Jericho grazier calls for climate action

Bruce Currie on his property north of Jericho.

Michael R Williams

Bruce Currie, a grazier just north of Jericho, has beseeched both major parties to make climate change a number one priority ahead of the upcoming election.

As a part of the “It’s What Queenslanders Do Campaign”, Mr Currie hopes to break the greenie stereotype associated with climate activism.

The campaign, conceived by Charlotte Rogers and Exit Ghost Productions, aims to cast aside “the divisiveness too often propagated by outside voices”.

The campaigners encourage locals to get knowledgeable about climate change, write letters to their MPs, be considerate at the polling booth, and be considerate about your personal carbon footprint.

In 2011, Mr Currie’s production system was decimated by fires; 10 years on, he is still suffering the consequences.

“The way I see it, people have to get mobilised and take the issues seriously because, us famers, we produce food not for the right to farm but for the right for people to eat.”

He joined the campaign after earning a doctorates worth of experience in working with regenerative agriculture.

“I’ve spent at last 40 years sourcing information and literature and being involved in campaigns to learn about the process.”

“One of the big concerns is that we’re dealing with climate change, so we’ve jumped on board for any campaign that focusses on sustainability, regenerative agriculture, and addresses climate change.”

For Mr Currie, regenerative agriculture is not just a hobby but a matter of survival.

“We’ve always been enthusiastic about regenerative agriculture because when you consider the principles of regenerative agriculture: maximum ground cover, maximum water infiltration, maximum biodiversity, and minimum erosion, those are all factors that don’t only provide for a sustainable and profitable future for my property but also provides for a sustainable planet for future generations,” he said.

“That’s where our passions have always laid; it’s not just what’s good for us, but what are we leaving behind for future generations.

“And, the overriding factor in that whole equation is – what’s the climate going to be like, what’s the environment going to be like going forward?

“If the temperature out here rises by 1.5 or event degrees, the frequency and severity of droughts in Western Queensland could potentially make this country uninhabitable.”

Mr Currie said westerners are already experiencing drought’s disruptive effects on local economies.

“I can remember a number of years ago regularly going to cattle sales in Longreach,” he said.

“Because of the drought, a lot of those sales stopped occurring.

“The best way to combat climate change and to reduce the severity of drought is to be involved in regenerative agriculture.”

Mr Currie agreed that droughts are natural and not a foreign concept to westerners.

“Drought is a very subjective concept, so when you’re talking about drought how sever is that specific dry spell you’re talking about?” he said.

“What were the temperatures when that event occurred? The best thing we can do to minimise drought, is to take the maximum opportunity to occur across our landscape.

“Whether it’s a general occurrence or an isolated occurrence across your property, if you can capture as much moisture as you can and get that moisture in the ground, that will reduce the impact of that dry spell on your property.”

Mr Currie said the best thing for central west locals to do is to consider the impact their homes and properties are having on the environment.

“Maybe you’re not making the most out of every rain event, or you don’t have quite as much ground coverage as you could, or you’re lacking in biodiversity,” he said.

“Get yourself up to speed and get knowledge in that area.

“Then also pressure and lobby your representatives to give you some support to do that.

“At the moment, the government are throwing around money willy-nilly at programs they claim support primary producers and farmers, but very little of it is getting to the farmers on the ground so that they can do tangible projects.”