People who deal with horses have this expression ‘the horse whisperer’ – which is a about that here is a person who really understands horses, how they think and feel. Almost as if he or she could talk with the horse.
Here in Australia we have, in a similar way, a plant whisperer. Someone who understands the Australian landscape and its plants in a deeper sense. Peter Andrews is a landscape-restoration legend in Australia – he has been on the ABC’s Australian Story a couple of times, his videos are viewed by thousands of people on youtube, he has written two books, and it is all about rebulding a plant-managed landscape – in a way that Peter calls Natural Sequence Farming. He also travels around the country to give talks and presentations, and this is what brings him to Geelong today.
So, welcome to a Regenerative Hour where we are eager to learn what Peter Andrews is on about at this time, where we stand on the doorstep to what the United Nations have announced is going to be called the Decade of Eco-Restoration.
Landscape restoration institute
The group of people Peter Andrews refers to that he is working together with is the TALS Institute. TALS is short for The Australian Landscape Science Institute, and on their website, you can read about what they call “The Australian Landscape Science Approach”. The website is found on www.tals.org.au
The TALS Institute proposes the establishment of a national governing body for landscape restoration that allows a regional program of landscape practitioners to be initiated “to inform farmers to take practical steps to restore our landscape and prevent droughts and bushfires as it once did.”
TALS Institute wants to underpin the program by scientific evidence and the introduction of a standards and accreditation system supported by both private and public organisations as well as the federal government – “to ensure landscape restoration can occur with minimal risk to others within a water catchment, using the best practises in design and execution.”
“The results will be astounding and create economic certainty and prosperity for agricultural Australia as well as ensuring food security for our nation,” writes TALS Institute.
After the podcast interview with Peter Andrews, we play an older interview which TALS Institute posted on Youtube, where he is standing at a pond and a willow tree at Mulloon Creek in New South Wales. This was produced by Paul Cockram from Artplan Videographics eight years ago – in 2011.
The podcast hour is rounded off with two short excerpts from ABC Australian Story’s half-hour documentary, which you can also find on Youtube: ‘How Peter Andrews rejuvenates drought-struck land’:
“…the path we are following is taking us downhill, possibly to destruction. Calamity does await us if we keep doing to the landscape what we have been doing. The good news is we can fix the problem. In fact, fixing it is relatively easy. All it needs is a change of mindset. A willingness to renounce old, time-honoured practices and beliefs. A willingness to allow the Australian landscape to regain the cover of vegetation that it once had.”
~ Peter Andrews, in his book ‘Beyond the Brink’ on page 2
“Australia’s landscape and climate is a laboratory, currently owned by all Australian citizens. It is a laboratory for managing climate. Put simply, if we study it closely, Australia can provide the evidence needed to restore the water cycle, which has been disrupted by humans, their grazing animals and how their impact has changed the management of water on this continent.
If the best scientific advice was made available to all, anybody who grows a plant or tree, even a pot plant, is contributing and can contribute to reversing the present human-induced climate disaster.
Before humans, plants had built an optimal climate, contributing to landscape function in regard to the management of water. A skeleton in the sediments is still able to be recognised, and it shows how water was once managed by Australia’s unique hydrological ecosystem.
Many practical examples exist that can confirm these processes and functions that could support all types of farming here in Australia.”
~ Peter Andrews OAM, in a newsletter, December 2019
“Parliament is debating expenditure to address the drought crisis. How to best spend the money – how to best treat the farmers?
My books describe that this ancient land has a skeleton in the sediments that, once understood, will support all forms of agriculture and climate management. As it once functioned automatically, managed by plants, powered by sunlight, all that grow a plant can be part of the solution.
Once people are taught how they can take advantage of the skeleton that remains, particularly in the sedimentary areas, it is said by experts that Australia can lead the world with the most effective climate and landscape functions on the planet.
It must be noted that this large continent had the least number of natural climate support systems, but still was able to maintain the best climate and involved megafauna and the greatest biodiversity on the planet.
The above claims are all supported by functioning examples that have been reviewed by the most rigorous science and are available to all prepared to take advantage.”
~ Peter Andrews OAM, in a letter, December 2019
→ The Sydney Morning Herald – 2 December 2019:
Australia posts driest spring, second-hottest for daytime temperatures
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“We have so much to do. And we must do it together.”
~ Pope Francis, in the film ‘A Man of His Word’
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