Enough with the Climate Gloom by Michael Whelan

Bob Davies at Bimbadeen and his ground-breaking trials of carbon farming

Excerpts from an article in the Bass Coast Post

Workshop sessions at the Climate Emergency Summit in Melbourne last weekend filled up quickly so I didn’t get to all of the sessions I would have liked. Inevitably such large gatherings become more of a spectator event than a working strategic session.

In this climate change journey we find ourselves frustrated at the lack of government action, incredibly concerned for our children and grandchildren and jaded with the overload of tragedies that are occurring globally. Many of the speakers at the Summit reflected this frustration, speaking at length of the dark future if we don’t take strong action. But not enough was said about what a strong approach looks like and the benefits it would bring humanity and the creatures we share the planet with…

I tend to think of it along the lines of the Third Industrial Revolution espoused by Jeremy Rivkin. Rivkin describes the change as the equivalent of the change from steam to the internal combustion engine. A radical transition that will leave many current industries – such as coal and fossil fuel extraction – as stranded assets. The economic role for discovered coal and fossil fuel in the new economy will be as carbon credits for foregone exploitation rights…The World Economic Forum has identified the failure to respond to climate change as the biggest threat to the global economy.

We must respond, but how will the business future in Bass Coast look? We are a prime area for carbon farming with some local farmers leading the way. Carbon farmers of the year Bob and Anne Davie on Phillip Island and Bass Coast Landcare are exploring new ways to farm and join the carbon market. Economist Ross Garnaut predicts that in the near future farmers will make more money from marketing carbon than selling livestock.

Cleaner waste and landfill is already being delivered through the Bass Coast Council’s food and garden organics (FOGO) initiative, achieving a 76 per cent diversion from waste with just 1 per cent contamination. In the future we should regard FOGO as a resource and process it here in Bass Coast for Bass Coast farms and to assist in carbon sequestration. Jobs will come from processing as they will from the marketing of carbon. Some farmers in South Gippsland already differentiate their product on quality as carbon free and grown by regenerative farming techniques…

A couple of cafés on Phillip Island already have zero waste… Totally Renewable Phillip Island (TRPI) is working on a community energy project that will give them clean energy and control over energy prices as well as projects to deliver food security and clean transport.

Council’s new Climate Emergency Community Reference Group commenced on Friday and will help prepare a living Action Plan. If we are positive and change the debate from the doom and get going on the new clean sharing economy we will not only be healthier but a thriving business area as well.

*Cr Geoff Ellis and Cr Michael Whelan attended the 2020 National Climate Emergency Summit as representatives of Bass Coast Shire Council. Cr. Ellis article was posted last week under the title “Bass Coast Councillors at the Climate Emergency Summit “.