THE REGENERATIVE HOUR: Mangroves, microorganisms and care for country

The first half of this Regenerative Hour is about mangroves, seaweed and blue carbon in an indigenous perspective. The rest of the podcast digs into the topics of soil health and carbon sequestering through regenerative farming.

Our guests are:

Zoe Ellen Brittain who is working on a PhD at Deakin University where she is looking at how First Nation Australians used seaweed with a view to investigating the commercial possibilities for them in this area, and

Oli Moraes who has looked at blue carbon – mangroves and seagrasses – in the Pacific Island region as a means to addressing climate change mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Oli has a Bachelors of Arts and Science from Monash University where he studied earth sciences and international studies and recently completed a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne specialising in climate change and conservation. His Masters research took him to Fiji in 2018 where he worked with Fijian conservation NGOs, practitioners, government agencies and indigenous communities around Fiji to understand the opportunities and challenges of protecting and restoring blue carbon ecosystems through carbon market approaches. He focused on empowering all voices and particularly capturing the deep indigenous knowledges about coastal resource management in his research.

Oli currently works at the Brotherhood of St Laurence as an Energy Broker in their Climate and Energy Research Group, and as a Research Assistant at RMIT University with IPCC lead author on climate change adaptation Dr Lauren Rickards.

The interview was conducted by Anthony Gleeson


It’s time for planetary-scale interventions to combat climate change — and environmentalist Tim Flannery thinks seaweed can help. In a bold talk, he shares the epic carbon-capturing potential of seaweed, explaining how oceangoing seaweed farms created on a massive scale could trap all the carbon we emit into the atmosphere. Learn more about this potentially planet-saving solution — and the work that’s still needed to get there.

Blue carbon in Australia: 20 million tonnes CO2 annually

“Australia’s mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows are absorbing about 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, according to a major new study that is the first to measure in detail the climate benefits of the coastal ecosystems.

But the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, warns that degradation of these “vegetated coastal ecosystems” was already seeing 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year being released back into the atmosphere.

The study reveals Australia’s vast coastlines represent between 5% and 11% of all the so called “blue carbon” locked up in mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes globally.

Some 44 scientists from 33 different research institutions collaborated on the study, which began in 2014.”

→ The Guardian – 1 October 2019:
Australia’s vast carbon sink releasing millions of tonnes of CO2 back into atmosphere
“Australia’s mangroves and seagrass meadows absorb 20m tonnes of CO2 a year but report warns damage to ecosystems contributing to climate change.”

“Researchers have estimated that if 9% of the world’s ocean surface were used for seaweed farming, we would be removing 53 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. And that’s just from the absorption of carbon during the growing process. If that seaweed was then harvested and processed, it could also produce enough biofuels to replace ALL of today’s fossil fuel energy needs.”

→ Climate Council – 31 March 2016:
How seaweed can kelp us tackle climate change
“Seaweed, previously the unwanted guest at your beach party, is now increasingly associated with sushi, superfoods, spa treatments and – amongst scientists, at least – solutions to climate change.”

 ADDITIONALLY: 

Four regenerative stories

The second half of this podcast contains excerpts from the following four YouTube videos

1)

‘Grassroots’

19 minute documentary

In the podcast, we play this 1:30 minute trailer above. You can see the full 19-minute documentary here:

www.australiascience.tv/vod/grassroots

‘Grassroots’ follows Guy Webb and his friends, unlikely heroes on a quest to bring a genuine climate change solution to the world. It is “a story about farmers, the soils they work and a piece of powerful knowledge that nearly slipped through their fingers.” 

‘Grassroots’ was directed by Frank Oly, and written and produced by Tegan Nock. 

Article about the film:

→ AustraliaScience.tv – 20 December 2018:
The fungus that could avert global warming crisis
“Follow the unlikely heroes on a quest to deliver a genuine climate change solution.”

Film home page:

www.grassrootsthedoc.com

2)

How regenerative farming can help save the planet and human health

17 minute TEDx-talk

Charles Massy is the author of the best-selling book ‘Call of the Reed Warbler’

3)

From the Ground Up – Regenerative Agriculture

13 minute documentary

“Inspired by Charles Massy’s best-selling book ‘Call of the Reed Warbler’, filmmaker Amy Browne set out across the dry farming country of South East New South Wales in Australia to meet Massy and the other trailblazing farmers bringing new life to their land.

Regenerative agriculture is one of the most promising wide-scale environmental solutions. This short documentary is a comprehensive journey through a variety of landscapes and regenerative farming techniques.

‘From the Ground Up’ is a story of genuine change and inspiration – tracing the steps of individuals who transformed their practices following the life-changing realisation – that farmers have a unique opportunity to heal the planet.”

4)

Living Soil 

60 minutes documentary

“Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre.

Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Like any relationship, our living soil needs our tenderness.

It’s time we changed everything we thought we knew about soil. Let’s make this the century of living soil. This 60-minute documentary features innovative farmers and soil health experts from throughout the U.S.

Accompanying lesson plans for college and high school students will can also be found on this site.

‘Living Soil’ was directed by Chelsea Myers and Tiny Attic Productions based in Columbia, Missouri, and produced by the Soil Health Institute through the generous support of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.”

→ The film is freely available to download and stream at www.livingsoilfilm.com

Additional resources on regenerative agriculture:

→ TED Talk:
Allan Savory on “How to fight desertification and reverse climate change”

Books:

‘Call of the Reed Warbler – A New Agriculture, A New Earth’ by Charles Massy

‘The Biggest Estate on Earth – How Aborigines Made Australia’ by Bill Gammage

‘Back from the Brink – How Australia’s Landscape Can Be Saved’ by Peter Andrews


…and more in our coming regenerative podcasts

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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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“The most important word in today’s world is ‘together’.”
~ Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General

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