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Why I run this site

 

My Mission

Colin Austin 4 June 2013

Thanks Marianne for the jog

I have just received an email from Marianne  Kambouridis in Ballarat telling me about the great work she is doing on sustainability in her school.  This has prompted me to write down what I believe, what I am trying to achieve and how you can support my aims.

Grandfathers syndrome

I suffer from a medical condition called grandfathers syndrome this means that instead of going out, spending the last of my money and generally having a good time, like a normal sensible person, I think about what life my grandchildren will have and in turn their grandchildren.

The current population of the world is seven billion, by the time my grandchildren are mature it will have risen to nine billion.  But more important the world will have changed dramatically, presently the bulk of the people live in the developing countries living very modest life styles, in my grandchildren’s life time they will enjoy greater purchasing power and wealth than we currently do living in the affluent west.

Our capitalist system has certainly proven highly effective in increasing our wealth but only looks at short term profits and does not take into account the longer term effects or the cost to the natural environment on which we all depend for our food, clothing, shelter and equally important access to enjoy the wonders of the natural environment.

What can I and you do?

It is up to people, you me and the rest to look after the future for our grandchildren.  But what can I and you actually do that will have a real effect.  I can do nothing about the wars and conflicts which stem from the inequalities of the world or the unfortunate prejudices of extremists.

But I am an engineer, for many years I had a successful career in science, technology and innovation so I know how the process of innovation works - but now I am old and no longer work creating innovative products for profit or commercial gain. But for all my life I have had an interest in growing plants and the essential role that soil and water play - may be because Hitler took a personal dislike to me and when he tried to bomb me to death and missed he tried to starve me into submission.

Growing food to me is normal.

Soil and water

So I have used my experience of the process of science and innovation to develop better technologies for soil and water. For decades I have worked on ways to regenerate degraded soils and use water more effectively. Wicking beds and now my biopacks to regenerate soil are the latest in my innovations. This development is not just a hobby for an old man, neither are they a business in the sense that they cost rather than create money - at least for me - but I hope there is a wider benefit for people around the world.

Worshiping money

In my life time our ability to produce products has increased beyond believe, due to a combination of science, technology and the capitalist system.  We are better of beyond the beliefs of my childhood. We are currently watching a dramatic global change as technology spreads to the majority of the world’s populations in the developing countries. Thankfully this is raising their living standards but is leading to an unprecedented pressure on our natural resources on which we all depend.

Unfortunately western Governments work on the belief that the profit motive by itself will resolve these environmental challenges and all they have to do is sit back and manipulate the financial system remotely. You only have to look at the economic situation in the economies of Europe and the US to see the limitations of this philosophy. Whatever your politics you would have to admit that China’s policy of interacting with the private sector in a more pragmatic way has been more successful.

Soil carbon

Soil carbon is the second largest carbon sink after the ocean.  Soil could absorb fifty years of man-made emissions giving us time to develop and implement new energy technologies while providing a more secure food supply, (see my books Resolving climate change vol 1,2 and 3). This is not going to happen by itself but needs Governments to become actively involved.

Future generations

But having the affliction of grandfather’s syndrome I believe that these technologies of soil and water can play an important role in making a better life for future generations. So I run my website, publish my newsletter and help columns and generally spread the information and try and also try and persuade the Governments of the importance of soil carbon.  You can help by spreading the word, telling your friends in person, or using the amazing power of the internet.

I believe that everyone has a right to a healthy diet, there is no way that I should be making money from people, (or people working trying to help people), who lack financial resources, to enjoy a healthy diet. Any technology or information I have I make available to them for free with no suggestion of payment.

But from time to time I write articles or booklets on my activities and I invite people who are enjoying an affluent life style to make a contribution (typically $5 per item).  This will never make me rich but it does help with my costs of research, experimentation and education. 

I am also a human being with normal emotions and it does give me encouragement to feel that there are people out there who appreciate what I am trying to do and help me overcome the frustrations of  dealing with Governments on soil carbon.

 

Colin Austin

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