Putting down roots

• Pioneering permaculturist Jeff Nugent.

ONE of WA’s pioneering permaculturists says city dwellers should spend time planting trees in the Wheatbelt to get a real sense of the dire state of the environment.

Jeff Nugent grew up in Perth before moving to Nannup about 40 years ago to set up a permaculture haven, and was a founding member of the Sustainable Agricultural Research Institute. He’ll be speaking about the latest in permaculture news at Sullivan Hall in White Gum Valley on October 26.

“One of the barriers in the city is that everyone is less aware of our day-to-day behaviours having an effect on the environment,” Mr Nugent told the Herald.

“In the country you’re more aware of how much water you’re drinking, how much that’s drawing on the dam down the road…and in the city you have no understanding of how that’s affected the water supply of the whole of Perth.”

He says species loss across the state was a pressing issue.

“It’s peeling out in tens of years, not hundreds of thousands.

Climate change

“A way to resolve climate change [in the South West] would be to stop deforestation and put in more trees.”

Mr Nugent said while climate change had become the planet’s most urgent issue, people didn’t have to panic.

“It’s never helped anything,” he said.

Mr Nugent said that the third world stood to be the most affected by any economic instability caused by climate change, yet people living there seem less affected.

“When you come to Australia after travelling globally there’s two things you’ll notice.

“The first thing you’d notice is the wealth; people living in massive homes, far bigger than they need, and driving cars that are ridiculous to be driving.

“The other thing you’ll notice; everywhere in Kenya there’s happy faces, but if I sit at a railway station in Perth, there won’t be one happy face.

“Why is nobody happy when they all have jobs?”

Mr Nugent says a greater shift to permaculture principles can help Perth increase its future food security, while also bolstering its residents’ health.

The aftenoon will also feature a concert by flute and vegetable wunderkind Charlie Mgee and money raised will go towards Hazel Orme Community Kindergarten.

Tickets are $40 and available at eventbrite.com.au – look for Permaculture Stories

by TATIANA DALIN

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