“The only thing you have in a complex situation is the truth.”
Dear Friends, Family and Critics
A year ago (with 334 mm of rainfall [41% above average]) January was Kachana’s wettest month for the season. This year our tally for January came to 198 mm. That is 16% below January’s average over the years. Immediately to Kachana’s South-East however, on the Fitzroy side of the water-shed, there was a lot of heavy rain. Kimberley flood-stories even made international news.
It had taken me hundreds of hours of regular low-level flying along the full length of the Dunham River catchment and close to twelve years, to connect the dots as to what I was seeing unfold in the landscapes below me. – Quite possibly I’m a slow learner! - For years we have been attempting to warn down-stream communities of the deterioration taking place in our under-managed regional catchments. Damage bills and the costs of emergency responses keep accumulating, and I get the impression that either there are other slow learners out there, or our warnings are reaching the wrong ears. Early January 2023 the Fitzroy River behaved as a case in point. Downstream damage is extensive and the dedicated work of decades has been severely tested. 'Kalyeeda Station' is but one example how exposed many of us are to what happens upstream. – I recall John Henwood once telling me that during one cyclone several thousand head of cattle (5000 head, or did he say 8000 head?) from Fossil Downs got washed out into the ocean, and then only some years later another 1200 head suffered the same fate! Those of us who live here know that big rain-events happen, as do wildfires. As individuals or as businesses we do our best to prepare for the punches. But fires, storms and floods do not respect property boundaries. This means that without community support and politically reliable incentives, those out in the field (who have the skills as well as the necessary tools) can achieve little to reverse regional trends that drive floods, salinity, drought and wild-fire. In recent times ‘increasingly erratic weather’ might also belong to that list?
With each “100-year event” it becomes easier to calculate the cost of unhealthy landscapes to regional communities, to those living or doing business downstream, but also to the national economy as a whole.
As outlined in greater detail last month, this particular cloud has a silver lining:
Australia’s New Megafauna could be given work-permits to provide environmental services, and the very industry that a century ago paved the way for Australians to enjoy some of the highest quality lifestyles in the world, is today in the prime position to stabilise and rebuild landscape health and productivity. - What proactive pastoral players require is community support, appropriately enabling legislation and proportionate incentives!
Our wet season is not over yet. Historically February and March are our wettest months, therefore no doubt, the learning continues.
Greetings from a warm, green and wet Kachana, and may February be a great month for us all.
Photos of the Month
News & Views
It is a new year and we live at a time when both elected and unelected leaders of the world persist in devising ways to impose top-down control on our ecosystem as well as on those who supposedly manage things out there. Yet, when we go out and take a closer look into the natural world, we observe that growth, production, healing, regeneration, etc. are all bottom-up processes!
Processes that begin at cellular levels and that rely on bio-chemical communication, functions and feedback-loops. Things are alive, complex, forever changing and none of us gets to live long enough to ever fully understand all the intricate workings of this miraculously intelligent design.
Therefore, instead of placing all our hopes in artificial intelligence and technocratic egos, let us go back to an area where individuals have agency and pursue further thoughts on “Climate Choice”.
To the observer, the giving or presenting of choices does seem to have top-down character:
“Here is what to do, or else…”
But is this necessarily so?
The proposition ‘zero carbon’ might be a top-down imposition, on the other hand is it perhaps a bottom-up initiative:
(Thank you Persheid! – I trust you concur with this liberal translation of your message.)
The word ‘choice’ (as a noun) is followed by ‘choice’ (as a verb – i.e. the actual choosing in the form of an action taking place) and the result too is ‘choice’ (again a noun, but this time it is the consequence or outcome of the two previous ‘choices’!).
Viewed in the same light, unintended consequences too, may be attributed to ‘choice, choosing and choice’.
Wiser people long ago termed this dynamic ‘the law of the harvest’.
I.e., we get to reap what we sow, and if we personally do not, somebody else will.
Our understanding of Carbon is a practical one: Carbon is ‘Nature’s CASH’
Our behaviour (= choices we make in how we influence carbon-cycles around us) then determines whether we contribute to life around us as disruptors or as regenerators.
This is so, because we too are nature. We are alive and we behave. And, therefore our chosen behaviour really does matter.
In the world of computers, we are told that there is a phenomenon called “GIGO”.
Garbage In, leads to Garbage Out. – The law of the harvest? – Yep! There it is again.
The law does not exempt private, corporate, departmental or political decision-making; not even news-reporting.
Miss or skip a few important facts and happenings become “issues”, and perhaps suddenly some of them even creep up on us and bite us in the tail.
Poor choices of any kind will have consequences. We cannot change that, but we could of course follow up poor choices with better and informed choices, and hence be better prepared for what has already been sown.
To people who are tempted to feel overwhelmed by some of the news-headlines in recent years, may I suggest: Step back, observe happenings through an ecological lens, and be thankful that we live in a self-regulating eco-system of intelligible design.
Take heart in the teachings of the late Pope Benedict: Certain truths—moral, intellectual, and aesthetic—can be known, and this knowledge in fact serves to unite people across religious and cultural divides.
Further scope for hope lies in an ancient observation that holds true to this day:
“Medicus curat, natura sanat.” - Translation: The physician cares, nature heals.
Consequently, as long as the sun shines and rain still drops out of the sky, there is no legitimate reason for caring people to give up hope.
Link of the Month
Listen to six minutes filled with Peterson’s eloquently presented thinking:
What is still missing in Peterson’s repeated and diverse dives into climate discussions (in my opinion) is the connection to the soil. – Interestingly at the 2015 Paris climate-talkfest, apparently for the first time (!), climate-scientists and soil-scientists were gathered around the same table!
Other than The International "4 per 1000" Initiative (that should have served as a breakthrough at the time!), public/political discourse on soil-carbon seems to offer mainly deafening silence.
Media-focus remains directed on atmospheric carbon, people gluing themselves to roads, defacing art-work and ostensibly the wisdom of starving health into national economies.
There are still some important questions that have yet to be publicly asked and truthful answers sought.
Having listened to the full 3-hour discussion leaves me room for optimism.