Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Take back your power

sunflower-powerWe all know the world needs to change. The old models just aren’t working anymore. Human beings are becoming tired of being referred to as consumers. Consumers are tired of being forced to be complicit to the ethics of corporations they find morally bankrupt in exchange for the basic provision of goods or services.

We know about climate change. We know about peak oil. We know about the impacts of fracking. We know about the challenges of safe storage of the byproducts of nuclear energy. We know our planet is heating. We know that government and corporations have to make structural, philosophical and real changes to the way they do business.

We know that we have to make changes. On the one hand we are told that we as individuals can make a difference. We can recycle, we can eat organic and locally grown, we can cut out plastic, we can walk rather than drive, we can build our houses so we don’t need heating or cooling.

Others tell us that unless the change comes from the top, it’s pointless. And while the models may be unsustainable, they are still profitable, so why would any self-respecting capitalist invest in a long-term strategy? The messaging is confusing because there is just so much of it and, in the end, everyone is right. Change has to come from the top, but it also has to come from the bottom. So what can we do that’s different?

Right now in the northern rivers we have a unique opportunity to take back our power. Literally. Just a few weeks back COREM (Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby) launched their initiative to create community-owned renewable energy – with a vision to making the biggest little town completely self-sufficient.

This is an exciting project, made even more exciting by the emergence of social enterprise ENOVA Energy – a new community-owned renewable-energy company. ENOVA is Australia’s first licensed community-owned retailer. By investing in our company either as shareholders or by switching providers, we could be creating our own energy and feeding back into our own community-owned company! That’s a company with the interests of our community at heart – guaranteeing up to 50 per cent of net profit back into community projects.

Our community-owned energy company won’t be investing in fracking or coal or oil. It’s about moving towards renewables. When ENOVA is fully operational it will become a model for other communities. Imagine if, all over the country, community-owned companies committed to renewables and community re-investment started popping up in place of the large top heavy corporations with no commitment to anyone but their shareholders! Millions of dollars that leave regional areas like ours would be kept in circulation here.

Community-owned suppliers like ENOVA are part of a systematic change towards decentralisation, destabilising corporations used to market domination. In the same way farmers markets have taught us about the importance of localising our food supply, the same has to happen with our energy. It’s part of the Big Change that can only be enacted by Little People. We just need lots of them!

ENOVA are on target to meet the capitalisation process and have $1.75 million already on the way to the $3 million required by November 27. To find out how to invest in your own community company go to and check out the investor’s page. Personally I can’t wait to tell my supplier that I’m changing companies to something ‘that prioritises renewables and belongs to my community’. Maybe this ‘People Power’ thing is more literal than we thought?!

One response to “Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Take back your power”

  1. Katrina Shields says:

    Great article Mandy. I couldn’t agree more. Enova is the most exciting and game changing initiative to secure community owned renewable energy for our region. It is the way to go and I couldn’t wait to become a shareholder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers.