There are around 6,500 different types of Australian native foods, but there are many barriers to First Nations people commercialising them. The good news is that 40% of the land mass has been returned to Traditional Custodians, and now with a formalised commercialisation and export strategy for native foods, the opportunities for Indigenous producers are endless.
We have had many wake-up calls in recent times. Bushfires, floods, war, and the COVID-19 pandemic all exposed the cracks in our food supply systems. More Australians have experienced food insecurity in the past few years than ever. Dr Rachel Carey wants to make our food supply chains much more resilient to future shocks and stresses.
How big is the problem of invasive species? In the words of Deakin University’s Professor Euan Ritchie, ‘the short answer is: it’s massive’. Invasive genes and species are one of the biggest environmental problems facing Australia and the number one cause of native species extinctions. They also cause immense economic and cultural damage; since the 1960s, Australia has variously spent and incurred losses amounting to $390 billion due to invasive species.
Knowledge holders and leaders from across Victoria, including Traditional Owners, gathered at the Royal Society of Victoria to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Victoria in biodiversity conservation and recovery, considering the urgent need to establish an independent Taskforce. RSV President Rob Gell framed the biodiversity crisis as “everyone’s problem.”
There is no denying that climate change is here. In many of the articles I have written for the Royal Society of Victoria, climate change seems to be a common thread woven among them. In Australia, this means warmer temperatures, less rainfall, and more extreme weather events. How do we ensure our land is ready for the change that is already happening and continues to intensify? Years of attending RSV presentations only reinforce in my mind our desperate need for better land management.