Hello from Clare and Kurt Bickers owners and creators of FarmTimeStories.com Pty Ltd.
Who is FarmTimeStories.com and who are Clare and Kurt Bickers.
FarmtimeStories.com is a company which we have set up using a simple business model of creating initial profits through children’s book sales and other children’s education and entertainment products. Then to reinvest profits into short and long term green projects to create more profits and keep the process going until it is not needed anymore. This will allow everybody a low cost opportunity to participate in climate management, improving their children’s, nieces, nephews, or grandkids future, with money they would have spent on their children regardless.
The main reason why our target audience is small children and their parents and family is because the result of spending money on them will have an exponential dividend for them. Dividend equals “a healthy planet for them to live on and prosper and to have their children”. After all we didn’t have our children and invest so much love, time and money into them to see them not have a future.
The reason for using a business model is because all things that last need to be able to exist and create profits, be tenacious about their goals (see dividend above), pay workers and taxes to governments and provide employment. With an ethical core business model, investment decisions will be sound and projects will be successful. That is not to say that there will not be a philanthropic and a research and development arm as well.
So who are Kurt and Clare Bickers?
Firstly we are concerned parents who are taking an interest in our children’s future.
Secondly with this business, we are becoming entrepreneurs. I have read on Wikipedia our type of entrepreneurship is called “social entrepreneurship”.
Clare is a mother of one about to be two, a step mum of one, director of FarmTimeStories.com (and every other job below director I don’t do) and co-author of a children’s book ,“Farmer Georges Busy Morning”, traveller, my wife and best friend.
Me, Kurt, I am a father of two, about to be three, a farmer, qualified Master Mariner – presently an offshore oil and gas worker and recently a co-author and illustrator of a children’s book, “Farmer Georges Busy Morning”, a video producer, photographer and artistic director (see website).
Not many green credentials there! That all changed about two years ago when my son, Shae, was two and had to have his tonsils removed. During this time of nursing our son, in a small set of apartments in Perth, we truly began to realise how much our children mean to us, and what we are willing to do to ensure their future. We never wanted to have to answer to our children’s question “Mum and Dad what did you do about climate change?” with “Well we were a little too busy that day!” and making every excuse why we didn’t do anything to help.
As a younger man I had always had a bent for green type ideas, I just never acted on them. One day I will try and find a few old drawings for straw bale houses, parabolic solar reflectors etc and put them out on the website for a look and a laugh.
I have always wanted to create and own a forest. My experiences in Tasmania while attending maritime college and a holiday in the Daintree had shown me some of the most beautiful forests in the world. Unfortunately I haven’t had the time or money to act upon this idea.
This all has combined with the need for my family to sell our farm to release capitol for my parents to retire on (Farmer George). Which unfortunately, since we made that decision, we have had the effects of climate change become more prevalent and the global financial crisis. This has meant that investment in farming has reduced. So rather than give the family farm away, Clare and I thought why not combine the two. Why not create a company that can buy the farm and use the farm to plant a forest, create carbon credits and take a positive step towards the reduction in climate change affects.
With the advent of the internet and self-publishing, we have been given the opportunity to reach a world of people, who may have similar ideals and would like to buy a book for their children and know that money from the book will be used to improve their children’s future. So we created FarmTimeStories.com and wrote and illustrated “Farmer George’s Busy Morning”.
It would be nice to see on television news, more good news stories about how people are turning around climate change, rather than another major natural disaster due to climate change or the, “It is the hottest or driest year on record” story.
If we keep on doing the same thing or nothing at all, then we can’t expect the outcome to change.
So to define the greater problem as we see it, we have currently a carbon state issue that affects the planets ability to expel excessive heat or store heat as energy in chemical bonds. This has been brought about by two reasons: use of carbon previously stored as a fuel source and deforestation.
Our idea is to in the short term deal with the deforestation problem by buying land or entering into partnerships and planting trees to generate carbon credits. Secondly, the long term minimisation of the release of old carbon stores in the form of fossil fuels, through the investing in other forms of renewable energy. Like molten salt solar power plants to create base load power or geothermal energy or hydrogen based energy systems or wind and wave power.
We all have heard about the deforestation of the Amazon, Congo, Europe and Asia, even Australia has only approximately 10% of its original forest cover since European settlement. So now it is time to begin to reverse this. Obviously we will always need cleared land for farming and feeding our planet, but we certainly have land available that should never have been cleared. Not only in Australia but around the world. The right use of trees will improve the good land for farming and repair some ecological issues we have created on the poorer land types.
Our intention is for FarmTimeStories.com’s initial forest to be created on our family farm which is about 2000 acres or 800 hectares in the Irwin Valley, Western Australia.
The project scope will be to create an interesting forest for people to visit and stay at. Not only a forest creating carbon credits but a place that increases biodiversity, a place for people to walk, to see interesting things and a few surprises (like the occasional fruit tree to pick on your walk). While still having some clear areas to plant crops and keep some stock for children to see and learn about farming. When we design the forest we will also take into account good management to allow for open spaces that act as fire breaks and create artificial wet lands for birds and amphibians to enjoy.
800 hectares and leaving open spaces, we should be able to plant around 500, 000 to 600, 000 trees. Of course this will be dependent on the type of trees we plant and upon our final assessment of the land and its uses and available water in the form of rainfall and the water table.
You will know if we have been successful when we post on the Website that we are ready to plant out the trees by May 2014.
Some of the future forests we create will be part of a greater tool to manage carbon state, this is that a growing forest actively stores carbon, while a forest that reaches its maturity only stores the carbon it has. To make a forest more efficient it is better to keep it in a state of constant growth. To achieve this, we need to harvest the timber and keep the carbon in a timber form for as long as possible, by creating high value products from the timber. Take for example timber used as roofing in houses and how long houses are around for. Think of this as a juggling act. Store carbon while the trees grow, store carbon long term once the tree has matured. Repeat by regrowing the forest again.
Even a book made of paper can be considered a carbon credit if it is kept and treasured and passed on from generation to generation.
All the forests that we plant will take into account the other uses the land may be able to have and to try to help with bio-diversity. Land that has high farming value will still be used for these purposes, either through the subdivision and on sale of the land or some form of leasing arrangement to a farming venture. While the land that does not, will be repurposed to forestry and carbon credit creation of some form.
Not all forest will be created by buying land, we will also be able to enter into long term agreements or partnerships with people that want trees and have land that would benefit from planting out.
Another form of carbon storage we will consider is to harvest the timber and burn it in a low oxygen environment. Creating active carbon that can be added to farming soils to increase its fertility and water holding capacity. The carbon in this state oxidises very slowly and you also get to create products which are a part of the closed loop carbon cycle, in the form of fuels which can be used in current cars , trucks and planes.
Where? Firstly Irwin, Western Australia, then other areas of Australia, followed by the world as opportunity and funds will allow.
We thought a nice idea would be to be able to say FarmTimeStories.com has planted a billion trees by the time Clare and I are no more! Not sure how long it will take, but a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
The ultimate solution to the carbon issue of climate change is to change over the actual source and storage of energy that we use. There is a need to use a renewable energy system that creates base load power. That is, power that is constant and available at all times.
Currently the best systems for this revolve around hot rocks and thermal power and molten salt solar plants which can operate through the night.
With Australia having so much desert country and dry land, we possibly have one of the best areas of the world to use molten salt power solar power technology. FarmTimeStories.com would love to be invested in this technology and be responsible in some way for bringing it first to Western Australia and then to other suitable locations on the planet.
The other area which we seem to be able to tap into is hot rocks and geothermal power. Both of these revolve around the finding of the right sites with the available energy. FarmTimeStories.com’s intention would be to help fund the exploration for this energy and then help fund bringing these power sources online to the mainstream power grid.
More ideas to be explored are solar, wind, tidal and wave action power plants. These could also be used to provide base load power, if we can develop a way to create hydrogen and store hydrogen for use in a gas turbine. Then we would have power on demand for when the winds not blowing or the sun is not shining, or the tides out or the surfs not up. Using a gas turbine leads to its own inefficiencies in the system, but there are ways to improve this by using the waste heat from the system to create steam and run steam turbines to create power.
There is a wealth of energy science and entrepreneurs out in the world, but it is going to take some special people to get them all together, create the motivation, and develop economies of scale and the final use of the technology.
We as the end user don’t really need to see any difference, as green power will be just the same as the power we use now, except it won’t be adversely affecting your children’s future, but improving it. This is the part that we at FarmTimeStories.com will love to be involved in through careful investing of our profits in these industries and helping create the positive public opinion that will drive the final mass adoptions of these technologies.
We have a great deal of opportunity to repair our planet and improve our future. It is just going to take us to make the right choices and since we live in a market driven economy, you can empower FarmTimeStories.com’s goals by purchasing our products or donating by using the donate now button from this website. So please bring you and your children on this journey with us and stay tuned for updates and more products!!
Best Regards from
Kurt and Clare Bickers.