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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Splendour’s triple bottom line

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MAYDAY – MAYDAY – One hundred years ago today

One hundred years ago this week, around noon on Saturday 14 May 1921, the 2,000 tonne steamship Wollongbar ran aground on Belongil beach.

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The acrimony surrounding the proposed Yelgun festival site is because the environmental and social, as usual, tend to get pushed to the backburner in favour of the economic.

The triple bottom line of sustainability as a three-legged stool with legs labelled economic, social and environmental is mostly not understood or is being denied in western society. Because this culture prefers the economic, the economic leg on the stool is far longer than the other two, overturning the stool and warning of unsustainability. More economic activity, rather than the social and the environmental, makes the situation worse. In other words, preference for economic sustainability takes the society away from triple bottom line sustainability, not toward it.

Jan Mangleson (Letters, February 7) has emphasised the economic as a reason for supporting the festival. She also mentions that the younger generation would prefer a festival. In days of yore, festivals celebrated events such as getting the harvest in or events of spiritual significance. These days festivals take place simply because they can, at the cost of environmental and social sustainability. It is not an ideal role-modelling by the older generation for those whose eyes are newly opening to the adult world.

Mega-festivals in the midst of an environment crisis and as we enter the post-industrial world are an anachronism.

Festivals need to be smaller, more regionalised and performed as a means of bringing the local community together with a common theme. Local does not mean shirewide or interstate. It means more, involving one’s local catchment.

Geoff Dawe, Uki


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