesses usually operating on tight margins, with huge debt, in really changeable conditions. Knowledge is hard won over decades, so being risk adverse makes sense. This is then compounded by the fact that agronomists, the primary front-line advisers trusted and relied upon by farmers, don’t promote regenerative because most earn their living by commissions for sales of pesticides, fertilisers, etc.

This vested interest situation further compounds in the research and documentation of regenerative science and practice being starved of funding. Regenerative is overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of publications that big chemical agriculture companies fund on conventional agriculture. Still, decades of quality scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, Holistic Management, and agroforestry exists. But, like most research, of the research that does exist, most is not well translated into practical speak for easy digestion and translation into action. Our hard-working farmers toiling in debt and climate extremes deserve more. 

And as if all these obstacles are not enough, it can be costly to transition, and the return on investment can take many years. For example, changing to regenerative grazing involves lots of extra water points and extensive fencing. Similarly, changing to no till cropping requires new expensive equipment. Farmers already in debt to the hilt struggle to win extra credit. We need systems to help enable and support farmers financially. The first step to creating these systems is to bring together the best knowledge so that business cases can be established.”

» Healthy Soils home page:
www.healthysoils.com.au

» Healthy Soils Facebook group

» Open Food Network’s home page:
www.openfoodnetwork.org

Delusional podcasters delve in natural climate solutions

Drawdown for a safe climate

Immediate solutions in a climate emergency



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Colin Mockett

GLOBAL OUTLOOK:

Colin Mockett: Shanghai’s clean energy revolution – Part 2

» Colin Mockett’s first report from Shanghai: Part 1



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“So reckless it’s terrifying”

Simon Baker asks you to Fight For Our Reef

Simon Baker, award-winning actor and director, has an important message for all Australians on the future of our Great Barrier Reef.
Help our Reef now – before it’s too late: http://fightforourreef.org.au/simonbaker

Star of The Mentalist and Director of Tim Winton’s ‘Breath’, Trailblazer and Logie award-winning Simon Baker’s message comes at a powerful time: our Great Barrier Reef needs us more than ever.

Join the Fight For Our Reef to Stop Adani, and tackle the climate change that is driving severe coral bleaching – seriously threatening the future of our Reef.


Why we don’t have time



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#STORYCHANGE:

Climate education in the regular news

Inspired by Climate Central’s program in the US, the Monash University’s Climate Change Communication Research Hub will partner with weather presenters to deliver easy-to-visualise infographics and stories about climate science to television audiences.

“Australians are keen to learn about climate change, what it is, what it means and how it affects daily life,” says Dr David Holmes, Director of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub.

“This information will help us understand the effects and risks that climate change brings to us personally and collectively as a community. With accurate information it will enable us to make effective and informed decisions about how to best manage climate change and its impact.”

In the US, the weather presenter program started in 2008 with just one presenter and has grown to 400 weather presenters providing news on climate change in daily weather segments.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has provided a grant of $49,524 to support this pilot project.

As part of the pilot project, accurate and fact-based local climate change information will be provided to weather presenters, to be included in weather segments and editorials to increase the public’s general knowledge about climate change.

“We will all benefit from being better informed,” says the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Catherine Brown. “Understanding why we are experiencing more extreme and unseasonal weather, rising sea levels and global warming will have long term benefits on how we plan for and mitigate the effects of climate change. There are opportunities for Melbourne’s communities if we can transition well to a low carbon city.”

It is hoped that in the long-term the project will result in a more informed community which will lead to better decisions about clean energy generation, using renewable energy sources and increased protective health programs.

Our Changing Melbourne for Good campaign ambassador, Rob Gell AM is a member of Monash University’s Climate Change Communication Research Hub’s Weather Presenters Project Advisory Board. In this role, Rob speaks to his depth of experience as a weather presenter for Channel’s 7, 9 and 10 in Melbourne to assist with the development of a television climate communication program.

» Learn more or donate: www.lmcf.org.au/cmfg



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Formidable Vegetable Sound System: ‘Plastic’

The Sustainable Hour’s interview with Charlie Mgee

This interview was recorded by Mik Aidt at The Farmers Place in Geelong in April 2018

» Formidable Vegetable Sound System’s home page:
www.formidablevegetable.com.au

» Formidable Vegetable Sound System on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/formidablevegetable



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 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about





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Global Wind Energy Day Celebration: Ararat Wind Farm

Are you a big fan of wind energy? Are you proud of the contribution Victoria’s wind farms make towards tackling climate change? Then how about joining Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Act on Climate Vic on 15 June 2018 for a Global Wind Energy Day celebration?

Friends of the Earth’s Act on Climate collective invites you to join community members at the iconic Ararat wind farm on Friday 15 June 2018:

“We’re going to get a community photo celebrating wind farms before heading to a local cafe for a chat about climate change impacts and solutions.

It’ll be a good opportunity to find out about our push for Victoria’s first Climate Budget and ambitious Emissions Reduction Targets. You’ll also meet local community members who share an interest in renewable energy and climate action.”

» Read more on www.facebook.com/events



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Survey about environmental volunteering

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is exploring options to improve environmental volunteering in Victoria. 

The survey can be completed by anyone of any age. The survey is aimed at all Victorians, including those people who may have never volunteered.

If you do not currently undertake any environmental volunteering, it is important that you complete this survey so that barriers can be identified and addressed.

Existing environmental volunteers are especially encouraged to complete the survey to provide feedback on their current volunteering experiences, innovative ideas and solutions.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It is open until Tuesday 19 June 2018.

» www.surveymonkey.com/r/EVP2018



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Plastic free campaign

Australian Marine Conservation Society writes:

“Together we can put real solutions on the agenda, that stop plastic at the source. Online and on the ground, we will gather signatures from across the nation – to demand a ban on single use plastics, a ban on microbeads, and a target for reducing Australia’s plastic pollution.
 
• Demand an inquiry into the toxicity of plastic in our food. It is unacceptable that we don’t know the harm caused by plastic in the fish we eat. We will campaign for a formal investigation.
 
• Connect decision makers with expert solutions. We will bring scientists and ocean conservationists into the room with decision makers, working with governments and corporations to develop effective strategies for breaking Australia’s addiction to plastic.
 
• Grow a new community of action around the nation. We will recruit a massive community of people committed to stopping plastic pollution – sharing the best tips for cutting our own plastic gathered from across our community, and equipping them with the tools to get corporations to change.

A little goes a long way – together we’ve pooled our resources and secured massive wins before. Help kickstart the biggest movement to end plastic ever seen in the Australian Marine Conservation Society community.”

» Support the campaign



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Drawdown: “Seedballs could be the answer to regrowing the 15 billion trees we cut down every year.”



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icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Podcasts and posts about climate change

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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…



The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?




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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
~ Pete Seeger, American singer