National Farmers Federation and farmers challenge the government to put a flag on the hill on Climate Change

This week the National Farmers Federation put a flag on the hill and made a Climate Change statement 

One of the country’s most conservative industry organisations, the National Farmers Federation, has called for Australia to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, which sets a more ambitious climate change agenda than the Morrison government.

“Overwhelmingly our members support an aspiration for an economy wide commitment to net zero emissions by 2050,” said National Farmers Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson, who represents a membership comprised of industry and state agriculture groups with grassroots farmer membership. Source

Its been a long time coming and kudos to Fiona Simson having tackled that challenge at NSW Farmers a number of years before she must have been pulling her hair out with frustration that it took so long to get a national statment over the line.

That just leaves the federal government living in the dark ages.

At Picture You in Agriculture we use the concept of the Sustainability Circle model ( see footnote) to demonstrate to young people in schools the range of issues that must be balanced and managed by farmers and agricultural professionals when producing food, fibre and energy.

TAP Sustainability Circle

We invite them to be farmers and tell us what they would prioritise

Sustainability Circle Question

We collect, track, and analyse the data to understand patterns and trends and make forecasts about what the community is thinking, feeling, talking about and will act on. We measure to detect what is broken and refine interventions. We experiment to learn what works.

 

For this question wee know what young people choose – I wonder what farmers would pick

Join farmers everywhere in telling the Prime Minister we need an Australia-wide net zero by 2050 target. Sign the petition here 

Footnote 

Why farmers farm the way they do may be more complex than it first looks.

Producing affordable, safe and nutritious food means famers must balance production challenges with community expectations while maintaining a profit margin that can sustain their business.

Commonly when sustainability is mentioned, it is environment considerations that are at front of mind. While farmers and the agricultural professionals who support them are highly aware of their responsibilities to manage natural resource under their care, other issues must also be considered.

Sometimes, different community members and groups only focus on only one aspect that they see as important to them. This can leave farmers to meet a combination of unachievable and competing community expectations and regulatory requirements.

The Sustainability Circle highlights this diverse range of issues that must be considered, balanced and managed by farmers and agricultural professionals when producing food, fibre and energy.

The Sustainability Circle is divided into seven sections which are in no particular order and their importance will change depending on the decision under consideration.

Is agriculture showing farmers enough respect?

If you ask young people in Australia between the ages of 11 and 18 to self rate their eco-literacy you will get results similar to below.  20709_EcoLiteracy_PPT_Slides2

On the other hand, a recent request to farmers from the council of agricultural research and development corporations read like below. It would appear the organisations who do research in agriculture on behalf of farmers are still tip toeing around the term Climate Change when they talk to farmers.

Leadership is Language – Please can we start by normalising the term

Invitation to be involved in an RDC Climate Initiative co-design workshop
I’m writing to seek your assistance to help co-design a significant new initiative from the Rural RDCs.
The 15 RDC’s have committed to take a long-term view to investing in research that will drive transformation of Australia’s primary industries to grow their productivity in the face of an increasingly variable climate.
We believe that Australia’s primary producers can and do lead the world in sustainable, resilient production systems adapted to significant climate variability. We believe the active management of resources through productive agriculture, fisheries and forestry offer the greatest opportunity to have a positive impact on our environment while also supporting prosperous lives and lifestyles for our primary producers and our communities.
The new RDC Climate Initiative will drive growth, build resilience and foster thriving agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries, regardless of pressures from a changing climate. It will support a successful agriculture sector and enable it to surpass NFF’s vision of farmgate output exceeding $100 billion by 2030.
Through the initiative, the RDCs are creating a durable investment platform to address climate research in ways that only become available by working together. The investments and pathways to change need to be designed by and for our primary producers, tailored to match their unique circumstances, challenges and opportunities.
We are driving the development of this initiative hard and moving fast. Our plan is to present an investment blueprint to the Council of Rural RDCs for endorsement when it meets in September.
From next Wednesday we are holding six co-design workshops to focus on critical assumptions and opportunities in the quest to find the best ideas for transformative changes that are the most desirable, the most technically feasible, most economically viable, and the most attractive for investment by the RDCs, governments and the private sector. We would love to have you and or some of your members involved. Feel free to circulate this message or complete this form to register your interest in participating. We’ll follow up with an email in coming days to let you know which workshop you’ve been allocated to.
The two-hour workshops are being held online and represent your opportunity to have input into the design of this exciting program. The number of participants in each workshop will be limited. We apologise for the short notice and in advance in the event we are unable to accommodate you in a workshop.
If you would like more information about the Initiative or the workshops please don’t hesitate to contact ……….
As FutureEye remind us on the website – all leading businesses are expected to have a climate change strategy – yet agriculture is still getting the message from government and our industry bodies we cant even use the term.
Annotation 2020-08-11 005712

Time for leadership language from both government and our industry bodies. Time to turn knowledge into action.

Kownledge into action

and to assure the world the forward thinking farmers embraced the term early here is a great story on an innovative farmer and Goterra founder Olympia Yarger who says “Climate change technology will boost the economy post-COVID-19, and startups can deliver it” 

 

Why is the doing what we have always done mindset so difficult to change.

Today I would like to share with you this impressive article from Steve Spencer of Fresh Agenda.

The article looks at the challenge of changing attitudes towards action (or inaction) on climate change. According to the article findings from recently published PCCCS report  aren’t very complimentary to climate change scientists – pushing their arguments and beliefs in the form of charts, data and weighty studies but generally missing the mark and lacking traction. 

The PCCCS says the major barrier to influencing change is not about the quality of the scientific data or the compelling no-brainer facts, but that many people denying or resisting their arguments simply have a different world view, and often different political values.

This is not the first time this has been said and to their credit the smart people in the scientific community widely acknowledge they are part of the problem. But (and please correct me if I am wrong) we don’t seem to be getting much traction in moving away from the squiggly diagrams loaded science and moving towards a community based we are all in this together mindset and giving the community ownership of the mantra

What’s good for the planet is good for us. 

climate change cartoons_better world

This is the image that bought it all into perspective for me   

This is what Steve has to say

Engage for change

The recent release of a paper by a bunch of British academics into the challenge of changing attitudes towards action (or inaction) on climate change has some interesting and sobering suggestions for communities pushing change agendas in food and agriculture.

The report by the Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science (PCCCS) was published in May this year by the University College, London.  The findings aren’t very complimentary to climate change scientists – pushing their arguments and beliefs in the form of charts, data and weighty studies but generally missing the mark and lacking traction. 

The PCCCS says this is because they are often ill prepared to engage with the emotionally, politically and ideologically-charged public debate on the issues, and the use of their science.  The major barrier to influencing change is not about the quality of the scientific data or the compelling no-brainer facts, but that many people denying or resisting their arguments simply have a different world view, and often different political values.

The PCCCS recommends the scientific community needs to take a totally fresh approach and equip themselves with a new suite of skills. It should band together through a professional body, get training in effective communication and seek better engagement with the community and policymakers.  It also says they should stop resorting to alarmist, world-destructive consequences of inaction.

This is not just about the climate. 

The suggestions are highly relevant in a wider context, where researchers try to “push” change through methods they believe are best.

The challenges ahead in sustaining the world in nutritious food will continue to run into many fights that challenge ideology. And they will continue to be tackled by armies of passionate people trying to sway with swathes of facts or sponsored evidence.

When trying to enlist the farmers into the adoption of business improvement programs, don’t drown them in data and glossy paper.  Finding out what will engage people. Unlocking an appetite for change should be the highest priority in landing an effective message, rather than investing in better ways to present facts and package more compelling data.  Investments in benchmarking for the sake of it run headlong into this risk area.

The same applies to arguments on the either side of debates about food production from the use of GMOs to organic methods, and even through to the evils of certain nutrients and ingredients in food processing.

People hold beliefs because of who they are, what their social value set defines in them – but not what they read or don’t read.

Steve also has some interesting thoughts on the recent PETA ‘expose’ into very isolated shearing practices in the wool industry. See Are we buying the PETA yarn?