This message sets out key points I have understood over the past 40 years and contains a request.
The environment contains many unknown processes, for example what microbes do in the soil or how water moves nutrients and living compounds around the landscape. There are however, numerous processes evident across Australia that supported this land to flourish automatically. For good decisions to be made on climate management strategies, it is necessary for decisions to be consistent with these ancient processes and the basic science that formed them. When making decisions, the following fundamental processes of our ancient landscape should be evaluated - in time (How long has this been happening) and space (over what area). Plants use water to carry latent heat energy across the land and warm the night.
These fundamental processes are:
1. All life on land is packaged sunlight.
Plants sequester carbon daily. Plants also manage water, negating the heat from the sun. Both of these roles are important in managing our climate, but it is this second role that plants play in moderating heat extremes (and therefore moderating climate) that is often overlooked.
2. All life's compounds (the fertility that generates life) move downward due to gravity.
They move from high ground to low areas, they move from the surface to the depths of soil. They keep moving out to sea - If nothing stops them. In the ancient Australian landscape, multiple processes existed to filter and prevent nutrients from washing away, they needed to be returned to high points so that they can be moved throughout the surface layers. The nutrient cycle is critical to the continuation of life. It is important that we recognise these processes - a nutrient transport system if you will - exists to take nutrients back to the high ground so that plants can make use of them. These functions and processes have been drastically reduced.
3. Our rehydration system has been replaced with drainage system.
To understand this, we look to the ancient Australian landscape, in which plants evolved a way to keep the landscape hydrated via the (daily) small water cycle. Small water cycle perpetuated broader cycles, and the landscape was rehydrated despite unpredictable rainfall patterns. Through human activity, we have removed the plants and the plant based biological landforms and altered the landscape in a way that we have created a drainage system. On a continent where rainfall is irregular and water is precious, we are still draining the land.
4. The drainage system (point 3) has eliminated most of the filtering systems (refer to point 2) so that the recycling of daily plant production (point 1) is not possible.
We are now trading on finite reserves. To address the climate issue we must enable plants to perform their key role in climate moderation, and to do this we must simultaneously repair the nutrient cycle and replace the drainage system with a rehydration system driven by plants.
The best solution for major climate recovery has been with us from the very beginning...
- Peter Andrews
I have never before in the media or official consideration and planning, heard, debated or mentioned these four points in the context of climate change; which will impact the future of our community and nation.