We chatted with Khory Hancock about his persona, ‘The Environmental Cowboy’ and living sustainably ahead of appearing at Australia’s largest sustainability expo – Eco Expo.
Tell us about The Environmental Cowboy:
TEC is a persona I use, or character to communicate scientific and environmental messages more effectively to the public. He’s a larrikin, clumsy, sometimes a bit of smart ass but has integrity and wit.
What impact did growing up on cattle station on Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland, Australia have on your life?
I learnt about the deep connection we have to nature and the complexity of the way we interact with it…and how that impacts upon our lives and mental health.
Tell us about The Naked Farmer movement and using social media to talk about mental health:
The Naked Farmer is a platform that makes it easier for people to talk about their mental health, while making it fun. Men in particular in rural areas struggle to speak up as it’s not ingrained into country culture, so the Naked Farmer brand really aims to overcome that culture to reduce mental health issues and ultimately suicides. I have watched the droughts get worse over time and the suicide rates dramatically increase. Consequently, I know that healing nature is in turn healing our own hearts and minds, so this is one of my key messages engrained into TEC persona and brand.
How did your plastic-free July go?
Tough, as I travel a lot. I am close friends with Kate the plastic-free mermaid so she has been giving me tips along the way!
What’s one easy way we can reduce our use of single-use plastic?
Use reusable containers to carry your lunch in and a reusable water bottle!
Why do you recommend we eat less beef and more kangaroos?
Conventionally farmed beef is damaging to the environment and a leading cause of climate change. The explosion of agriculture in Australia has expanded watering points around the countryside where there wouldn’t have normally been any so the kangaroo population has spread out and exploded. Because these populations are unnatural, kangaroos have been doing enormous land and vegetation damage to the environment. When the droughts set in, they die of starvation and thirst in the 1,000s. We not only have an environmental responsibility to manage them, but this is also an ethical and moral one, we can’t stand by and watch them starve…I have seen it with my own eyes and it’s horrific. So, I encourage others to eat more kangaroo to help manage their populations to natural levels, eat less conventionally farmed beef but if you are going to eat beef, source it from regeneratively farmed properties, as this means the cattle are managed in such a way that aim to restore the ecosystems to full health.
What did you gain from the training and becoming Climate Reality Leader?
I did the training in 2015, and it set me on a path to becoming a leader in the climate space. It equipped me with the knowledge and empowered me with the motivation and support I needed to do what I do now.
How do carbon offsets work? What’s an easy way I can participate?
When you tick the carbon-offset box when you fly, it goes into forest and soil regeneration projects, in particular on cattle and sheep stations to help farmers transition into regenerative agricultural practices. To explain carbon offsets simply, it is a way to draw down the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing climate change and store it safely in our forests, oceans and soils using different scientific methodologies that allow this to happen.
How’s your ‘A Dry Hope’ documentary progressing?
I have made an 8-minute version. I need funding and/or sponsorship to make the 40-minute feature film.
Who or what inspires you?
Humanity inspires me…I have a deep love for people and I believe we are capable of achieving the impossible once we learn how to empower each other with the solutions.
What do you love most about what you do?
Meeting incredible people along the way and learning every day.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Massive plans, I want to build a leadership training centre for young people, so we can start to develop skills in young people to become emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually balanced for the future challenges we face.
Tell us a little about the Eco Expo and what it’s all about?
It’s Australia’s largest sustainability expo and it aims to inspire the nation to each take one step towards protecting and regenerating our natural world.
What can visitors expect to see from you at the Eco Expo?
My presentation will show people what is possible right now if we choose as a nation to reverse climate change. The Great Barrier Reef CAN be saved, as can land that is being devastated by drought. There are management strategies and technologies that are out there working right now and my talks will showcase what is possible IF we choose to act together on these issues.
For further information about Brisbane’s Eco Expo this September, and to find out more about the ‘one eco step’ theme, visit: https://savetheworldexpo.com.au