NSF Interest from Overseas Governments
Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:10 pm
The newly elected NZ Prime Minister, John Key, had an aide request signed copies of Peter's two books on the friday before he won the NZ election. He wants to read them to see how Peter's work could help in NZ where there is a great deal of environmental degradation occuring. He then wants to get copies for every MP and their advisors.
The Saudi Arabian Government have appraoched Peter to be part of a team to green the desert. They have an agent here in Australia now looking at Peter's work in Bylong and Widden.
Last week a 20 member Chinese delegation from the Department of Personnel from Anhui Province in China, meet with Peter in Canberra at the UOC to learn more about the natural principles Peter espouses and how they can be applied at home.
Peter has also been asked by the Jordian Government to participate in wetland/water recoveries from oil drilling in that country.
As well we have had both Cambridge and Oxford Universities seeking information.
WORD is travelling around the WORLD. Let's hope our own Government seeks to find a way forward.
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:55 am
No man is a prophet to his own family...
I guess all we can do is practice it ourselves and do what we can to promote NSF. So far the only MP who has acknowledged an email from me about NSF is Sen Nick Xenophon.
Well I guess I will have to just keep pounding the keyboard!
Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:05 am
Good onya Col.
The good thing about Nick X is that he has only one minder and he saw Peter months ago and was very receptive to Peter's ideas.
The ministers has are more difficult because of they are surrounded.
But positive inroads are being made I believe. Check out my post "UPDATE FROM CANBERRA" POSTED 15 NOV 08.
Peter's books have sold tens of 1,000's. The genie is out of the bottle. People are naturally cautious and skeptical at first but they intuite a lot of what Peter is saying...it does resonate with a lot of people.
Keep pounding Col.....we will make it happen!!
Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:34 pm
This is an extract from the Otago Times, published in NZ.
Optimising plants key to Australian ecology
Mon, 1 Dec 2008
In his book Back from the Brink: How Australia's landscape can be saved*, Peter Andrews lightly unfolds an epic story of how the Australian landscape evolved and functions.
The main story starts by observing a link between the health of his horses and pasture weeds and is about understanding Australia's climate, water-table, soil processes and, the king-pin, biodiversity.
It is an environmental detective story that unearths the reasons for the almost ubiquitous, non-stop deterioration of farms and rangelands across the country.
His observations, experiments and deductions resonate as good old-fashioned natural history: how he has "read the environment" and, with historical depth added, arrived at conservation - with further help from his horses.
In essence, he finds that ever since Australia broke away from the Antarctic it has been wet, with extensive marshes and wide floodplains.
This is despite always having had little rainfall due to its flatness.
In these unique conditions, plants evolved to manage the available water.
How did they do it? By minimising both evaporation and run-off to the sea.
Working in consort, a functional trilogy of plant types - trees, grasses and weeds - evolved to reshape the landscape, manage soil fertility and surface salinity, and maximise biodiversity.
Andrews is convinced that plants optimise overall growth and productivity.
Then people arrived.
Unable to understand how the unique Australian ecology worked, they took to burning to assist hunting and imported hard-hoofed animals to be grazed.
The land deteriorated, almost from day one, but farmers prospered.
In recent decades the deterioration has progressed continent-wide, and is now crippling productivity, but still farmers have failed to adapt their methods: they just try harder.
Destruction of farm lands is a worldwide human story.
A part of the problem is traditional attitudes.
Up to now, Andrews has faced farmer, official and scientific scepticism with little support.
Yet his brilliant insights offer a last chance at true sustainability.
But where are the soil conservation managers? Andrews gives this job fairly and squarely back to the plants.
The original Eden is out of reach, but now with a degraded environment the plants need some initial help.
The farmers' part, if they will, is to reverse all the main ad hoc (European) agricultural methods, he argues persuasively: Australia needs to stop irrigating, ploughing and draining land and to end herbicide and fertiliser use.
He maintains that doing this could be to the farmers' economic advantage, even within just a few years - if they grasp the nettle firmly - and accept the huge cash savings.
He has revitalised land this way.
The formula: each package of land within a farm should consist of trees and shrubs on high ground; these protect the high-end of the water-table.
The trees attract rain and fertility which seeps down to the main cropping area; typically this grows grass but needs mulching to sustain cropping.
Importantly, leave the lowest land fallow. When weeds grow, anywhere, encourage them and mulch them. Remember to trust and learn from the plants as Andrews has.
In today's highly stressed conditions, some imported plants, including willows and thistles, can play a useful role, out-performing natives.
I believe that what Andrews advocates for Australia has relevance elsewhere.
For example, much of New Zealand is clearly farming on an imported trajectory towards ecological breakdown while dreaming of ever higher exports.
The driving force in the ancient ecology was the active fertilisation of the soil and forests by minerals from the droppings of billions of seabirds.
It's a different model to Australia, with some overlapping principles.
Is Aotearoa similarly at risk? The key danger signals are dependency on bag fertiliser and irrigation.
If you don't want the mainstay of our future to be artificial hydroponics with no wild biodiversity, then it is time to take a leaf from Andrew's book - and use more horse sense than inappropriate tradition.
*Back from the Brink: How Australia's landscape can be saved, by Peter Andrews, ABC Books, 2006
• Dr Cedric Woods is a Dunedin ecologist.