GRASSROOTS INPUT TO ENVIRONMENTAL DEBATES
Sustaining Natural Resources in the Kimberley
Community Feedback Form
Over the next 12 months, everyone in the Kimberley will have the opportunity to have input into the development of a Kimberley Natural Resource Management Strategy. The Strategy will provide the basis for funding through the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and other sources.
The first phase in the development of the plan is to identify what it is that we want to protect in the Kimberley. What threatens what we value? What do we want the region to look like in 50 years?
This feedback form provides the opportunity for everyone to have a say in managing natural resources in the Kimberley.
Your vision for the Kimberley
What do you value in the Kimberley? What would you like to protect?
(e.g. Safe and enjoyable drinking water, native plant and animal species diversity, productive pastures)
- We value the opportunity to access resources that have not been contaminated by toxic chemicals, radiation or genetic manipulation.
- We value the abundance of clean water.
- We would like to enhance and protect such opportunity for future generations.
- We would like to put to better use our abundant supply of clean water by enhancing both the health and the over-all productivity of the broader landscapes in this region.
- In a vibrant and productive setting we would like to develop, maintain and protect a “clean, green and safe” image.
- We would do this with a focus on gaining and then exporting ‘sound landscape management knowledge’ and ‘sustainable production knowledge’ rather than a focus on exporting natural resources.
What are the possible threats that either do or could impact of what you value? (e.g. Cane toads, introduced weeds, wind erosion, over fishing)
We view all threats to our values and therefore to the way of life as we would have it in the Kimberley to be primarily of social origin:
- The natural environments (therefore also the productivity) of this region are in effect a product of human actions over time. At this point in time the bulk of Kimberley landscapes could arguably be called ‘unmanaged’. The rate at which both soil and biodiversity (and with these productivity and opportunity) have been lost over recent years would seem to support this notion. At present our monitoring seems to indicate that the net decline of our natural resources persists.
- We sense a general lack of community awareness of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that go hand in hand with a region that harbours such vast and unmanaged resources; an area that historically had become addicted to human “management” inputs. As a community we therefore seem to lack an understanding of the level of social responsibility that goes with the custodianship of such resources. Crucial questions pertaining to our future therefore are not being asked. This needs to change before we can hope to formulate responses and initiate action to effectively address “threats” like: cane toads, salinity, unstable water-tables, “weeds”, feral animals, flooding, etc.
What do you want the region to look like in 50 years time? (e.g. Sustainable agriculture, healthy rivers, feral animals under control)
- We would like to see ecological stability and with it social stability.
- We would like to see responsible stewardship of our natural and human resources and an increase in the productive capacity of our broader landscapes
- We would like to see a deprogramming of racial tensions (even if this means challenging the wisdom behind some existing state and federal legislation, or court rulings)
- Minimal bureaucracy and operational interference at operational levels when it comes to restoring health to our natural environments
- The public support and willingness to fund the type of monitoring required to gather and disseminate practical management information
- The public support and willingness to fund necessary restoration and subsequent management of natural resources
- The public support and willingness to fund the surveillance of progress
- Effective management in upper-river rainfall-catchment areas so that these will stabilise, heal and regenerate and support healthy perennial river-systems that support aquatic life and biodiversity
- The management of extensive production sites so that natural soil-building and purification processes are functioning at high levels of effectiveness
- The decontamination and then safe use of intensive primary- production sites
- Local manufacturing and processing of locally extracted minerals
- A net creation and sharing of wealth rather than an net export of wealth through fire, erosion, mining and export of natural capital
- Safe and efficient sorting, recycling and binding of waste-materials that result from urbanised living habits
- Equitable trading practices (import & export of ideas, services and products) to maintain the inherent wealth and productive potential of the region
How do you think this could be achieved? What actions need to be taken for this to be achieved? (eg. Recovery plans to be developed for all endangered species)
- Promote basic levels of Environmental Literacy throughout the community.
- Promote higher levels of Environmental Literacy at leadership levels.
- Expose those at leadership levels and those who influence policy to a direct contact with the very resources that are the subject matter of their influence (This sort of reality-check would need to occur before such positions are occupied and it would need to be repeated on a regular basis while such responsibilities are being held.)
- Then define desirable out-comes
- Define clear parameters and monitoring mechanisms
- Design specific criteria for accountability for the results of management outcomes in cases where landscape management is conducted by private, public, government or non-government organisations
- Create incentives for innovation that delivers measurable beneficial outcomes (400% to 600% tradable tax-deductions)
- Reward desired results
- Impose progressively higher taxation on undesirable, un-safe, unsustainable practices
- Use funds derived from such taxation to reward desired results and to support producer driven research (this needs to compliment current predominantly consumer driven research)
- Secure the payments of a ‘bond’ (which would allow for restoration) in cases where land-use practices may be associated with a risk of abuse or negligence
Other comments and ideas
Kachana Pastoral Company has in the past tabled comments on ecological issues; these can be viewed here.
In the face of the many challenges we will hand on to those who come after us, it is worth noting that a large number of these result directly from human failings and ignorance in the distant past, in the more recent past and in present times. Poor to fundamentally flawed policies, legislation and court rulings have now all but denied us a vision of what this region could still offer. We therefore welcome the notion of community input to issues as important as NRM. We hope that the result will be an ongoing commitment to learning to deal with the complex and dynamic challenges that face us rather than a political document that bears no recognition of, or respect for natural law and the processes that are fundamental to supporting life on this planet.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment!