Submission to the Australian Royal Commission: An Elder’s science – Saving the Murray-Darling Basin

In March 2018 a submission has been made to Mr Bret Walker SC and the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission regarding their investigations into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. This submission has been made by a NSW group called Landsmanship Australia headed by retired scientist and passionate ecologist Paul Newell. The aim of the submission is to draw the Commission’s attention to Paul’s life-long research in restoring the desert, created by human land use practices, into a functional and ecologically diverse landscape. Imagine returning Murray-Darling river catchment to a fully functional living river system that self-repairs and sustains all aspects of its own eco-system, when people follow key ecological principles of living practices.


The main points of submission are:

  • The loss of biodiversity, species extinction, erosion of natural resources, land and water degradation cannot be solved by more of the same thinking that has created it.
  • Pollution of air and water is really the absence of vegetation to filter the streams of air and water. Reductions in vegetation density on Earth, wherever people live is linked to the breaking of nutrient/mineral/water cycles (natural processes).
  • People have lost the understanding of their own ecological role in the functional ecology of the land, cannot appreciate the ecological roles of all species they live with as their companions, living community and food.
  • A monoculture of one dominant species is not sustainable. Each species is dependent on every other species. Life on earth is “Habitat in Common”. Monocultures are single specie dominant landscapes (consider a feed lot of cattle, a crop of wheat or a city of people). A monoculture is a dysfunctional ecosystem that cannot self-resource. The Murray-Darling catchment is now a dysfunctional monoculture in decay mode.
  • Western societies mine and export for money, earth-gas-minerals-energy-soil-vegetation-animals-food-water and people to manufacture, build and supply all-consuming cities somewhere else, making local regional landscapes dysfunctional from loss of natural resources. All forms of EXPORT from one location to another is loss as erosion. People made EROSION of resources, degrades whole biological communities that are dispossessed of their own land, resources and habitat.
  • Vegetation ‘choked’ landscapes have the capacity to manage soil, water and climate. When any valley floors ‘over-flow’ streaming ‘storm water’ through multi species dense vegetation the shallow broad stream of slow moving water, soaks into the soil sediment and is retained as local in-ground water away from evaporation and maintains soil depth and fertility, moisture absorption and vegetation growth the whole year through. Dysfunctional lands do not.
  • Retention of species, soil and water, reverses the symptoms of regional land and climate dysfunction to function. This is self-repair of eco-system.
  • Applied Agrarian Science, is farming naturally, with plant/animal systems, produce and increase local natural resources.
  • Mature self-reliant productive, self-resourcing Australian rural communities make good their local decisions.
  • Instead of using human logic, why not use Nature’s self-organising/self-repair ‘eco-logic’ methods as true automation, to ‘farm’ our own natural resources?