Waste, Land, Climate Changes

Waste movers:

South Australians have done what is the environmental equivalent of taking more than 300,000 passenger cars off the road, or planting 2 million trees and set a new record for recycling, diverting almost 80% of waste from landfill in the past financial year. Source: The Adelaide Advertiser 26 June 2012.

A printer cartridge in a landfill will take between 450–1,000 years to decompose, and creating the plastic for one laser toner cartridge uses 3 litres of oil. In 2012, in Australia an estimated 5 million litres of oil could be saved annually by using remanufactured printer cartridges. The claim is 450 million toner cartridges and 1.5 billion ink cartridges are expected to be used and thrown into landfill this year

Aluminum is almost endlessly recyclable – it saves 95% of the energy it would take to make new metal – nearly three-quarters of all aluminum ever made since 1886 remains in use today.

The Land Changes

Small family-owned and managed farms are struggling for survival in the face of corporate and large-scale agriculture – research released by the Australian Farm Institute (AFI) found that in Victoria last year, only 28% of family farms were of sufficient scale and profitability to earn enough income to support the families owning them – more than one-third of all family farms relied on adults living on the farm to earn wages elsewhere – another 39% of farmers earned so little from trying to grow and produce food that their family income was below the median of all Australian households. Source: SmartCompany 26 June 2012.

Farms with under $100,000 of sales a year tend to have in excess of 95% of their net income from off-farm wages – there is a “strong disconnect” between the public perception of where food comes from and the reality, with 20% of farmers producing almost 80% of total production – the AFI says that while the major retailers and food producers advertise their connection with the average Joe farmer, a bloke on a tractor with his hat on, that’s not the reality – the reality now is much larger-scale farm businesses.

A recent national Landcare survey found that 93% of the landholders surveyed practiced Landcare on their farms, and 73% said that they feel they are part of Landcare – 61% said that Landcare plays an important role in building social capacity in their local community – 95% of farmers indicated that Landcare has not ‘had its day’ yet – 79% believe the movement needs to evolve to meet the challenges of the future – and 80% see the movement as having a major role in responding to national challenges such as food security, environment and climate adaptation. Landcare 09 August 2012.

The US is the biggest producer of corn, soybeans and wheat in the world – the first 7 months of the year have been the hottest on record and the country is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years – a poor harvest will mean global prices will rise and global stockpiles will be depleted – whereas Australian farmers envision a good season and bumper crops. Source: SunHerald 12 August 2012.

Climate Change

The Arctic’s glaciers, including those of Greenland’s vast ice caps, are retreating – the Greenland ice sheet has recently shed around 200 gigatonnes of ice a year- this is a 4 –fold increase on a decade ago -– the area covered by snow in June was roughly a fifth less than in the 1960s – the land is also thawing and the permafrost is shrinking – alien plants, birds, fish and animals are creeping north. Source: The Economist 16 June 2012.

The Arctic is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the planet – as the ice melts it is replaced by dark melt-water pools which attract more solar heat – this causes local warming – more melting and more solar heat gain. Source: The Economist 16 June 2012.

Thank you to Garry Reynolds DAFF NRM Co-ordinator.