Diggings 13 December 2021

I recall the night several years ago when the walls of the foyer of the government offices in Bridge Street were a moving carpet of bogongs fatally attracted by its light. It seems that was a portent of what has come to pass. Sad news on which to begin this Diggings. Some hope in the articles that point the way to addressing pressing problems of agriculture and land.

‘Really sad moment’: bogong moth among 124 Australian additions to endangered species list

They were once so common, swarms of Australian bogong moths almost seemed to “block out the moon” at certain times of the year. Now, the bogong has been listed as endangered on the global red list of threatened species after crashes in its population in recent years.


Australia has a heritage conservation problem. Can farming and Aboriginal heritage protection co-exist?

The best way to conserve heritage is for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians to work together to identify, document, and protect places. An important example is the discovery of human remains from a mortuary tree west of St George, southern Queensland. The site was discovered during fence clearing by the landholder, who contacted the police. We worked with the landholder who has supported the Kooma nations people to conserve the mortuary tree and enable it to remain on country.


Australia’s agriculture sector sorely needs more insights from First Nations people. Here’s how we get there

The Guardian Australia recently noted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people own up to 54.17% of Australia’s landmass. This is comparable to the National Indigenous Australians Agency estimate of Indigenous land ownership, which puts the figure at around 40%. This extensive landholding by First Nations people is an essential component of the continued practice of agriculture in Australia. But despite Indigenous people owning these vast areas of land, only 1% of the agricultural workforce identify as Indigenous. This rate is unacceptably low, given 3.3% of Australia’s population more broadly identify as Indigenous.


5 big ideas: how Australia can tackle climate change while restoring nature, culture and communities

Our new report, which brings together expertise from across Australia, reveals how we can make this happen using proven approaches including:

  • Indigenous-led work on Country
  • Keeping our existing forests and woodlands safe from land clearing
  • Restoring ailing ecosystems
  • Simplifying access to carbon markets and
  • Mapping ways of working with nature rather than technology to store emissions.


EU aims to curb deforestation with beef and coffee import ban

Beef, palm oil, cocoa and other products linked to deforestation will be banned from entering the European Union under landmark legal proposals that attempt to help prevent the felling of the world’s great forests.


Endangered Kitchen: Meat Missiles

So far, the UK has signed around 69 new trade deals with countries around the globe, but also seems to have been counting on its former empire for support and to provide new free trade deals. Many ex-colonies now free of the UK, such as India, have unsurprisingly NOT heeded this call. But there are two nations which have remained faithful, two countries which, like Britain, are also leaning towards insular foreign policies and shows of military force— the United States and Australia. For several years whilst Brexit negotiations were taking place, it became apparent that deals were likely between these three countries. It is clear why: in the words of Australian Premier, Scott Morrison, they all ‘see the world through a similar lense.’ Just how ethical this lens’s focus is, however, is up for debate


How much meat do we eat? New figures show 6 countries have hit their peak

After analysing data for 35 countries, we identified such a tipping point at around US$40,000 (A$57,000) of GDP per capita. Only six of the 35 countries, however, had reached this, with other countries continuing on an increasing trajectory. Overall, we found each person worldwide ate, on average, 4.5 kilograms more meat per year in 2019 than in 2000. While we can’t say what’s behind the general choice to eat more meat, our study identifies some insightful trends.


‘Battery-hen farming of the sea’: sustainable alternatives to eating salmon

For salmon lovers hoping to reduce the environmental impact of their food, there is some very good news: king salmon, farmed in New Zealand, is a perfect alternative. While king salmon is a different fish species, you wouldn’t know it; it can be used anywhere you would normally use Tasmanian-farmed salmon, including raw applications such as sashimi and ceviche.


‘One size fits all’: how water-sharing rule changes threaten Hunter Valley farms

Describing the cease to pump ruling as a “one size fits all”, Dr Cameron Archer, the former principal of Tocal Agricultural College in Paterson, questioned the logic behind the proposal. He says that in the past producers have “self-regulated because no one is going to put saline water on their crop or pastures, they will simply cease to pump based on the salinity levels at their pump”.


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