To the other side of the planet for the planet
WHEN you’re passionate about the environment you live and work in, you’ll often do unusual things to drive that point home.
For Mike Parish, his latest endeavour was to visit Paris but it was hardly an extended sightseeing holiday trip. His 46 hours in the air in just a four-day period left him little time to see anything other than the inside of jet aircraft’s economy class and a motel room. Mike spent the rest of the time presenting and networking at the Planet A conference.
“It was a long trip – about 46 hours on planes – but it was well worth it and being involved in it and able to contribute,” Mr Parish said.
He said there were 350 delegates from more than 30 countries and all present had a real commitment to bring about change.
Mr Parish’s observations were that while many landscape practices in other nations are up to 10 years behind the most innovative Australian regenerative farmers, he believes they’re politically well in front of us.
“There seems to be a real urgency to bring about change in their agricultural production systems in France and the European Union (EU),” Mr Parish said.
“I sensed that they are not aware of the difficulties ahead with their efforts to bring about change eg: methodologies, farmer’s mindset around adopting new practices.”
He said the presentation he was asked to deliver went off well and generated plenty of positive feedback.
“I was pleasantly surprised that they were very open to listen to my input. The workshop session I attended was called Rethinking Production and Practices in a Reasoned Use of Soil – it was part of a six-workshop program covering different policy areas,” Mr Parish said.
“The main points I put up included holistic approach, the need for farmers to have an incentive/payment mechanism to bring about change, training, mentoring and a peer-to-peer setup support for farmers – these were all adopted as the main points from that workshop.” Dubbo’s Mike Parish with Oli Madgett, CEO and co-founder of Platfarm, a start-up specialized in soil carbon capture; Tim Cavagnard, Associate Professor Soil Ecology, School of Agriculture, Adelaide University and Zrinka Tolkeic, International Program Director of the Australian Echallenge, Adelaide Business School
Mr Parish said a document was drafted as a call to the EU and other countries of the world to commit to acknowledging soil health as an imperative.
“I was given a copy of the draft to see what I thought – they mentioned the word “soil” but no reference to being biologically active, living or soil health, so I added that as my input and noticed after they had adopted those amendments, which I was very happy about.”
His name was also added at the bottom of the document as a signatory with 12 others including professor Rattan Lal, one of the world’s leading soil scientists, with whom Mr Parish was lucky enough to spend two hours talking on the shuttle on the way back to Paris, along with other scientists and politicians.
“All in all it was a great experience and I was able to make many connections during my visit.”
Mike Parish recently presented at the Planet A Conference in Paris. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED