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Kachana News

Kachana News/Views, Ash Wednesday 2009

An appropriate day to take stock: “ from ashes to ashes, from dust to dust…”
See Genesis 3:19

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Dear Friends,

We hope 2009 is treating you and your loved ones well.

Standing back

World-wide 2009 has the makings of being a most interesting year. It seems to me that even ‘those so blind who will not see’ are beginning to notice the harvest of seeds sown in recent decades:

To what degree people are able/willing to connect the dots and see how interrelated all these issues are is anybody’s guess.

The above may sound negative, but that is not at all my intention.
“Death” is not negative; it is a fact of life… as is “birth” and “ new growth”.
(“Growth in old age” or “perpetual growth” that is another matter… Now there is an experiment that is attracting a disproportionate amount of attention and funds!)
Here on Kachana we prefer to watch Nature for clues; she has been at work for longer than paper currencies and modern political life-cycles.

In Nature things are born, they grow and develop and when their time comes they die. When nature fells a large tree, it does not replace it with another tree of the same size.
Poor health or old age eventually set in: parasites invade, branches fall off and limbs are hollowed out, roots die, parasites take over and rot sets in… eventually there comes a time where more energy is used up than the tree can harvest through leaves and roots. It is a slow but (in the case of an old tree) often a magnificent death. In most cases the tree is more dead than it is alive long before it falls over. Generations of insects, spiders, small reptiles and rodents call it home. It is a thing of beauty and majesty standing out in the landscape; we may even wish to keep it there…
Then all of a sudden it is blown over or collapses.
A gaping void is left where once a giant stood.
But not for long if Nature has her way.
Nature tends to replace a large tree with a multitude of saplings of different kinds.
Eventually there may once again be a large tree standing on that same spot; the chances are it will be a different type of tree altogether. Where ancient Rome once stood there stands a Rome today, but it is a very different Rome to the one 2000 years ago… even empires come, grow and go…
As with a falling tree, so with a disintegrating empire… Watch out where you stand!

Being involved in choosing and then nurturing saplings has its challenges, but it is exciting and it keeps us on our toes.

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In our region

When we moved to the Kimberley in 1985 we were told that development of Stage Two of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme was about to be commenced. Well it seems 2009 may be the year… We will find out.  -  Here in the Kimberley we have more, fresh, clean water available per capita than anywhere else on the planet. It is our primary reason for being here…
As I write the notorious Cane Toad (on a Permanent Resident Visa from Hawaii) is now only about seven kilometers East of the Western Australia / Northern Territory Border and steadily heading bearing down on us. It began its migration across Australia from the sugar cane fields of Queensland. Our ideas on the subject are posted for all to see.

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On Kachana

2008 was a good year with the exception of a fire lit by FESA on the property to our East. FESA did not do its homework and two days later the fire was burning on Kachana and apart from wasting our time and resources, much biodiversity and about 40% of our feed for the winter months went up in flames. To add insult to injury no assistance was given to us to contain the fire. Such are some of the challenges when building biodiversity in a remote area. Still we love the place and Kachana is home. Each year our model areas improve despite the challenges – we find that encouraging.
With already two financially independent children and the third now in high school, Kachana has served the first part of its originally intended purpose: a place for children to grow up in a family environment where they have an opportunity to become self-reliant. Sure, not everything went according to plan and as always we could have done things better. Well our challenge is not over yet so we can continue to learn.
This year Jacqueline, Kristina and I embark on a mini-sabbatical: three months in Europe. Meanwhile Rebecca will hold the fort for us; Bob is there behind the scenes to help out if the need arises. The Waser family (although town-based) remains the emotional backstop it has always been. We are most thankful for the people who support our efforts. 2008 saw a few more join in.  “Thanks!!!” From all the team.

Whilst the  Kachana Vision remains, our activities in coming years will adapt to accommodate the growing demand for addressing environmental challenges at community levels. With close to twenty years of locally tested solutions to local environmental challenges and with affiliations to an international network of effective land managers Kachana Pastoral Company is in a strong position to advise on making more effective the expenditure of public funds directed towards issues like:

Such challenges are very similar on many parts of the planet.
From droughts and floods associated with the regular savanna burning that takes place in Africa and Northern Australia to the forest fires in USA and Southern Australia that saw the horrific devastation of lives, homes and biodiversity we have a case in point:
“There is a need for sound natural resource management policies – and not just simply safety policies.”(Allan Savory Feb 2009)

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The Kachana website

We have only two recent updates:
Report on our study tour to Kenya. (Find out more about the study-tour of a lifetime.)
A short summary of animal impact (a power tool) (So simple, so effective, so complex…)

Whilst politicians and powerbrokers continue to debate carbon-trading schemes and carbon-taxes we saw no need to update our 2007 comment on the distraction of global warming. Here however is the short version:
It seems that the political fraud in the current 'carbon debate' is largely being missed.
Arguably the real threat is ‘Weird Weather’. Our modern way of life is directly related to destabilised climatic patterns. We do this through negligent soil surface management and by impacting the biodiversity in our oceans.
We find ourselves hurtling along a bumpy road we have never been on before.
Carbon readings and thermometer readings in our atmosphere are like looking at the speedometer.
What our politicians (and political scientists) seem to be doing is to try and change the instrument-readings on the dash-board without taking the foot off the accelerator. - There is a lot of money to be made in that and people smarter than prevailing politicians seem to be catching on fast.
Conclusion: Abandon the ride and walk back. Under the circumstances it seems the most sensible thing to do.

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Recommended reading and viewing

People who feel strongly about restarting national economies need to view this presentation on youtube: Arithmetic Population and Energy by Dr Albert Bartlett

For those who did not see the financial crisis coming: http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/187.html  (Have a laugh!)

For those who wish to mitigate the impacts of an ecological crisis:
http://soilcarboncoalition.org/contest (Join in the ‘World Carbon Cup’!)
(Enter in and/or sponsor this event if you wish; but in particular I draw attention to the three mini-videos towards the bottom of that page.)

For people who love the land and who are willing to look reality in the eye:
“Everything I want to do is illegal” by Joel Salatin http://www.polyfacefarms.com/books.aspx (Laugh while you want to cry…)

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On this note I wish you all a productive season; one that would make our ancestors feel proud of our achievements!

Chris H.

Other Kachana News/Views