Quote of the Moment:

“I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.”

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Kachana News

January 2005 News

In times where good drinking water is becoming dearer than fossil fuel and where…

… In these interesting times a financial newsletter reports:
“... Last month, the U.S. trade deficit widened to a new record - $60.3 billion. ...Every day that goes by makes us $2 billion poorer.”

Bringing the bigger picture home in more simple terms it explains:

“One town sells meat. Another sells bread. Trading with each other, the meat eaters in one town buy more meat than they sell bread to the other town. The meat eaters (bread makers) run a trade deficit. The meat producers run a surplus. In order to continue eating as much meat as they want, the meat eaters borrow money from the meat producers. The meat eaters mortgage their houses and bread ovens in order to continue consuming meat. Each day that goes by, the meat sellers gain a larger claim on the bread makers' property. It seems simple enough - the meat producers get richer; the meat consumers get poorer.

“But wait, what if the meat eaters' houses go up in price? What if their shrewd central bankers lower the price of credit in order to keep them buying...and triggers a property boom? What if the free-spending ways of the meat eaters make their economy seem irresistibly dynamic? What if the meat producers can hardly wait to invest in it?

“How do these additional circumstances change things? Not at all! They just make the essential nature of the transaction harder to see: one group spends more than it makes. The other takes the money and buys up productive assets. The bread makers are made no richer when foreigners buy their ovens! They are no richer when foreigners own their houses. Nor are they made richer when the nominal value of their houses goes up; the house itself still gives exactly the same service.

“The bread makers may think they are getting richer. But they, like millions of Americans and a few popular economists, are hallucinating.” (For those interested, please find the full details of the Daily Reckoning News-Letter here)

Meanwhile on our particular spot on this planet we continue to hallucinate in our own way:

We believe economics has much to do with balancing energy requirements:

With a total 367 mm to date, this ‘Wet Season’ has been very kind to us until now… (From October to March we can expect anything between 400 mm to 1600 mm.)

Numerous fires ignited by lightning went out when rain came with only some unwanted baring of ground occurring on the plateau country west of the Elgee Cliffs.

Our children are applying themselves at school and pulling their weight with other chores…

Areas under tight management are visibly improving… (THANK YOU to all of those who supported our efforts!)

Now is the time of year when nature comes alive: Thunder, lightning, soaking rain, lighting fires, burning sun, sweat drenched clothes, deafening chorus of cicadas, nightly frog-concerts...

Creatures of all makes and sizes growing and multiplying and making the most of ‘opportunity’...

It is also that time of year when we can achieve the most significant ecological advances with our management…

The effect each year is more spectacular as we once again are reminded of how insignificant we humans are in the face of powerful physical and biological forces...

Dealing with a bush-fire, riding on the crest of a tidal wave or the back of a galloping elephant… the margin for error is never clearly defined and the price for failure can be costly…

However, not to give it our best shot must surely be similar to having failed…

The Kachana 2004 Workshop Report is up on the web.

We also continue to give grass-roots input to some of the local environmental debates.

Is it fear, paralysis, a lack of vision, apathy, ignorance, the thrill and challenge associated with crisis-management, or simply a civilisation that has outlived its usefulness (and now needs to follow the well trodden path of other failed civilisations) that keeps many of our modern societies locked in futile battles against symptoms of crumbling ecological foundations? Pests, weeds, pollution, disease, poverty, erosion…

Using cost-effective low-tech options we can now consistently change situations like the one shown right to something like we see below…
All it takes is:
  • A Goal
  • A plan
  • Coordinated goal-referenced action (Without this last step all the knowledge and science in the world are useless.)
  • -

More Kachana workshops are planned for 2005; we harbour an old-fashioned belief that deep down in their hearts people really do want peace and prosperity and thus the stable productive landscapes that could provide the basis for this to happen.

Using environmentally soft approaches it now takes us no more than three years to make the sort of changes as shown above. Although the speed with which such results can be achieved will vary according to level of skills required, latitude, altitude and rainfall etc., the basic underlying principles of care, healing and rebuilding of health apply much the same way as they would apply to our own bodies, if they were injured and bleeding…

Once the healing begins appropriate nutrition, exercise and rest are the main ingredients (in this case mulching, fertilizing and pruning of plants with ‘recovery periods’ after each significant disturbance)… Each situation however remains dynamic and unique… Rigid management based on ‘recipes’ will fail sooner if not later… The monitoring of trends as well as their relationships to management responses, needs to become part of an ongoing process…

In contrast to “failing civilisation” the path of restoring degraded landscapes to previous (or to even higher than original) levels of sustainable productivity is less well trodden… Sometimes we may stumble… Sometimes we may even fall and hurt ourselves… But cautiously and steadily climbing out of the hole that our civilisation has dug itself into sure beats running around in circles. In fact we find it exciting.

Warm greetings from the heart of Australia’s Kimberley region,

Chris Henggeler, Kachana