Friday, March 11th, 2011 | Author:

I think Australia’s first issue is that farmers tried to “command and control” the environment. Australia’s soil has low fertility, therefore to get any productivity out of it, the farmers had to command and control it by adding lots of inputs. However, it’s not like the people really had any choice…they needed food, therefore they farmed. However, over the centuries since farming started in Australia, clearly the soil and the environment has been degraded to a tipping point. It seems like all of their problems have culminated up to this pinnacle time of record droughts, climate change, and environmental degradation (due to farming).

I think the best solution would be to stop trying to control the environment, and start working with it. Since Australia’s soils and climate are not optimal for farming, trying to control the land does not work nearly as well as it does in, say, the U.S. (I’m not saying that command/control is good or sustainable, I’m just saying that it works better in the U.S than in Australia). One way (and I think possibly the best way) to start working with the environment would be to switch to new high-value crops that don’t need water. (One of the solutions that we discussed in class). I think this would be effective because it works well with Australia’s climate (hot and dry), and can be grown in less fertile soils. Some of the crops that were mentioned in class were wine and nuts, and in addition, having kangaroo farms.

Lastly, I think the soils in Australia that have already been devastated completely by salinization (I think in class Dr.S said it was about 10% of the soils with the potential to reach 25%) should be left alone. Possibly the Australian government could even make those areas National Parks, or just protected areas, to ensure that they have a chance the recover (even if it does take 500 years, it will be helpful in the long run!)

Also, this article is a good read!

-Kristen Callahan

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  1. Kristen Callahan says:

    It seems like after world war II, the farmers were lured into the dry land and created a booming economy. I suppose it didn’t make sense for the farmers to just up-and-leave everything they had and had ever known just because the soil was becoming less fertile and the droughts were getting worse.

  2. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    I like that ‘circle of blue’ website. What do you think of some of those ideas? Some of the background responds to some of your comments.

  3. Kristen Callahan says:

    I know, right? Maybe that’s all they new how to farm.

  4. johnlilly says:

    High value crops that don’t require much water seem like a great solution. I wonder why they ever even began cultivating water thirsty crops in such a climate in the first place.