Fight for a farming future
Young champion wants climate change action
AS A 12-year-old, Anika Molesworth watched her family endure a decade of hardship as their Broken Hill station was bought at the very beginning of the Millennium Drought.
The 10-year dry spell had a tight grip on Rupee Station, in far western NSW, and it’s a time Anika will never forget.
Reflecting on her early days on the property, the 30-year-old said there was a silver lining.
“Our introduction to farming was a steep learning curve but that’s what sparked my interest in environmental conservation and learning how to look after the property so you could run a viable farming business,” she said.
“It also sparked my interest in climate change because that region of Australia is predicted to become hotter and drier with more frequent droughts and dust storms.”
As it’s her goal to eventually take over the family farm, she has dedicated all of her time in recent years to equip herself with agricultural knowledge and to become a fierce campaigner for better climate solutions.
She has a stack of degrees under her belt and her dedication and leadership on the climate cause saw her named as a Youth Champion in 350’s report Heroes Building Australia’s Low-Carbon Economy.
She is a board member of the Australian Farmers for Climate Action group, having been involved with the body since day dot, and Anika believes primary producers are finding their voice on climate change.
“As a farming community we notice changes, and we have realised we will have to act quickly if we want to have a viable farming future,” she said.
“Business as usual is no longer an option.
“On my family property at Broken Hill, we are already
❝Business as usual is no longer an option. — Anika Molesworth
running African sheep (dorpers). If it becomes too hot and dry for them, what’s next?”
Anika is currently based at Griffith and is in the “deep depths” of writing her PhD, a topic that took her to South East Asia to work with farmers and scientists in Laos and Cambodia.
“These farmers I have been working with are among the poorest in the world,” she said.
“They have a really low adaptive capacity to make changes as they have low finances and limited land size. So when they are hit by flood, drought or a pest outbreak they tumble quickly into hardship.”
Anika said as the ‘lucky country’, Australia was in a position to implement changes.
She said as well as better government policies, moving away from the use of fossil fuels was vital.
“Look, we really need to promote renewable energies in this country,” she said.
“We have to get away from burning fossil fuels, because they really are unspeakably damaging to our health, the health of our environment and to the agriculture industry.”
YOUNG LEADER: Farmers for Climate Action board member Anika Molesworth has been named Youth Champion in 350’s report Heroes Building Australia’s Low-Carbon Economy.