Episode 169. Canberra 100% Renewable, Antarctic Ice Melts and Farmers Have a Win.

This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 20th of May 2019.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

Well, democracy at work. We have elected a government without a climate change policy. There’s an energy policy but not a climate change policy. Which puts me mind of a thing I saw on Facebook this past week:

Quote:

The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe because its handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them.

End Quote.

So life goes on. Well life as we know it, Jim, anyway.

On a more positive note we have a post from the ABC entitled: Canberra will be first Australian city to run on 100 per cent renewable energy from October. Now there is some finagling going on but from a bean counter’s point of view the nation’s capital will be run on 100% renewable energy. 

Insert some joke about hot wind from politicians and it’s no wonder they are on the renewables path. But I digress.

Canberra

Quote:

The ACT will be “effectively” powered by 100 per cent renewables after October because the territory will still be part of the national electricity grid — mostly powered by fossil fuels.

Rather, for every watt Canberra draws from the grid, it will be feeding in a watt from one of its renewable sources.

End Quote

So I guess that’s a win. The decarbonising of the grid continues, a huge pumped hydro system is being clamped onto an older hydro scheme in an attempt to store renewable energy, or at the very least using off peak and eventually converting to renewables. The systems exist, we know what to do. We just need the will to do so.

And that will looks like it’ll needed sooner rather than later.

Our next post from News Corp, of all people, entitled: Satellite information reveals Antarctica ice thinning at ‘extraordinary rate’

Quote:

Antarctica is losing ice at a rapid rate, according to new satellite information.

Glaciers are now sliding into the sea because of the warming Southern Ocean as ice vanishes five times faster than it did in the 1990s.

The West Antarctic ice sheet used to be stable a few decades ago, but new evidence shows that up to a quarter of it is now thinning.

End Quote

So that’s a thing. The danger for all the hoopla was never the arctic ice, it floats on the water, as Archimedes showed with his alleged “Eureka” moment, when floating ice melts nothing much changes. Check your ice filled drink next time you have one to see this effect.

ICE

Ice over land is a different kettle of fish. Greenland is a tiny Northern Hemisphere example of what’s actually going on in the deep south. Listening to the earnest reports from northern hemisphere podcasters about the melting of the Greenland Ice sheets is well, sweet, on some levels. Two kilometer thick trans continental ice melting is another thing. I’m not sure how many people realise just how big Antarctica really is. South America is about 17.8 million square kilometres. The Antarctic is 14 million so not that much smaller and covered to an average of just over 2 clicks. That’s an awfully large amount of water to release into the oceans. And it won’t just affect the southern parts of Africa, South America and Oceania, it will flood every coastal based city on the planet. So probably time to start taking things seriously, maybe. 

And now another piece from the ABC entitled: Farmers turn back on harsh chemicals, improve biodiversity and lower costs.

Farmers for Biodiversity

Quote:

A growing number of farmers are rejecting modern agricultural practices, instead relying on more natural methods to improve their land and increase biodiversity.

Queensland banana growers Frank and Dianne Sciacca say they have quit their chemical “addiction” to grow bananas the way they were grown 60 years ago.

“We were putting chemicals in the soil and on the plants but it had a severe impact on the environment,” Ms Sciacca said.

End Quote

Sixty years ago was the mid 1950s, so just after the second war and before the rapid industrialisation of agriculture. This was a pivotal time and the adoption of these artificial inputs has ravaged soil carbon.

Further quote:

“You end up being like an addict, you’re depending on these things to grow your crop and you’re just caught up in that circle, which is just about producing bigger and more, and bigger and more.”

Fifteen years ago, the Innisfail growers ditched fungicides, mitacides, pesticides and any fertiliser that killed organisms in the soil.

“When you start killing anything that’s living, invertebrate insects, whatever it may be, you’ve then broken an ecosystem cycle,” Mr Sciacca said.

End Quote

Indeed, I’ll just repeat that last sentence: “When you start killing anything that’s living, invertebrate insects, whatever it may be, you’ve then broken an ecosystem cycle,” 

But the good news is it can be repaired, relatively quickly, as in not centuries.

A further quote:

At Holbrook in New South Wales, beef producers Anna and Michael Coughlan have made dramatic changes.

As well as changing how they graze cattle to protect the grass cover, the couple cut production costs by a third.

“We don’t use a tractor, we don’t spray chemicals, fertiliser, we don’t feed hay — it’s all gone,” Ms Coughlan said.

They rely on nature to do the heavy lifting.

“We’re trying to increase biodiversity, so get away from having a monoculture,” Ms Coughlan said.

“And that diversity includes plant species, it’s trees, it’s bird life, it’s everything, but it’s also what’s happening below the surface.”

End Quote.

I particularly like the no tractor. We don’t have one either. It forces us to set the system up for the stock to do the work or the “heavy lifting” as described in the quote.

So that’s a good sign. On balance I remain hopeful because that’s who I am. I also believe we can take people with us to where we need to be, soil and energy wise.

To that end the project/online conference/series of presentations, announced in last week’s episode are progressing. More news when the website launches and we’ll have the full paraphernalia of Facebook pages/group, another podcast and who knows what else at this stage. I’ll be passing on info as it comes to a more concrete stage.

And on that actually hopeful note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.

The podcasting checklists are still available over at Jon Moore Podcasting Services

Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.

~~~~

LINKS

email: redocean112@gmail.com

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Transcript HERE

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Canberra will be first Australian city to run on 100 per cent renewable energy from October  By Jake Evans

https://wp.me/p4gyiO-2la

 

Satellite information reveals Antarctica ice thinning at ‘extraordinary rate’

https://wp.me/p4gyiO-2l8

 

Farmers turn back on harsh chemicals, improve biodiversity and lower costs

https://wp.me/p4gyiO-2lf

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