This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 9th of September 2019.
Jon Moore reporting!
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Well folks, we are one week away from the RegenEarth Online Conference 2019: Living Soils – Backyard Regen.
A little background should be helpful. After years of publishing this podcast, I had great hopes during our last federal election for some movement on the Climate situation. The vaguely left side was and still is stuck in the renewables are the answer paradigm. Not bad but only half the story, as we all know. The more right of centre parties pretty much ignored the climate policy area. The right won the election.
The upshot of this was a couple of weeks of, not quite depression but more disappointment and confusion. Clearly something has to be done. The UN and the major NGOs all point to the need for a political solution. This never sat well with me despite my hope against reality that a political party might come up with something other than a carbon tax.
My problem with a carbon tax is that it places the costs on the poorest and allows the equity traders who must take some responsibility for our current situation to continue to profit from “fixing” the situation. Combine this with the obvious solution of renewables and pumped hydro to carbonise the energy system and this solution is being driven by price signals. Most houses in Australia have solar PV and pumped hydro systems linked to wind and solar are being approved. Carbon tax unnecessary, a need to suck carbon out of the air still exists even if we stopped putting any more into the air today.
The other issue I have with the large lobby groups is that they scream we all have to change how we live to save the planet as they jet off to yet another self congratulatory talk fest. Yes we need to do something but suggesting we live like medieval serfs is not a great sales pitch. Forecasting doom and gloom doesn’t work with humans either. Experience is a great instructor. We have all either lived through or seen the wildfires, the floods, the hurricanes/cyclones increasing in intensity, we know something is up. We just need simple techniques that both make a difference but which first make our lives better. Solar PV is not an inconsiderable investment but the returns make life better, lower power bills and the climate benefits too.
After much thought, backyard regen seemed to fit this pattern. Something which brought a return to the individual and made the climate better, little steps at a time. Less dollar investment than solar PV, yet a great way to improve our lives with, as you will see at the conference, far less work than is usually considered part of gardening.
A change with tangible benefits!
Regenerative techniques, as I have banged on about for years on this podcast, are our best hope but no one in the political classes seems to be championing them. A bit like a frustrated parent, the thought, “I’ll just do it myself.” popped into my head. Following a production meeting with Rich for another podcast, Permaculture Plus, we bounced a few thoughts around. Out of these came the idea of a regen month. This reduced to a regen week and finally a three night conference. We have plans to keep the story and the movement going after the conference but the three session conference became our focus.
People we invited agreed and then had to drop out just as new people arrived to fill the gap and help shape the event. In parallel to this, I was offered a position with a disability support NGO to set up a Horticulture Program. No-dig on a grander scale but using the backyard techniques, just expanded.
So months of fun and hard work, have us a week away from the event on the 16th to the 18th of September. 19:00 to 21:00 each night. That’s UTC +10 hours for those not on Eastern Australian Time. For those who sign up, a full recording will be available in case life happens and you can’t get there or the time zone thing means a two in the morning start.
Now to the conference:
Rich and I are really pleased with the way it’s all come together. The flow is great. Night one sets the stage: “Why Regen Matters” with Liz Bastion followed by Catherine Lockley explaining the importance of local food beyond the usual “food pyramid” thinking and we conclude our first night with Stephen Alton: Soil Evangelist. What this man has forgotten about soil is more than most of us have ever learned.
Night two begins with my presentation on a no-dig garden followed by Be Ryan on ways to create a backyard biodynamic garden. A different approach and one worth thinking about. Then we finish off night two with Dan Hatfield on building a compost pile. This presentation is one of the best I’ve ever seen on the art and science of this soil creation process.
Night Three kicks off with Kate Willoughby on the gentle art of integrating chickens into a backyard garden. Meg McGowan follows, covering the principles of setting up a backyard permaculture garden. Night three and the conference concludes with Rich and I bringing it all together, answering any questions that have come in over the previous nights, and where to next.
I’m sure you’d find the event of great value and enormous fun too. This is our chance to start turning suburbia into a giant carbon sink and you get carrots too. Or strawberries or nuts or eggs or whatever your favourite thing to eat fresh is.
And all this is available for $67 AUD. Click the only link in today’s show notes and together we can:
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.