Challenges of changing from degrading to ecologically sustainable land management: what will it take?
School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning,
University of Western Sydney,
Locked Bag 1797 Penrith South DC, NSW 1797.
www.uws.edu.au/about/acadorg/caess/ssell and www.eap.mcgill.ca/general/home_frames.htm . email@example.com
Many layers of interrelated causes (extending from personal competence and psychology, to external controls and pressures associated with narrow and short-sighted policies, corporate influence and globalisation) are resulting in the ongoing degradation of our soils and landscapes (loss of topsoil, fibre, nutrients, moisture, air spaces, biota, ‘health’, responsiveness to inputs etc.). Yet most of us are well aware that this loss of fertility, productivity and sustainability could be significantly addressed through the improved design and management of the systems involved. Despite the many things that remain as barriers to widespread progress in this direction, much of the groundwork has already been done, and significant progress has been made throughout the world by innovative pioneers. The challenge facing us is to learn from and build on these systems redesign/design-based initiatives, and to resist the temptations of denial, postponement, tinkering with systemically unsustainable designs, with their dependencies on imported inputs, and the search for substitute inputs. In this presentation I will focus on the processes involved in change, from the personal (psychology) to the environmental (ecology) to the socio-political (human, social and cultural ecology), and on small, meaningful initiatives that each of us can take in our various areas of influence.