For many, the scale of our collective challenge is too vast to comprehend, or simply too unpleasant to contemplate. In his 2017 book, Surviving the 21st Century, Julian Cribb outlines ten existential threats to the survival of the human race, from ecological collapse, to chemical poisoning, to nuclear winter. Far from wild fantasy, the likelihood of a major catastrophe is backed up by a harrowing number of credible scientific voices. What we desperately need is a simple, clear plan to address our situation, and lead forward into a stable, sustainable and prosperous future.
At present, the solutions are fragmented and incomplete. Responding to topsoil loss, campaigns focus on regenerative agriculture. For carbon emissions, they spruik solar or wind generators, and for peak oil, they propose localization. For desertification, they favour mass plantings, and for habitat loss, wildlife refuges. For obesity, they promote walkability, and for malnutrition, biofortification. For slowing growth, they subsidise mega-mines. But special-interest campaigns will not save us from collapse. While enormous effort is devoted to a single issue, the others spiral out of control.
Likewise, many people rationally or intuitively sense what must be done. Far from the religious faith in technological salvation, what we actually need is a new way of life that is closer to our agrarian ancestors, closer with nature, and largely reliant on what we can produce within the local area: a civilization of forest gardens combining ancient traditions with 21st century know-how, revitalizing the environment while meeting human needs, increasing biodiversity and soil fertility, and stabilizing the climate with a thick cover of vegetation. These gardens will increase the efficient, sustainable productivity of the land, and the F.A.O and United Nations, institutions uniquely free from patriotic bias or commercial self-interest, agree.
In recent years, permaculture and agroecology have received growing popular interest, and “urban farming” has become something of a fad. Many people, both young and old, dream of a self-sufficient homestead with a veggie garden, a cosy house, a pond, an orchard, meadow and tall trees, a place where grandparents can grow old, and children can grow up in safety, joy and stability.
On this kind of family homestead, people will grow and eat clean, nutrient-dense food, selling the surplus for a healthy profit. Local economies will flourish, unemployment will disappear, healthcare costs will shrink, and carbon sequestration will begin en masse. Rainfall will become more regular, the climate will stabilize, and we will protect ourselves against the shocks of the international economy. In the tranquil surrounds of nature, scientific research will bring new and useful innovations for the benefit of the planet and the people. The greater expanse of the Australian landscape will be transformed into a patchwork of Earthly paradise. Ours will be a strong nation, rich and prosperous, stable and sustainable, and we will emerge as a world leader in human development.
So what is standing in the way? Years of economic quick-fixing has created a massive economic bubble. Real estate is absurdly expensive, locking young generations off the land and preventing any kind of true sustainability. It is a death-march towards inevitable catastrophe.
Access to land is necessary for the survival of our country. Anyone willing to grow their own future, take responsibility for the health of the land, and contribute a surplus to the wider economy should be hailed as a national hero. For in the 21st century, the homestead gardener is the new soldier of national security—feeding the country and keeping our economy safe from external instabilities.
The first step is to change the planning laws to allow for a new type of subdivision, about one hectare in size, which cannot be bought or sold. These family homesteads are not financial assets, but ecological canvases on which to paint a beautiful livelihood for future generations. Second, to publicly purchase and distribute land to anyone wishing to garden in such a way. For a fraction of the cost of current grants and welfare programs, with none of the ills of lifetime dependency, a new generation of small producers will quickly become self-sufficient and form the backbone of a sustainable 21st century economy.
Such proposals inevitably raise the ire of corrupt academics and corporate public relations. Hypnotised by greed, they promulgate dishonest studies that mask the true cost of their patented products. And all too often, the embittered folk who struggled in life resent the idea of a bright and happy future.
But the turning point has come, and our backs are against the wall. Inheriting a system on the brink of collapse, we are literally fighting for our lives.
We need to live sustainably, and for that, we need secure access to land. Composting and solar panels are great, but on their own they are not enough. Free allotments are the way forward, coupled with massive public education about sustainable gardening. This is the best value, most efficient, investment for public money.
The choice is simple: buckle down for disasters, or move forward with a plan that prevents them. So where are the rational people? Stop clamoring for Tesla™. Let’s start growing our future.
We support free land for sustainable development!
We support a law on family homesteads!
A free hectare for any individual!
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