For all the horror of the pandemic, COVID-19 has shifted people’s thinking.
Most of us have used the lockdowns and the change to reflect on, ‘how we are living our lives’ and ‘how we want to live our lives’. Or as we describe below, ‘what we want our lives to be about.’
Environmentalist and educator Brian Wehlburg tells www.theBEATS.org that there is no more pragmatic group asking themselves these questions than Australia’s farmers – both the young and seasoned.
The relationship between input and output became very clear when Brian asked a group of Young Farmers Connect members recently at a workshop in the Northern Rivers to ask ‘Why’ when explaining their ‘vision’.
‘Why do you want a shed full of tractors?’ ‘Because I want to be productive.’ ‘Why?’ ‘For financial security.’ ‘Why do you want that?’ ‘For a happy life.’
And as they all delved deeper into the elements of a ‘happy life’, most young farmers describe it as ‘being secure, financially and physically’. ‘Being healthy with a healthy connection to their community and the environment’. And most tellingly, being in a ‘loving relationship’.
So, the kind of environment they (and I reckon most of us) want for a good life, is a healthy bank balance, physical health, a healthy relationship with our communities, our significant others, and the environment.
Our food producers, young and old, see the connection between the environment (how they are living their lives) and a good life, that is how they want to live and what they want their lives to be about.
Each day they see these connections. Brian says, they report how they feel when they see that first green spear of grass after the drought. They understand how such things create moods and feelings, drive energy, desires, and behaviours.
It is in moments like these that the farming cohort, according to Brian, understand that the quality of life is much more than a unit of production. That the kind of environment they want for a ‘good life’, has shifted from securing the immediate dollar to one of generational sustainability.
“Not one of those young farmers woke up in the morning wanting to wreck a bit of their farms!” said Brian. We reckon the CoVid-19 pandemic has given the rest of us a taste of a similar understanding.
“Dealing with this hugely complex thing, we have to constantly monitor it. We know that now.”
Whether it’s the virus, the farm and its soil health, or the oil in the tractor, they all need constant monitoring and only work when cared for.
We have that power to combine science and care, to use our heads and our hearts.
We also have the power to destroy. The human species in fact is the biggest destroyer of our environment. In Australia that is 84% of our species.
The reality is that the numbers are shifting towards those who do not want to go back to that dark world. Those who trust both science and ancient knowledge systems of how best to use water and minerals, and simultaneously improve what we have. To look to the next generation and look after and improve what we have been left.
As Brian Wehlburg likes to quote:
“We couldn’t have an orchestra, a government or an army without sunlight shining on a green leaf.”
Read more about the power of regenerative farming at Land-to-Market(our interview with CEO Tony Hill coming up) and read our Carbon Credit Bulga Downs and RegenCo story It’s not the cow, it’s the how and 26 June 2021 AFR story here.