Could critical Australian insights illuminate rangeland management in Namibia?
Abstract: Climate change is now almost universally accepted as a reality and so too is the “hand of man”. We are causing it. However, do we really understand (accept) what is causing most change or are we focusing huge amounts of money on politically correct (not “wrong”) symptoms? Are greenhouse gases the real problem? Or is how we manage the land the problem and the solution? We put forward some propositions that beg a rethinking of the climate change issue, with a focus on better local land management for better local climate outcomes. We acknowledge that our evidence is based largely on a different way of thinking about climate change and local ecosystem health, but some case studies support this perspective and therefore require close scrutiny with an open mind. The core to our perspective is thermodynamics and the role of plants in that. Plants made our planet suitable for humans. We contend that the ecological malaise is driving climate change at a greater rate than industrial emissions and that the solution lies in land recovery. That is, if we want to address the causes and not simply the symptoms and convenient part truths. Enduring, self-sustaining, ecosystem rejuvenation is the key. We discuss how this can be pursued at a farm scale. We focus on key issues and how they can be addressed by systems thinking, rather than seeing the symptom as the core problem. Bush encroachment is such a symptom. We cannot change how brightly the sun shines, but we can influence how that energy is used, especially if we link it to water management and plant growth.