Australia: under-populated yet overexploited?
December 24, 2013 at 12:01 am #7109
January 1, 2014 at 11:56 am #7261
On behalf of Judy:
Does the permaculture movement in Australia have any political clout or a strong grassroots presence that would help shape policy going forward?
January 1, 2014 at 11:56 am #7263
On behalf of Michael Mielke:
I knew Australia was bad and also in bad shape, but this is really scary and intimidating. I had always wanted someday to visit, but I don’t think so anymore.
January 1, 2014 at 11:58 am #7265
On behalf of Warwick Rowell:
We wrote the material below some ten years ago:
Why choose this location? Over and above that we feel it is a very beautiful part of the world, David Bellamy influenced our thinking about where to locate ourselves. He argues:
There is mounting evidence that environmental factors are increasingly impacting on the health of people in the northern hemisphere. There is growing evidence that the economic and social systems of Europe and North America are breaking down. So smart people there are starting to consider becoming environmental refugees. They are looking primarily at the low middle latitudes of the southern hemisphere.
South Africa has many internal issues to resolve. Few have the Spanish that would lead them to Chile or Argentina. This leaves Australia and New Zealand. If you want the most stable climate you must live on the west side of a continent. This leads you to south-west Western Australia, south-west Victoria, western Tasmania or New Zealand. Then local weather becomes a greater consideration; WA’s highest latitude is 35 South. This means only Western Australia and the north island of New Zealand avoid the roaring forties. These massive and persistent winds make living conditions rather harsh on the other western coasts.
David Bellamy goes on to give other reasons why this south-west corner of Western Australia is the best bioregion in the world. He talks about the bioregion being relatively wealthy, politically stable, having democratic government, well-educated people, no national boundaries, and it is isolated – surrounded by thousands of kilometres of ocean, and over a thousand kilometres of desert to other major bioregions. He then chides us, asking “If you do not become a model for the rest of the world about building a sustainable society, what hope has anyone else got?”
We hear his message. But as permaculture designers we need to go into even further detail. We worked out that our needs would be best met by living within fifteen to twenty minutes drive of a large town, which has restaurants, specialist medical units, local theatre, a secondary education provision, and a range of shops, services and small businesses. We want to live where the sea breeze has an impact on local climate, but not so close as to face the salt corrosion problems of people right on the beach. We didn’t want to live downwind of any major industrial area. A permaculturist planning for catastrophe and looking at the greenhouse effect, and its wider impacts on climatic and food production systems, would choose to live on the north-east side of a granite hill.
There will be people considering emigrating permanently from their countries who are seriously analysing where else they might raise their families. We believe this is an ideal alternative.
For more information on climate change, read the essay Permaculture and Climate Change in Western Australia on the website.
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July 15, 2014 at 6:24 pm #9467Jonathan SobelsMember
I led a team who reported on the long-term physical implications of different levels of migration into Australia out to 2050, for the Department of Immigration, in 2010 (www.immi.gov.au). Because migrants’ consumption very quickly equates to that of existing Australians, the study became a proxy for the effects of overall population growth on our physical natural and built environments.
Key conclusions from modelling the exchange of real ‘stuff’- rather than economic proxies, case studies of the impacts of major concentrations of migrant communities, and essays on the social costs of carbon as waste, were; 1. All population increases damage to or use up natural assets (water, biodiversity); 2. Western Sydney runs out of landfill around 2020; 3. Western Sydney will also pave over 52% of its market gardens in the north-west and south-west growth corridors in the next 15 years; 4. Perth and Sydney are both going to be short of water, especially Perth, with projected population growth in a warming, drying climate; and 5. The social cost of carbon equates to about 10% of a household’s income.
So, Australia might have a lot of space, but not a lot of the key requirements for human existence, especially water, which desalination plants cannot address if projected population growth occurs.
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