Article

The
Australian
farmer fighting
for climate
action

From her sheep farm deep in the Australian outback, this farmer is living on the frontlines of climate change. The extreme heat and recurring drought we read about in our headlines are her reality. But she's got a plan and it involves you.

Created with

A new documentary series by
Tim Arnold and Eefje Suzanne Kragten

Words interactive page:
Anne-Marie Hoeve

“In those early years, I would get up at the crack of dawn. Jump out of bed. Put on my clothes and just go off into the paddock. And the family usually was still asleep.

You hear these incredible bird noises swishing around. Emus marching across the landscape and the kangaroos in the hills.

You feel very small in this enormous landscape and it feels timeless. Like time has just forgotten about this place. It hasn’t changed for millennia.”

But it’s changing now.

This is her story.
But it’s a story that concerns
all of us.

A journey into Australia's heartland

It all started when Anika Molesworth's family purchased Rupee Station, a sheep farm in New South Wales in 2000. Little did 12-year-old Anika know that it would be the catalyst for her lifelong passion for the environment. Anika's family had fallen in love with this "starkly beautiful piece of Australia" and began planning their future on the farm - but then the rain stopped falling.

Sydney
Rupee Station, Broken Hill,
New South Wales

“I want to take on the family farm one day, that’s the future I dream of. I want to be here forever.”

Home to 1000
sheep

Now the future of the family farm at Rupee Station is under threat. Once it was home to 1,000 sheep.

Today, that number has dwindled to none. Anika had to sell the last of her sheep last year. The extreme heat had made them infertile.

Successive droughts, dust storms and scorching soil temperatures of up to 70℃ brought on by CO2 emissions and climate change are making it increasingly hard to sustain life on this land.

“When those dust storms are coming, they take away precious soil. We lose all the nutrients from the soil, that organic matter and our seeds. So when we do get the rain, it’s watering an infertile soil that doesn’t have seeds anymore.”

Anika Molesworth

Anika has come to the end of the line of what she can produce here. Yet she refuses to accept the situation and fights for a positive alternative.

When climate change affects farmers, it affects our food

Farmers make up 1% of the Australian population, but they provide 93% of the food consumed there.

1%

It’s not just Australian farmers like Anika who are struggling – farmers around the world are facing the effects of global warming and extreme weather.

It means that it’s getting harder for farmers to grow the food to feed us.

Nearly every 24 hours, there are a quarter of a million new people on this planet. A quarter of a million new mouths to feed.

If we act now,
we can turn this around

As a farmer and a scientist – with a PhD in agricultural science and ecosystems – Anika knows that it’s time to work with nature instead of against it.

Her mission?

To raise awareness of climate change impacts on farms, and the action that can be taken to reduce emissions. Action by farmers, governments and consumers.

It’s about joining the dots between the land, the climate and the food on our plates.

“To do things differently, we can stop forests turning into fields, keep rivers flowing, restore soil fertility and reverse the loss of life on earth – all the while ensuring there’s enough nutritious food for every person, now and into the future.”

Making her voice heard

Change doesn’t just happen.

For that you need to connect with others. That’s exactly what Anika is doing.

  • She’s written a book:
    In "Our Sunburnt Country", she shares how to grow the courage to protect our land and save our food.
  • She’s empowering farmers:
    Through Farmers for Climate Action, Anika provides a platform for support and training to help transition to a healthier agricultural ecosystem, with less reliance on single crops, chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The group now has 5,000 members.
  • She’s lobbying politicians:
    Here she is with a very special letter to the Prime Minister of Australia.

What can YOU do?

You can play a positive role and minimise your environmental footprint through the food you choose to put on your plate. It has an impact – every day.

“Each and every one of us plays a role in the food system,” says Anika.

How to eat for a climate-stable planet? Here’s what the WWF recommends:

  • Choose sustainable ingredients

    Sustainable ingredients have minimal impacts on nature – they are produced responsibly and don’t threaten wildlife populations or their homes.

    So, choose local or organic fruit and veg, and look for free-range meat and eggs. Also look for certifications such as the RSPO Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or ASC Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

  • Eat more plants than animals

    One of the best ways to improve both your health and the environment is to increase how many plants you eat relative to animals.

  • Eat healthily and minimise processed foods

    Processed food has a greater environmental impact – because of the emissions created through processing and the loss of nutritional quality. So eat fresh, non-processed foods instead.

  • Introduce balance and variety

    Eating too much of any food is unlikely to be good for you or the planet. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients, and the planet also benefits from a variety of food being cultivated.

  • How does your diet affect the environment?

    Check out the WWF Impact & Action Calculator to discover how to build a more sustainable diet.

“We’ve got the scientific evidence of what’s causing the problems, we know what the symptoms are, we’ve got the solutions to fix it. It is literally just a matter of people having the will and determination to implement solutions. And that’s what keeps me positive.”

The Positive Alternative is a new documentary series by film director Tim Arnold and writer/producer Eefje Suzanne Kragten.

Inspired by rapidly changing climate conditions, they wanted to share resilient and positive stories to make climate change a communal problem and inspire positive action.

“We believe that Anika’s story, and the stories of other brave and inspiring farmers like her, can be the catalyst for change in our current climate change trajectory.”

Anika’s story is the first of four episodes.

Watch the trailer of The Positive Alternative, with Anika Molesworth

Watch the full film at our live screening.
Find out more here

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