In 2007 – 2008, there was a spike in oil prices. Since the bulk of food is produced using petrol-dependant technology (oil-based fertilisers and pesticides, petrol powered irrigation, harvesting, packing and transportation, etc) this price spike caused the cost of food to rise significantly. Suddenly the media discussed ‘food inflation’. Many conventional farmers started looking at fuel efficiency: ceasing the use of expensive oil-based products and oil consuming tasks.
The most important thing about our garden receiving 594mm of rain this month, (the 50 year December average is 123.2mm), is that I have now lived here and successfully grown food through both extreme, prolonged drought and prolonged, saturating rain, a period covering seven years.
December brought no flooding in this property. Some stormwater escaped our rain-harvesting landscape, a few tadpoles got washed under the house, the zucchini suffered from mildew (and blossom end rot), but otherwise everything is happy.
‘Bellis’, Brisbane’s award winning sustainable house and garden, is now seven years old.
Last October this place won a national Save Water! Award in the Built Environment category. Since its inception, this 810 square metre property has collected over 7 megalitres of rainwater and recycled over 3 megalitres of sewage water. In the ornamental subtropical front garden, grow 118 different plants suited to predicted Climate Change. Apart from the hedge and two potted plants, all of these plants thrive on natural rainfall.
Gardeners, farmers, conservationists and planners should watch this recent segment produced by ABC’s ‘Catalyst’ show on how climate change is affecting the health of our harvests.
Rising CO2 levels will mean: Continue Reading →
According to Queensland Conservation (QC) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), Kevin Rudd has accepted the inconvenient truth of climate change and then given up on solving it. They say he has ignored the science of climate change and let down so many who voted for him at the last Federal election…
‘The best science says Australia should set a minimum target of 25-40% by 2020 and a majority of the people support this approach (Thermometer Survey shows 63% of people in favour),’ said Toby Hutcheon, Executive Director of QC.
Rising sea levels have major implications for coastal gardens. Yesterday’s king tide gave us the perfect opportunity to see what will be commonplace by 2050. One corner of the world that is experiencing greater than average sea level rises is north eastern Australia.
Even if all greenhouse gas emissions ceased immediately, oceans respond very slowly. As water warms it expands, occupying more space, while melting ice caps and glaciers further add to ocean volumes.
A Dutch environmental consultancy has revealed that the coal industry is costing the international community $170 billion damage each year due to natural disasters caused by Global Warming.
Warming is one disaster. Ocean acidification is another gift of fossil fuels. Rising carbon dioxide levels are increasing acidity in the oceans more than ten times faster than scientists thought, posing a greater threat to shell-forming creatures such as coral, crustacea and shellfish. Continue Reading →
The truth is somewhat different: as Oscar Wilde said “The cynic knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing”…
The Traveston Dam proposal was a political stunt, delivered by a premier who intended to retire. Despite the CSIRO evidence of decreasing rainfall in South East Queensland in his hands, his desperation to appear decisive and capable of managing the region’s water crisis won out. Continue Reading →
Pigeon peas are a 21st century crop. Last spring I decided to grow my own dal. Protein-rich split peas are the main ingredient, also added to soups and stews, and these are dried pigeon pea seed, Cajanus cajan.
Pigeon peas are as useful as maize, but have a far smaller ecological footprint, and are easier, but slower, to grow. They’re a universal food, but India grows 80% of the global harvest. Continue Reading →