It’s often assumed that farmers and regional communities aren’t concerned about climate change.
Our state and federal politicians debate the issue with little thought of what’s happening in the country, despite agriculture being Australia’s most climate-exposed sector.
However, farmers are taking it upon themselves to bridge the divide.
A new advocacy group called Farmers for Climate Action has formed to give a voice to those who are on the frontline of climate change.
At the same time, the country’s peak farming body, the National Farmers’ Federation, has updated its thinking on the issue.
It now recognises that climate change poses a significant challenge for Australian farmers.
In fact, taking action offers many benefits for the millions who live in the country.
The practical solutions for farmers to reduce carbon emissions will advance innovation, and renewable energy developments create jobs.
Climate action is also crucial for land health and biodiversity, both of which affect the productivity of agriculture.
Farmers and rural communities also have a major influence on government decisions.
The Victorian government have just banned fracking after farmers vigorously voiced their concerns.
The politicians recognised that mining of unconventional gas puts the quality of farmland and its water at risk, as well as the health of people and animals living nearby.
In South Australia, a parliamentary inquiry made a similar finding.
Rural communities are now turning their attention to the effects of climate change.
They know that action will protect farmland and their livelihoods which will then benefit the country as a whole.
John Iser is the Victorian chairman of Doctors for the Environment Australia