A message from Peter Andrews OAM, 7 December 2021
For over forty five years, I have sought the best examples, assessed by the most rigorous science, demonstrating how the ancient Australian landscape reveals a blueprint for global climate recovery. The evidence for this science has accumulated over the longest time, millions of years, across the oldest and largest area possible, the Australian continent, and is measurably accounted for in the fossil and sedimentary records. Now, it is time for the world to discover the incredible blueprint for climate recovery that this ancient landscape provides.
Let's consider some of the basic tenets of The Australian Landscape Science (TALS):
Australia's landscape contains the blueprint for immediate climate recovery efforts and the laboratory for continuous learning and improvement. What we now need most urgently is for The Australian Landscape Science to be adopted by governments and land managers. This should start by ensuring that all policies and implementations involving landscapes, plants and water are framed and actioned according to this ancient landscape blueprint.
Typically when disasters occur that impact on vast numbers of people's lives, homes and livelihoods, an independent body is appointed by the government to provide coordination of the best knowledge and solutions.
When public expenditure is necessary to mitigate such disasters, it is the government's responsibility to affect such management.
The environmental events over the last few years have certainly created the need for an independent body appointed by the government to provide the coordination of the best information, options and solutions in the areas of environmental restoration, agricultural regeneration and climate moderation.
So many changes have effected this continent's ability to prevent drought, fire and flood - the main causes of widespread destruction to people’s lives. The good news is that these changes reveal the problems and in enough cases proven solutions exist. The science and related methodologies are already available for this body to utilise.
To date all utilities accessing public funds have an independent body providing overview, EXCEPT climate, environment and agriculture.
Right now the Victorian floods, on the back of the floods that recently devastated parts of NSW, demonstrate that it is time this nation advances its ability to create coordinated long lasting improvements in these three areas that are fundamental to our future wellbeing. The need for more efficient use of public money and disaster relief funds makes this mandatory.
If you feel it is time Australia had this independent body overviewing climate, environment and agriculture to create real, long-lasting change, then please share this message.
Peter Andrews OAM
Anzac Day calls us to remember that our forebears fought, and many died, for Australia. Since then, Australians have fought other battles. After the last drought, the fires came. The extreme energy fluxes resulted in floods.
Before humans came, this continent was managed by plants. They deployed ecological strategies that virtually eliminated the chance of fire, flood and drought. Remnants of these processes can still be seen in our landscapes. The ways they work can be understood if we apply counterintuitive thinking, because they are largely opposite to how we manage our land today. We have created drainage systems instead of self-sustaining filtering cycles.
We have discovered the underlying science and demonstrated its application to create well functioning landscapes.
Now is the time to spread this knowledge across our land.
Remembering the past should lead us to act for the future.
Peter Andrews OAM
Author of Back From The Brink 2006 & Beyond The Brink 2008
The Australian landscape contains the blueprint we need to lead the world on climate recovery.
It is true that over the past 200 years, the impact of humans, animals and plants has left us with many ecosystem failures, but in enough cases it also provides evidence of the solutions.
By restoring one third of its degraded farmland, Australia could be carbon neutral within ten years. The estimated annual value of the world's ecosystem services is over US$33 Trillion. This is more than 1.5 times the global GDP.
Our mission to restore Australia by 2030 will be advised by an independent professional group, supported by the most rigorous science and allied with Government policy.
We're ready to work with anyone who is prepared to take advantage of this opportunity and willing to follow the incredible blueprint of the Australian landscape. Now, let's make it happen!
~ Peter Andrews OAM
This message sets out key points I have understood over the past 40 years and contains a request.
The environment contains many unknown processes, for example what microbes do in the soil or how water moves nutrients and living compounds around the landscape. There are however, numerous processes evident across Australia that supported this land to flourish automatically. For good decisions to be made on climate management strategies, it is necessary for decisions to be consistent with these ancient processes and the basic science that formed them.
When making decisions, the following fundamental processes of our ancient landscape should be evaluated - in time (How long has this been happening) and space (over what area). Plants use water to carry latent heat energy across the land and warm the night.
These fundamental processes are:
1. All life on land is packaged sunlight. Plants sequester carbon daily. Plants also manage water, negating the heat from the sun. Both of these roles are important in managing our climate, but it is this second role that plants play in moderating heat extremes (and therefore moderating climate) that is often overlooked.
2. All life's compounds (the fertility that generates life) move downward due to gravity. They move from high ground to low areas, they move from the surface to the depths of soil. They keep moving out to sea - If nothing stops them. In the ancient Australian landscape, multiple processes existed to filter and prevent nutrients from washing away, they needed to be returned to high points so that they can be moved throughout the surface layers. The nutrient cycle is critical to the continuation of life. It is important that we recognise these processes - a nutrient transport system if you will - exists to take nutrients back to the high ground so that plants can make use of them. These functions and processes have been drastically reduced.
3. Our rehydration system has been replaced with drainage system. To understand this, we look to the ancient Australian landscape, in which plants evolved a way to keep the landscape hydrated via the (daily) small water cycle. Small water cycle perpetuated broader cycles, and the landscape was rehydrated despite unpredictable rainfall patterns. Through human activity, we have removed the plants and the plant based biological landforms and altered the landscape in a way that we have created a drainage system. On a continent where rainfall is irregular and water is precious, we are still draining the land.
4. The drainage system (point 3) has eliminated most of the filtering systems (refer to point 2) so that the recycling of daily plant production (point 1) is not possible. We are now trading on finite reserves. To address the climate issue we must enable plants to perform their key role in climate moderation, and to do this we must simultaneously repair the nutrient cycle and replace the drainage system with a rehydration system driven by plants.
I have never heard, debated in the media or mentioned in official circles these 4 points, in the context of climate change that impacts this community and its future.
For the last 40 years, I have been attempting to understand the visible examples of these fundamental processes, and to have them assessed via the most scientific rigour. To that end I have established and international reference panel. I have also accessed and gathered the most experienced and reliable individuals in this country and other parts of the world.
It has been declared by most, that Australia is a laboratory for the world and because of the impact of introduced animals, people, plants and agriculture examples of failures exist. The good news is that in enough cases solutions are available that all forms of agriculture can install solutions.
The ancient Australian landscape provides a blueprint and by remaking this landscape following this blueprint we have solutions for immediate installation. Although the concepts are simple and the science is basic, there are nuances in the application of solutions. Provided an independent advisory service is available to provide the right instruction we can repair this landscape.
What am I requesting is that people I have been in association with over the last 40 years put a modest amount of effort into analysing the above, if necessary rejecting or nuancing any point made and to make some effort to inform the public of this amazing opportunity to repair our landscape.
Happy Australia Day.
Peter Andrews OAM
Smoke lingers over suburban Sydney, while bushfires continue to burn. It’s tragic. It’s predictable. And it’s preventable.
Australia has always been dry. But for millions of years, natural processes managed the landscape. Water was plentiful, and temperatures were stable. This made devastating fires rare.
How did nature do it? And can we fireproof the continent again?
To answer the first question, we need to look at the relationship between plants, water, soil and heat.
Anyone knows from personal experience that sweating cools you down. The reason for this is that when liquid sweat evaporates from your skin, some energy – in the form of heat – is needed to transform the liquid to gas. This heat, known as latent heat, is taken away from your body and absorbed by the water vapour. The heat is then released again when that vapour turns back into liquid.
This same process is going on all the time in plants. But when plants “sweat”, we call it transpiration. And when you have vast forests and grasslands transpiring, large amounts of water vapour travels into the sky. This has two effects. First, the evaporated water draws a massive amount of heat up into the atmosphere. This cools the environment on the ground. And second, the evaporated water turns into clouds and eventually rain.
This natural process of water movement and heat transfer leads to cooler temperatures and more rain. Two factors sure to reduce bushfire severity.
The next element to discuss is the soil. Healthy soils capture rain. This reduces erosion and keeps huge amounts of water in the landscape. This water is then available for plants to keep growing, long after the rains have stopped. Soil moisture also has a direct impact on how the landscape deals with fire. Dry, degraded soil allows fire to fly straight over it. Whereas, when there is more water in the soil, the heat is sucked from a fire, stopping it in its path.
It’s foolish to look at any one of the above processes in isolation. Nature is complex. But if we want to fix the mistakes of two centuries of mismanagement, we must comprehend this complexity.
And indeed, innovative researchers and land managers have been building a knowledge base under the umbrella term of regenerative agriculture. This is a toolkit of solutions that show the way to build soil, increase plant growth and hold water in the landscape. Regenerative farmers around the country are working with natural water and ecosystem processes, rather than against them. But we need more people to become informed and join in.
This land has been fireproof before, and it can be fireproof again. We need to let natural water processes work, so plants grow and soils improve. We don’t have to wait for governments to tax carbon or close coal plants. These grassroots solutions will allow us to quickly rehydrate the landscape. And they’re solutions that everyone can work on now.
by Peter Andrews OAM, 20 March 2019
The question I am most asked is not “How does The Australian Landscape Science work?” Actually, it is “Why hasn’t this model been made available to everyone?” If the Australian public knew the truth of what has been going on behind the scenes, there would be anarchy tomorrow.
So many promises have been made and swiftly broken over the years, that combined they would be hard to tally. Despite all the good faith on display to the world, there has been no action.
As the long dry continues to expedite the desiccation of our nation, breaking the hearts of farmers and breaking the back of regional economies, perhaps the day of revolution shall yet come to pass.
For now, it should suffice that any careful examination of the Australian continent reveals that we would appear to have the worst natural situation for climate stability. Our highest mountains are on the east instead of more ideally on the west, such as in the USA. There is precious little seasonal snow melt to recharge the thirsty inland watershed, such as in Europe. You wouldn’t want to place a bet on this continent ever becoming a paradise.
However, the ancient Australian landscape was exactly that, a paradise which developed biodiversity beyond comparison, including many of the singing birds, the flowering plants, aquaculture and megafauna which were bigger than the average automobile.
How could ancient Australia possibly have become a verdant paradise? Well, it should be obvious to the reader by now, that it was because of our magnificent plants, which were able to achieve the most efficient landscape processes on the planet. And these productive processes are still available to us today, presented in the skeleton of the ancient Australian landscape.
I began my current journey back in 1975, after being advised by Professor Hector Geddes, a professor who was in charge of agriculture at Sydney University, that Australia could reveal energy management strategies that are counter-intuitive to Mediterranean-evolved agricultural practices. For example, Australia has the longest hours of sunlight, the greatest variety of plants that can function 24/7 and the most efficient use of water relative to production. My realisation was that the Australian landscape demonstrated a laboratory that could lead the world.
Since European interventions first started on this landscape, we have had many agricultural philosophies. When introduced animals impacted the plant management system, this triggered the erosion and collapse of many areas and heralded the paradigm of drainage. These practices, which have been used by past civilisations, and are still being promulgated now, are now recognised to result in failed environments. The disappointing aspect is that these same agriculturalists claim to understand the Australian management strategies!
It must be recognised that while the impact of humans and their animals demonstrates failures, in some cases, it also presents possible solutions. It is these solutions which I am so determined to see come to fruition, immediately.
However, I have come to understand that the processes of the ancient Australian landscape are highly counter-intuitive. For people to take full advantage of them requires a special advisory service, supported by the best qualified practitioners, upholding the most rigorous science and utilising the latest communication technologies available. The advisory service is absolutely necessary for the most effective understanding and economical usage. To stray from this path is to invite peril. We must fully appreciate that we are working with both the greatest creative and destructive forces that have shaped this landscape - the oldest, largest, flattest and driest landscape on Earth.
Since 1975, none of our current trainers, universities or CSIRO facilities have completed rigorous scientific assessments to either confirm or reject the above-mentioned opportunities. There has been a massive failure of our institutions to abide by a ‘duty of care’. This is compounded by wasteful ongoing expenditure of public funds, constituting a major breach of fiduciary duties, on behalf of so many politicians and public servants.
Today, despite our many environmental challenges, we have reached a threshold, where the thorough investigation and honest application of The Australian Landscape Science could yet prevent the requirement for mass class actions arising from climate catastrophes. Rather, by making it possible for every citizen to take a sense of ownership and growing a plant, we can all be contributing to the management and reversal of human induced climate and environmental extremes.
Fortunately, we have the unprecedented capacity to measure back accurately. Therefore, we can know that the science is certain. It should also be recognised that it is more difficult to know what may happen in the future. Only our ancient landscape can reveal the blueprint for going forward.
Peter Andrews OAM, 1 January 2019
Plants protecting water in the soil and recovering dew from the atmosphere is the most efficient solution for major climate recovery.
Powered by sunlight and gravity, plants manage the destructive heat of the sun, using water to convert energy into a latent state, where it changes from gas back into liquid.
If we work with this scientific process and restore water in the ground, then we can transform the Australian landscape into an agriculturally-managed oasis.
Unfortunately, the role of plants as the most effective climate solution is rarely understood and seldom debated.
Our greatest failure has been the failure to recognise that plant-managed ground water storage resulted in the best climate possible.
Natural science requires careful observation in time and space. Many counter-intuitive cycles occur, once time and space have had their influence.
I have tried to share this evidence using only the most rigorous science available, many, many times over the past 40 years.
PLANTS MADE THE LANDSCAPE HABITABLE.
Australia is the oldest, flattest continent and serves as the best landscape laboratory on the planet.
If we follow the blueprint of the old Australian landscape, we can all afford to reproduce and manage the natural benefits.
Therefore, it is critical that the available evidence is delivered accurately with the least distortion by personal and commercial influences.
This New Year could see a great new opportunity for the cooperation between honest and dedicated individuals and groups.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Peter Andrews OAM
Peter Andrews OAM, Australian landscape repair specialist, grazier and race horse breeder