The Powerhouse has released the 50th episode of 100 Climate Conversations. Launching in March 2022, the program showcases 100 visionary Australians taking effective action to respond to the most critical issue of our time, the climate crisis.
Episode 50 features Rowan Foley, CEO of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation, in conversation with journalist Rachael Hocking on the organisation’s world-leading carbon farming projects, cultural burning and ranger training programs.
Using a savanna burning methodology, Foley shares how cultural burning early in the season prevents both catastrophic fires and their associated carbon emissions while generating income for communities.
Foley advocates for putting First Nations solutions and communities front and centre of climate solutions, powerfully stating that “…54% of Australia has either Indigenous rights or interests, traditional owners are the majority landholder in Australia. If you want to achieve climate outcomes or biodiversity outcomes, you need to be working with traditional owners.”
In the first 50 conversations, many amazing insights have been shared from climate leaders coming from diverse sectors and walks of life. Some favourite wisdoms shared include:
“Seaweed is definitely, I think, going to be part of the solution for Australia and globally, because like we’re talking about a habitat that dominates 25 per cent of the planet’s coastlines right? … We’ve definitely not been utilising them to the best ability.”Adriana Vergés
“We’ve been given this opportunity to create a future, not just for you and me, for our children and our grandchildren and the whole planet. If Australia get[s] it right, we’ll be the first country on the planet to have 100 per cent renewables by 2035, agriculture being carbon neutral by about the same timeframe.”Charlie Pell
“It is going to be a revolution. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, I’m pretty sure I won’t see it, but it’ll be a joyous revolution. And if we do this properly and if we can swallow pride enough to look at the way the old Aboriginal people organised society, we’re in for an incredibly wonderful philosophical ride because looking back at how the old people did it, I’m just in awe of the intelligence, I’m in awe of the spirit, to conceive of a society where everyone would get fed, everyone would have a house, and when old everyone would be looked after and at night everyone would dance together.”Bruce Pascoe
“It’s a bit of a taboo to talk about emotional things in the scientific realm. But I think that also shuts off a very important conversation for the public who aren’t just concerned about numbers on a graph.”Joelle Gergis
“We need to get away from the alarms and warnings and we need to start getting out there and managing our land properly, just like Aboriginal people have done. And that is a healing phase. And that healing phase for us is going to be a long time, and that’s going to be going on for generations, for hundreds of years from now.”Victor Steffensen
“Thirty per cent of food waste comes from our homes, which means each and every one of us can actually become a climate activist. You know, we think of what it’s going to take to shift the issue of climate. We think, oh, we must get an electric vehicle, we must have solar panels, but not everybody can do that. But every single one of us can minimise our food waste in our homes if we understand and know why we need to do this.”Ronni Kahn
“It’s estimated that something like 60 or 70 per cent of the material components that we need, and of our food, of course, could be made using synthetic biology. Using more sustainable processes, emitting less greenhouse gases, using less land, and using less water than classical petrochemical processes.”Claudia Vickers
It’s been wonderful to see audience participation around the program both online and at each conversation with many returning attendees. The whole back catalogue of conversations can be listened to in the podcast feed or the program website https://100climateconversations.com/.
With many more conversations to go, we invite the public to join us every Friday morning and select afternoons. Over the next few weeks we welcome psychologist Susie Burke, coral biologist Madeline van Oppen and Environmental Defenders Office’s Matt Floro to the stage. Future conversations can be booked here.
Upon completion of the series, each conversation becomes part of the iconic Powerhouse collection of 500 000 objects that tell the stories of our time.
Guest post by Catherine Polcz and Brianna Barwise, producers of the 100 Climate Conversation series at the Powerhouse Ultimo.