173. RegenEarth.net

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 17th of June 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

From The Permaculture Plus Podcast:


R: Hello folks, welcome again to Permaculture Plus. This is episode nine and I’m your host Rich Bowden, chatting to you from the Central West of NSW. Now I’m really looking forward to bringing you this episode, in fact I’d go so far as to say it’s a little bit special. And I’ll tell you why in a moment. But first, I’d like to introduce author, blogger, podcaster, farmer, friend and co-host Jon Moore, who’s coming to us from his Highclere farm in the high country in North Western Tasmania. Hi Jon, welcome to the show!

J: Hello one and all.

R: I mentioned earlier that was a very special show, so we need to establish why that’s so. Let’s dive straight in. Today Jon and I will talk about our new regen ag project. Not much to see at the moment, we’re still designing the website and social media (more about where you can find those in later episodes) but Jon, can you give the listeners an idea of where the whole “things have to change” philosophy behind the project came from? And how we want to direct our energies to convincing people with backyards or even balconies that they be the change.

J:  Yeah, sure Rich. I looked at the “environmental offerings” from the political parties who are up for election next week here in Australia. The thing that really stood out was a lack of any thoughts, policies or ideas in reference to regenerative agriculture. The left of centre parties are all good on renewables, solar panels, wind and so on but that’s just half the story. The concentration of CO2 is beyond healthy limits for the biosphere as we know it. I’m fully aware concentrations have been higher but the Earth was not a pleasant place for a thinking ape nor many of the species we have come to know and love. So we need a way to remove the excess carbon from the atmosphere and put it, somewhere. It turns out the soil is the perfect place. To keep it there requires a few things to change. Drought policy would be a great place to start, that would provide funding but no political party is thinking that far in front. So it’s up to individuals to make a difference.

We’ve been asked to do things for the “common good” in the past, electric light bulbs are now all mercury filled fluro types. Price signals have driven rooftop solar. We still are not taking the CO2 from the atmosphere.

Regen ag is a the great hope but the word ag puts many and let’s face it, Australia is an urban country, off the idea they could do anything. But we can, every piece of lawn, every apartment balcony can become a carbon sink. We need to stop using chemicals on the soils, we need to allow the mycelia to reconnect the plants and we need to keep the soil covered. Bare soil leaks CO2 faster than you would think. We can’t see it so it’s not obvious but the science is clear.

The bonuses from regen ag and regen gardening are many. No exposure to garden chemicals, healthy yards for children to play on, less flooding as suburbs become water sponges rather than flat hard surfaces, food, yes your own food. You don’t need to be a fanatic about this, we’re not trying to stop people using plastic straws, we’re returning to something humans have been doing for 10,000 years. And you get to grow strawberries, or plant apple or orange trees, bananas if that’s your climate.

The ongoing work, even with vegetables, is minimal once the system is set up and then year after year your little piece of the planet is working away diligently to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere and thereby improving your soil and therefore your food quality and taste.

R: Great stuff. And just to expand a little on a point you raised there Jon, climate change and the way we react to it is going to be one of our main focii. It’s our belief that the real polluters here and overseas are ecstatic that the media spotlight is on personal sustainability achievements such as shopping bags. Not that we don’t think it’s important. It is. But the battle against a warming climate needs to be ramped up. Not only should we be lobbying polluting giants such as Adani and all levels of governments. We should also be more aware of our Living Soil, how we can protect and regenerate it. Much damage has been done to Australian soils due to imported farming methods. It’s time this changed. It’s thing “change” that we see as most important. *Phew* rant over Jon. For the moment. We’ll be offering some extra value added items as well, such as your book on regenerative agriculture Jon. Can you talk a little about that?

J: Certainly, a handbook for those with no experience whatsoever. Even if you are an experienced gardener, you’ll learn a different way of doing things which will make your life so much easier. That’s me Rich, how did you come to a similar position on regen ag?

R: Well I guess it was our “it’s time” discussion Jon. The one to which you alluded previously. It 

  • We are seeing nothing in the way of leadership from our political leaders in the face of overwhelming evidence etc….
  • [Talk here about learning more about regen ag in a day spent at Highclere, than in years of reading and Googling. Something about talking face-to-face and listening.]
  • Back in the same place I saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, watching some film awards in which my oldest son was entered. The setting enabled me to reflect on how little has been done in an Australian context in the 13 since.
  • How important regen ag is, not just for practitioners, but for future generations.
  • [Talk a little about Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”]
  • This project ticks all those boxes for me.

Part Two

R: Apologies for the lack of detailed information at this stage folks, we’ll be rolling that out in future episodes.

J: Indeed, and it won’t just be Rich and I, we are gathering experienced people who know this topic backwards in both theory and practice.

R: OK, if Part One was a bit of a teaser for what we hope to put together in the coming months for readers, in Part Two we’ll examine one of the reasons why we’re suggesting the “change” scenario for the farming — as well as the domestic gardening — sectors. Firstly Jon, how much does the farming sector contribute to harmful greenhouse gases?

J: Ag is more frightening than many people think but not as horrifying as some would have us believe.

  • Feedlots
  • Ploughing
  • Chemicals
  • Bare soil

R: …and there are many farming methods that can be described as “regen ag”.

J: Indeed there are what they have in common are:

  • No-tillage
  • Constant soil coverage
  • Organic at minimum

Some examples are:

  • Masanobu Fukuoka’s Natural Way
  • Biodynamics
  • Permaculture
  • Zero Budget Natural Farming

R: But we want to make regen ag relevant for everyone. Part of the ethos behind our new project is to encourage households to go further in their sustainability drive. Instead of just concentrating on cutting back on single use plastics and …..all of which are laudable, why not go one, two, three steps further and practise regenerative techniques in the home and garden to help save the world.

J: As Charles Massy from the ANU and Call of Reed Warbler fame put it a few weeks back in an interview: Sustainable isn’t good enough anymore, we need to be regenerative. And we can do this anywhere we have soil or dirt which always has the potential to be soil.

And as the great Bill Mollison ~ one of the founders of Permaculture stated:


The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.

End Quote

It is possible and we will show you how.

R: And what better way to end our regen ag project “heads up” episode. As promised, we’ll have more in coming episodes of Permaculture Plus and over at Jon’s podcast at World Organic News. All the links in the show notes.

J: Please don’t hesitate to contact us though, should you have any suggestions for the project.

R: And that’s all for this month, thanks to all for listening.

J: We can all actually make a difference that matters.

More from the Permaculture Plus Podcast

Part One

R: Hello folks, welcome to episode ten of Permaculture Plus, I’m your co-host Rich Bowden, coming to you from the Central West of NSW and I hear my co-host author, podcaster, blogger and farmer Jon Moore lowering himself into the Big Highclere Chair down in the picturesque and productive North West of Tasmania. Jon, welcome to the show!

J: Hello Rich, hello listeners

R: Now Jon, we first need to apologise to listeners for the lateness of the show, which is usually out on the 15th. But it’s all in a good cause. We wanted to tie up a few details in our new and exciting Backyard Regen project — and associated new podcast — before we launched this episode of Permaculture Plus. And we’re well on the way aren’t we Jon? What’s the latest?

J: Indeed, We’re putting together a comprehensive three night program on how to turn your backyard regeneratie. We’re doing this to help people turn their spaces into carbon sinks. I think many of us are fed up with our political systems and how they are failing us during this time obvious climate change. So a few of our guest presenters are: Catherine Lockley, a community nutritionist, Dan Hatfield a compost guru and Lis Bastian, a rock star permaculturalist and community organiser to name but three.

Now tell us all Rich, how have the prospective presenters reacted?

R: They’ve been incredible Jon. Each and every one of them has patiently listened to my enthusiastic rant about the project and then said — not only are they honoured to be part of the project — but they seem to feed off the enthusiasm. The common theme I’ve uncovered is that firstly yes, it’s time for change and secondly that the Backyard Regen project is an excellent way to disseminate actionable information. In short, they love it!

Part Two 

R: So, just to reiterate, what is it that we are trying to achieve with our Backyard Project, sponsored by Permaculture Plus and World Organic News.

J: As I said before, we’re sick of the political inaction, we’re over doing things that don’t seem to bring any obvious change and we decided to spread the word about regenerative techniques. Techniques that save time in the garden, produce healthy food and will turn suburbia into a giant carbon sink. This last part is important. By increasing our soil carbon we sequester atmospheric carbon in the soil, where it belongs! This will actually create positive change on the climate situation.

R: As we realised that change needed to come from the ground up, we have noticed that a lot of other things have fallen into place as well.

J: Yes, community nutrition.

R: Bringing societies together.

J: Keeping alive old survival knowledge.

R: Composting and fungi.

J: The role of regen-related methods such as permaculture and biodynamics.

R: Our three-day event will include speakers who will cover these topics and more. And not forgetting our associated podcast RegenEarth Jon, how soon before listeners can download episodes from their podcatcher of choice?

J: We’re looking at 11th of July as the kick off date, I have, this very day, received notification from Apple that we are approved and available in Apple Podcasts. You can subscribe now, for free, in the Apple Podcast app or your app of choice for that matter.

R: And that’s all for episode ten of Permaculture Plus, thanks for listening. We’ll be back next month with more on the exciting Backyard Regen project.



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