Soil health and climate change videos

Derek Smith - Working with Nature; Farmers and Educators of regenerative farming, Gura NSW
Soil is the beginning of everything.

Without a good soil we don't grow very many plants at all and without the plants animals and ourselves we don't exist. So it's critical that all of our health and well-being pretty much comes out of the soil.

Bruce Pascoe - Indigenous historian and author of Dark Emu
As we're killing soil and we're artificially propping it up with chemicals either to as artificial fertilizer, weedicides, pesticides.

Derek Smith
We're losing the fertility of our soil we're losing the carbon within our soils we're losing the biology within our soils and the combination of all of these losses is it's something we can't go on doing.

Bruce Pascoe
We're on the tipping point of plummeting fertility in this country.

Derek Smith
If we do damage to the soil we're in effect doing damage to ourselves the food we're eating today is not as nutritious so we're not getting exactly what we need to be as healthy as we should.

Bruce Pascoe
Well the whole economy rests on on soil. It doesn't matter whether it's an industrial economy or not we are only what we stand on. So we have to protect that soil and people who don't are just spending their children's capital.

Kerry Cochrane - President, Australian Institute of Ecological Agriculture Cooperative Ltd.
When farmers invest in in chemicals I think it's a bit like and borrowing from the bank at some point you have to put the interest back. Well that's happening now with soils because over time the addition of those chemicals can deaden the soil. They don't have the life they used to have to fix the microbial activity in the fungi activity in the soil.

That means the investment coming back from the soil is less than it used to be but I think those people in who are into regenerative farming at the moment are most surprised to find that their ecosystem their soils for example are actually responding by non-interference that they're actually producing more from that arrangement that structure within their farming routine.

Lorraine Gordon - Founder, Regenerative Agriculture Alliance & Director, Strategic Projects, Southern Cross University
We've made some mistakes farming in agriculture we've followed European methods when in retrospect we shouldn't of. Australia has the oldest soils in the world its landscapes are very different from Europe its soil profiles are very different and we need to farm an Australian Way we need to listen to our our indigenous elders on how they may have farmed previously and we need to really work on collaborating together and continually educating ourselves on really what is the best methodology that is going to save our landscapes, save our soils, help with carbon sequestration and basically save the planet.

Derek Smith
The microbiology of soil is very exciting it's a frontier that we really need to push very hard because we know nothing about the biology of soil.

Basically it's it's a travesty really of justice that we can put someone on the moon or and almost on Mars but we know nothing about the microbes in the soil we we probably know about 4% they believe. It promises so much.

Terry McCosker - Founder & Director, Resource Consulting Services
I think humus which is one of the components of organic carbon in the soil is the beginning and the end of all life. So all life starts with humus and all life ends up back as humus. So carbon is this it's this central thing that we've got that drives life.

Derek Smith
With the time scale that this is working on means that almost anyone that's running a farm today can see the benefits and see the outcomes in their lifetimes it can work very quickly if we do the right things.


Terry McCosker - Founder & Director, Resource Consulting Services
If we want to reverse global warming it's actually quite easy to do and we can do it and we can start today. We could reverse it significantly within five years I believe that if we had the will and we had enough people that are managing land involved in the process.

We're all about life aren't we and how we go about living and are we living a joyful life or are we living a sad hateful fighting sort of life and a lot of people are living this sad life where they're actually fighting everything around them and when you're fighting mother nature it is not a war you're ever going to win.

As mother nature's got more tricks up her sleeve than we will ever know about. And if we think about that from the point of view of the human race, the human race is doing significant damage to this planet and damaging at an accelerating rate.

But the planet doesn't actually care because the planet doesn't need the human race, the human race needs the planet.

Dr. Charlie Massy - NSW farmer, scientist and author of Call of the Reed Warbler
To me the flip side is if we have the power to destabilize the whole planetary system if we do the right things and the right practices like Regenerative Ag why can't we start pulling that back because we know regenerative agriculture can drag down huge amounts of carbon dioxide buried in the soil if we do it right.

Terry McCosker
So if we're going to change things we got to start right back at the farming end of things and that's what I'd call regenerative we've got to regenerate the health of our farming systems our soils we've got to regenerate that soil microbiome, that plant microbiome, that animal microbiome which will then regenerate the human microbiome.

Lorraine Gordon - Founder, Regenerative Agriculture Alliance & Director, Strategic Projects, Southern Cross University
There is an innate relationship between hooved animals and quality pasture because what they do is they take the top off the pasture to allow more sunlight into those pastures more photosynthesis to take place which brings the carbon down through the roots of the plant and into our soil profiles. And as grazing animals move across a landscape particularly when they are moved and paddocks are rested allows those plants as plant communities to thrive.

That is what produces good carbon in the soil.

Helen & Mike McCosker - Directors of Carbon8
Plants and animals have evolved together and particularly in the rangeland areas those grasslands don't stay healthy if you try and take the animals off in fact the scientists that designed holistic management was an ecologist from South Africa and he saw the damage that happened when you took the animals out of the system and how it degraded. He realized that it wasn't the animals in the system that were doing the damage it was how the animals were being managed in a natural system the predators bunch the grazing animals together we take the predators away now the grazing animals spread out and can do damage.

So it's really a case of us trying to to mimic that in our management we want to bunch those animals together you know we become the predator we bunch them together and then we move them around and that helps us manage the landscape. So it's a case of whether we're doing things that are degrading the landscape or building the landscape.

Lorraine Gordon
Without hoofed animals moving across a landscape eating the tops of our pastures our pastures and our landscapes will turn to deserts that is science but the message is not getting through.

Terry McCosker
Carbon is central to this whole linking soil health to human health. Carbon is the foundation of all energy and whether we're talking fossil fuel energy or the energy and the food that you eat, carbon is the energy source.

Lorraine Gordon
We will all benefit from carbon trading. Once we start to sequest carbon in the soil and we end up being reimbursed for it because once you put an economic value on something all of a sudden watch things happen. So it will benefit not only farmers in their hip pocket because it will be income for them down the track, it will sustain them into the future, they'll be carbon farmers.

Jennifer Lauber Patterson - Managing Director, Frontier Impact Group
If it's economic why aren't we doing it? Why are we doing it if it makes investment sense? I can see this being billions and billions of dollars of investment. The urgency is economic we have a significantly underused economic resource.

What's great with agriculture is our land is abundant and is unlimited in terms of the potential for the soil if we look after it. But in addition to that you're achieving environmental benefits that are significant and also social impact of actually being out there help farmers on the land and how great is it is food security it's improving soil health which is better not only for our planet but also for our children.

Terry McCosker
So we've got this beautiful carbon cycle that's been operating now for about 370 million years. Is this amazing bit of technology that Mother Nature developed and we wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for this carbon cycle but carbon must cycle. It must go into every living thing, go out of every living thing and back into every living thing again. The useful place to put it is into soils.

What we would be doing is building the health of those soils. So as we put that into the soil we improve the water holding capacity of the soils, we become more drought resistant.

We improve the quality of the food that we produce off those soils so that consumers going to benefit from that. We improve the microbiomes because we've now got homes and we've got energy for the soil biology to both attach to and to feed off and somewhere for their waste products to go.

So there's if this is a win-win-win in every direction we can take co2 out of the atmosphere we can put it in a place where it's only going to do good.

Lorraine Gordon
Whilst agriculture has has contributed to perhaps 12 13 percent of greenhouse emissions we are the ones that will be able to sequester carbon and by sequestering carbon in our landscapes we can bring these temperatures down.

It can be like a second Enterprise not only can they have their crops and pasture fed stock they can also make a living out of sequestering carbon and Southern Cross University plays a vital role in enabling farmers right across Australia to learn how to do that.