Former governor-general in soil quest

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
Former governor-general in soil quest
Camera IconFormer governor-general in soil quest Credit: The West Australian

Former governor-general and Wiluna local, Michael Jeffery, says he doesn't mind getting his hands dirty in an effort to try and save the soil.

Mr Jeffery, who now devotes much of his time as the president of environmental organisation Soils for Life, is in Perth this week for meetings with local landcare groups.

He said with the world population forecast to double by 2050, soil protection was a critical global challenge.

"How do we almost double the globe's sustainable food production by 2050 to meet a projected population increase to around nine billion," he said.

Mr Jeffery said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates an increase in food demand by 70 per cent in 2050 with 220,000 new mouths to feed every day.

"Soils for Life believe that we can heal our degraded landscape and address related global challenges through adopting regenerative landscape management practices which focus on the integrated management of soil, water and vegetation," he said.

"We are striving for a comprehensive co-ordinated approach focused on encouraging our farmers and land managers to adopt these practices."

Mr Jeffery said he believed soil health has been compromised drastically by mining, clearing and farming, resulting in major depletion in soil condition.

"And in addition, water scarcity affects every continent and more than 40 per cent of people on our planet," he said.

By 2025, one billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity.

Mr Jeffery said restoring the Earth's natural biosystem was fundamental to the community's future.

"Only this will enable us to provide sufficient food, fibre and water for a growing population," he said.

"I believe that we can heal our degraded landscape and address related global challenges through adopting regenerative landscape management practices which focus on the integrated management of soil, water and vegetation.

"We are striving for a comprehensive co-ordinated approach focused on encouraging our farmers and land managers to adopt these practices."

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