As I write this, many children (and perhaps adults) are preparing to protest about a climate change agenda today.
It’s no secret that we are in the grip of one of the worst droughts in Australia in recorded history. It’s entirely possible that it is not the worst drought in Australia, but certainly it has not been good. We know. We’re living it.
But, as I watch and listen, I’m equally disappointed about opportunities lost. You see, I don’t think that what they are protesting about is either practical, or going to make much difference. Assuming that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem (an obviously, people differ about that), these measures will do absolutely nothing to address the removal of the carbon dioxide from the air, and putting the carbon back in the soil where it belongs. And it doesn't do anything to encourage each person participating from taking personal responsibility for things they can change.
But just imagine what things could be like if instead of missing their exams and school to have protest, they were actively encouraging those of us engaging in regenerative agriculture – a type of agriculture that deliberately seeks to build soil, store carbon in the soil, reduce run off, pesticides and herbicides, and use herbivores to heal the land.
Imagine the difference these kids could make if they were prepared to personally act to improve their care of the land (and how much more influence they might have on the adults around them). Perhaps they could choose to reduce their plastic use in their space – by no longer using stuff out of a plastic bottle, but making their own shampoo bars, moisturiser and makeup and reusing the containers rather than buying tube after plastic tube that will enter landfill.
Imagine if these kids chose to spend their pocket money on clothes and bedroom linen of natural fibres that don’t release microplastics when washed – the quality of the water being released in our land and oceans might improve. Perhaps they could choose to save up and buy classic higher quality clothes from natural fibres that last longer rather than fast fashion for large chain stores that last for a season and are then added to landfill as they get holes and stretch and fade.
Imagine if they all started to garden and have a compost heap – that their family might have fresh lettuce and herbs (even an apartment garden will provide that!) that are grown on the property, rather than shipped (with the very oil or gas they are protesting about) to a depot, from the depot to the supermarket, and wrapped in plastic (again, an oil product) that ultimately will go to landfill.
Imagine if all of their organic wastes were properly composted, instead of going into land fill and becoming methane – the very thing that cows are accused of producing (that is not an entirely accurate allegation either, but I’ll leave that be for the moment).
Imagine if that compost was used on the garden or pasture – to enrich the soil without chemical fertilisers, to feed the soil microbiology and boost the carbon amount in the soil. Doing this should in turn lead to greater water retention, higher resilience in drought times, less run off, and less artificial chemical use, less flooding, less erosion, greater soil structure and productivity. It also ensures the soil/microbiology in the soil/plants in the soil have the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the air and sequester much greater amounts of carbon in the soil.
Imagine if they chose to bake their own bread rather than buy a loaf wrapped in plastic.