Helping drought-stricken farmers requires recognising global warming and planning
Publisher: Green Left
Date Written: 10/08/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22888
All of NSW has now officially been declared to be in drought, and 57% of Queensland has officially entered its sixth year of the current drought (though there has been little real change from when 88% was declared to be in drought in March 2017).Droughts keep getting worse, and the changing climate means they will continue to do so.The Coalition's "solutions" start with denying that climate change is real.
The government treats farmers like any other walk in-walk out business and, by extension, the climate disaster as a personal business risk. No wonder this sink or swim, survival-of-the-fittest policy leads to more suicides and farmers walking off the land.
For farming communities to become truly drought resilient, while also setting up supplementary diversified income systems, they must be helped to manage the soil sustainably so that it can sequester carbon and store water in humus -- until the droughts break.
We need to keep ground cover to anchor soil from blowing or washing away. Even if we cannot grow food in it, dust storms are a major health hazard and erosion silts estuaries and covers seagrass where fisheries breed.
Drought resilience means means the ground needs to contain humus to store water to keep 100% groundcover. This enables it to quickly grow food or grass when the drought breaks. Trees can help with this in pastures, as long as they do not regrow so densely that they easily turn into crown fires.