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How Australia can address climate change while restoring nature and culture in communities

How Australia can address climate change while restoring nature and culture in communities

Scientist taking sediment sample in seagrass bed

Australia’s planTo reach net zero emissions by 2050, it is important to use unproven technologies to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere.

We have solutions that restore nature and country. Nature-based solutions can actually deliver. one thirdGlobal emission cuts are promised.

Our new reportThis publication brings together experts from all over Australia and explains how we can achieve this using proven approaches such as:

  • Indigenous-led work on Country

  • Protecting our forests and woodlands from being cleared

  • Restoring ailing ecosystems

  • Facilitating access to carbon markets

  • Mapping ways to work with the natural world rather than using technology to store carbon emissions

Scientist taking sediment sample in seagrass bed

Researcher assessing carbon sequestration rates for a tidal seagrassbed in Williamstown, Victoria.

Here are five great ideas to reduce emissions and benefit communities, the economy, and our natural and cultural heritage.

1. To heal a country that has been damaged, seek out leadership from the Indigenous People

Repeated bushfires in 2019-2020 have caused severe damage. callsto return to Indigenous leadership in managing Country to stop similar disasters.

Indigenous-led cool burning practicesAnd land managementThis will make Country more secure and preserve carbon-storing forests and ecosystems. In national and state governments, indigenous management of Country could be integrated employment, industry and health policy.

Continue reading:
The world’s best fire management system is in northern Australia, and it’s led by Indigenous land managers

This will lead to a greater respect for Indigenous leadership, and a willingness learn from Indigenous relationships. Country.

Programs for Indigenous Ranger Programs have been highly successfulHelping both the country and its people. Expanding these programs into new places – including cities – would build on their success.

This will require changing our perceptions and attitudes toward Country, removing policy obstacles, allowing access to Country, restoring water rights, and increasing investment. If we are able to do this, it will change the nature and impact of our relationship with Country. It will also bring tangible benefits towards national security. carbon, socialAnd biodiversity goals.

Yumbangku Aboriginal Cultural and Tourism Development Aboriginal Corp uses Indigenous management to restore Turraburra in Queensland, a large, drought-affected grazing property.

Turraburra’s measured emissions-reduction projects include Iningai custodians reintroducing cultural fire and restoring sacred rock waterholes and artesian waterways.

Their Country is thriving and life is returning home to its land. These custodians told us that having Country back is healing for the entire community and Country.

A waterhole being restored in central Queensland

Before (L) & after (R), waterhole restoration in Turraburra and Iningai Country, central Queensland.
Suzanne Thompson, YACHATDAC, Author provided

2. Take care of what we have

The best and cheapest way of reducing and storing emissions is to keep the vegetation we have. Australia’s plants – from deserts to forests to ocean – play a vital role.

Australia has committed end deforestation within nine years, but this seems highly optimistic given Australia’s depressing record of land clearing.

Restoration helps pollinator-dependent farming industriesAnd boosts the economy moreInstead of cutting down trees.

Continue reading:
Want to beat climate change? Protect our natural forests

Trees help to keep our local areas warm in this warming climate coolerAnd wetter. Reduced costs for water supply by having a forest in your watershed clean water. The resilience to flooding is also enhanced by intact vegetation storms, and stops soil eroding into rivers.

verdant farm dam with vegetation

After stock exclusion at a farm dam in Yass, NSW, birds and vegetation flourish.
Suzannah Macbeth, Sustainable Farms, Author provided

To stop clearing, stricter environmental laws are essential. 2021: The shocking truth independent review of Australia’s key environment protection law shows it fails to stop habitat loss and proposes a more strategic approach to sustainable development.

We could also expand stewardship programs and landcare programs to include more landowners and regional communities. For example, the Murray Wetland Carbon Storage ProjectThis initiative brought together scientists from all walks of government, landowners, natural resources managers, communities, and scientists to restore wetlands at 41 sites. The work included replanting and fencing, as well controlling pest and weeds.

3. To get to net zero, map pathways to use culture and nature

We need a collective vision for net zero that includes Country, culture, community, and nature as essential methods of cutting and storing carbon emissions. This vision would support action where it’s most needed, and bring policy coherence.

This vision could allow us to restore habitat connections across landscapes and catchments. We could integrate culture- and nature-based emissions reductions into community development. urban infrastructureAdaptation, catchment management strategies.

What would this look like? Consider Sydney’s coastline, where researchers and community members plan to bring a vital seaweed species back to its original range.

This species, crayweed, supports abalone and rock lobster, two of Australia’s most valuable fisheries. The team is currently working on restore crayweed forestsUrbanization and sewage have caused their destruction.

A diver replants crayweed in North Bondi, 2017.
John Turnbull, Flickr, CC BY

4. Measure what you value to show success

We urgently require better accountabilityTo ensureEmissions reduction programs and projects deliver the benefits they promise. Moreover, robust monitoring helps to create premium carbon. products.

Accountability must be culturally acceptable and measure the most important benefits of each project. Indigenous-led workThis demonstrates the importance of cultural, socio- and biodiversity benefits. central.

Non-Indigenous projects must report on the cultural, social, and biodiversity benefits. This would ensure that projects are a benefit to Indigenous peoples, the wider community, as well as the ecosystems we all depend on.

Savanna burning in Northern Australia has been a problem strong success storyfor regenerating culture and country. Indigenous-led approaches have been used to assess benefits successfully attracted fundingBoth government and voluntary markets can be used to sequester carbon.

Conversations on Indigenous groups are being led by indigenous groups extending this successTo other places and ecosystems, as well as through an Indigenous-led scheme for southern forest fire credit schemes.

5. Facilitate access to carbon markets and incentive programs

The current methods used to produce high-quality carbon credit through government emission reduction schemes are complex, expensive, and time-consuming. These methods require specialist expertise to navigate.

These obstacles are a barrier, especially for small organizations, and inequitable for communities with less resources.

If we reduce the administrative burdenEmission reduction could be undertaken by smaller projects. This means that you can offer accessible methods for assessing projects. streamlining permitsInvesting in Indigenous and community-based agencies to provide assistance.

The introduction of new incentive programs to reduce city emissions could be a game changer. green roof retrofitting or the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest FundThis allows property owners and the city to partner to deliver vertical greening, turn carparks into parks, and build community gardens. food-producing rooftop parks.

Salt marsh with fence down the middle

Salt marsh under rehabilitation (L) and pristine(R) in Western Port Bay Victoria.
Dr Melissa Wartman Blue Carbon Lab, Author provided

We could create pathways to a market that is likely to boom if we combine methods of producing carbon credits across catchments and land. Victoria has a team that includes researchers, government, industry and traditional owners. #VicWetlandRehabYou can restore coastal wetlands damaged by fencing or weeding.

To date, this program has restored 130 hectares of saltmarsh in Western Port Bay and Gippsland, home to some of Victoria’s most endangered birds, frogs and plants. The team is currently working with landowners and Traditional Owners in order to map priority areas that can be restored along the entire Victorian coastline.

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