Dr Sara Bice

Dr Sara Bice, Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, talks about her new book "Responsible Mining".

"Responsible Mining " - Is it an oxymoron or is it possible?

Dr Euan Ritchie concerning biodiversity

Dr Euan Ritchie joined the BZE radio team, speaking about the need to recognise we have a biodiversity crisis in Australia. Over the years we have lost 30 of our mammal species.We invest very little in our natural environment and there are many reasons for this:

-The government (and people) do not realise the economic value of nature e.g, every dollar spent on management can equal $75 that can be recouped on tourism.

-Those in government departments, who have the required knowledge are often gagged (e.g. alpine grazing) and therefore funding can be threatened to be withdrawn

-Short election cycles and vested interests and governments which are not practised at long term decisions

-Population moves from country to city so then people do not have a daily experience of nature

What to do: If we have open spaces this can help to reduce stress (and sometimes then reduce crime) and improve health. Perhaps excessive population growth plays a part as we live on a finite planet but it is more important to recognise and be aware of reducing our per capita consumption and not to live beyond our means. The Greens are pivotal but there is a need for cooperation between parties so there is a national focus rather than merely political.

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

Colin Seis - Farmers & Regenerative Agricultural

This show was broadcast on 17 November 2014

Col Seis Bio on Winona from Peter Hill on Vimeo.

Colin Seis is the inventor of the Regenerative Agricultural practice of Pasture Cropping. Col tells the story of the history of his family's farming enterprise from the 18 Hundreds to the present. His journey and experiences are documented, and how he came to the conclusion that it is critical for farmers to manage their native grasslands well, to achieve a goal of Profitable Regenerative Agriculture.

Beyond Zero Emissions recently released research - Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry - has found that the best part of half our greenhouse gas emissions come from land clearing, savannah burning and methane  from livestock. The discussion paper takes six farms as case studies of how to reduce or balance out these emissions by carbon sequestering plants, cell grazing and increasing soil richness. BZE Radio's Vivien Langford speaks to Colin Seis's farm Winona is at Gulgong NSW and he features in the report.
A shorter interview is with retired farmers Liz and Bruce Irvine who share with us their hard won insights once they stopped fighting with nature. The interviews cover many topics including the pioneering days, Aboriginal land management and the network of like minded farmers around the world who are leading the way with climate friendly practises.

Agriculture and forestry: hidden emissions, solution in plain sight

By Stephen Bygrave. RenewEconomy, 23-10-2014

The Zero Carbon Australia Land Use report can be downloaded here

Agriculture and forestry activities cover most of Australia, but increasingly, no longer our national consciousness. With most of our population now living in the cities, the remainder of the continent is often forgotten. The vast space between our coastlines is not empty, however. In fact most of it is farmed and managed for a wide variety of commercial purposes.

Beyond Zero Emissions has been working for several years on a major research project to look at reducing greenhouse emissions from the Land Use sector — agriculture and forestry. The result, released this week, is the Zero Carbon Australia Land Use Report.

The report shows a surprisingly high emissions profile for the Land Use sector, a sector that will be most impacted by climate change. But well-understood and already widely practiced strategies can move the sector a long distance towards the goal of zero emissions, helping to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

The research proceeded from an initial investigation into where emissions in the sector come from, and at what magnitude. It turns out that various activities on the land including farming, forestry, and land-clearing, account for a huge proportion of our national emissions. This is masked in our national accounts, which splits the sector and offsets its emissions against reductions from revegetation of land.

By including all emissions from farming and land-clearing for agriculture, we derived a figure of 33 per cent of Australia’s annual emissions coming from land use practices.

The largest contributor was land clearing and re-clearing, followed by enteric fermentation (the production of methane by ruminant animals’ digestive systems, mainly cattle and sheep).

The report also found that carbon stocks in native forests are systematically underestimated by a factor of up to four or five, so that the climate impact of native forest logging is much higher than previously thought. If the report had been able to include an adequate appraisal of emissions from clearfell logging, total land use emissions would be higher still.

Native forest logging at Toolangi in Victoria's central highlands. From

Growing a better climate for farmers

A new discussion paper released today by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) shows how Australian farmers and foresters, two groups most vulnerable to climate change, can shift from having a negative to a positive impact on climate change.

“Zero Carbon Australia Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry” a joint project between BZE and The University of Melbourne's Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute provides a way for Australian farmers to reduce carbon pollution, and bring young people back to regional centres with new employment opportunities.

“Changing land use practices will slash carbon pollution and can provide an alternative income stream for farmers” said Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave.  

"The frequency and severity of the extreme weather we used to see were nothing compared to what we've seen in the past decade,” said John Pettigrew, former director of SPC Ltd. and current President of the Goulburn Valley Environment Group.

"Our farmers, given time, can adapt to changing conditions. We can reduce carbon emissions on-farm, move towards sustainable farming systems and even play a major role in producing renewable energy for our urban centres," said Mr Pettigrew.

The land use sector is one of the highest carbon polluting sectors of Australia’s economy - emissions may even be as high as 54% of total national emissions.

“Making changes to land management practices and technologies such as savannah burning, clearfell logging and land clearing for agriculture can turn that around,” said report researcher Andrew Longmire.

“Carbon storage in Australian native forests is underestimated by a factor of up to four or five, meaning that logging is having a much higher impact on the climate than previously recognised. Research has shown the native forests of south-east Australia can sequester 7,500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide if left to recover from clearfell logging.  That’s equivalent to more than 10 years of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions” said Mr Bygrave.

“As the country braces for worsening drought and bushfires this summer, BZE is reaching out to farmers and other landholders to tackle climate change in a way that maximises the productivity and the health of their land, and breathes life back into their communities” said Mr Bygrave.

“Zero Carbon Australia Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry” is available on our website at:  High resolution images from the report can be downloaded at:

John Pettigrew and Stephen Bygrave are available for interview.

Media contact:

Genevieve Wauchope     0431 465 952

Paul McIntosh, Sustainable Dorset


Paul McIntosh, Sustainability Manager of Dorset Agenda 21 (da21) - an independent charity - works cooperatively with local people, communities, businesses, educational bodies, local government and other organisations to encourage sustainable living in Dorset, UK.

Sustainable Dorset, the website of Dorset Agenda 21, aims to promote the amazing work of organisations in Dorset working on sustainability issues, to provide resources such as funding information for groups themselves, and to be a common point of reference for those working in this field. Paul sees his role as an 'enabler' of projects ranging from community funded renewables such as tidal, solar PV, and biogas, to community carsharing, transition towns, organic gardening and more. Paul also oversees a project called Dorset Energized which is about connecting home owners with renewable energy.

They use the Brundtland definition of sustainable development : "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Andrew Longmire talks ZCA Land Use Plan


Andrew Longmire, researcher for BZE's Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Land Use Plan, provides the latest updates on this project. The Land Use Plan is undergoing peer review and comment, and is sheduled for release towards the end of 2013.

Then Beyond Zero's Vivien and Beth talk to Walter Jehne from Healthy Soils Australia (HSA), a public not for profit company with a national outlook, and an inclusive focus to build a network of awareness about healthy soil. Walter Jehne is a former CSIRO soil scientist and is now Director at Healthy Soils Australia, working with groups of innovative farmers, and the former Governor General Michael Jeffery to make farming more profitable and more sustainable.

Arabella Forge, a Melbourne based nutritionist and author talks about her book 'Frugavore: How to grow your own, buy local, waste nothing and eat well'. Arabella believes ‘anyone can be a frugavore,’ and it’s all the little things that we do in our lives that can have the greatest impact. By simply changing our mentality of how we purchase food, dispose of waste, and grow some of our own, a lot can be achieved from our own back doorsteps.

Fire, forest management and the Sustainable Living Festival


Dr. Chris Taylor, at the University of Melbourne, talks about fire and forest management. Then we talk to Luke Taylor, Director of the Sustainable Living Festival in Victoria and Liz Franzmann who is organising the Jason Roberts Better Block - Australian regional tour as part of the festival.

Climate Change and Australian Wildlife

Animal Planet - How Climate Change and Urbanisation are Affecting Australian Wildlife

Beyond Zero talks to experts from around the country about what is happening to Australia's native flora and fauna amidst rapid climate change and urbanisation.

Over the hour we delve into the forecast for 2030 in which Australian is hotter by more than a  degree. In such a world, the Mountain pygmy possum may cease to exist, due to the melting on Victoria’s Alps. Spotted Marsh Frog populations will rapidly decline from urbanisation and less rainfall, and we may have to prepare for the arrival of bats in our own backyards or the botanical gardens.

With such predictions in play we turn to the experts for help.

Beyond Zero's Sally Wilmott interviews Kate Philips, Senior Curator of Science Communication at the Melbourne Museum, PHD researcher Joab Wilson from the ARC Centre of Excellence for
Environmental Decisions and Michael Dunlop from the CSIRO. Beth Shepard then talks to Michael Kearney, Zoology academic at the University of Melbourne.

BZE interview Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop on climate change, deforestation and land use

Beyond Zero's Scott Bilby and Andrew Longmire speak to Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop, from Queensland's Department of the Environment, on the relationship between climate change, deforestation and land use. This interview was originally aired in November 2011.

For a recent update with Gerard on the ZCA Land Use Plan, listen to the podcast from 3CR program Freedom of Species. This interview originally aired on 7 October 2012. We would like to thank interviewer Kate Gracey from Freedom of Species and 3CR Community Radio for allowing us to reproduce their original content.

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