18.8 C
Byron Shire
January 25, 2021

Storylines: Bring back the balance

Latest News

Trusted window

Dave Rastovich, Broken Head As someone who happily does not participate in the woeful communicative medium of social media and...

Other News

From high fashion to flowers, fruit and veggie farming

Briana Atkins was only two weeks old when her parents decided to leave Brisbane for a tree change, buying...

Of concrete & canals

Matthew Hartley, Byron Bay A sharp-eyed observer sent me a link to a paywalled article advancing the conversion of the...

Be alert for tick fever

Following the confirmation of tick fever in cattle on two properties in the Tweed area, North Coast Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries are reminding producers to be alert to the risk and practice good farm biosecurity.

Byron Shire Australia Day Ambassador announced

The founder of the Surfrider Foundation in Australia, Brad Farmer OAM, is the 2021 Byron Shire Australia Day Ambassador. 

Three young blokes having a crack at a dream

Story & photos Eve Jeffery Going into business can sometimes be hard work on top of more hard work, but Tommy...

Two charged with assault in seperate incidents

A man and a woman have been charged with assault after seperate violent incidents last week, one in Byron Bay and one in Mullumbimby.

This article is made possible by the support of Ninbella Gallery.

Belle Arnold

There was a time when humans were content with living in harmony with nature, our struggles were elemental and intricately connected to our survival.

We could not count the stars in the sky or the leaves on the tree, yet we understood the way they moved in relation to us and the natural world around us.  Our connection to the natural world was essential, and multi-faceted, we understood the connection between flowers and migration and the cycles in the sky country. 

Every living thing is connected, and in Aboriginal culture related through totemic and kinship connections.

Now, in a time of unprecedented luxury and abundance, humanity faces a tidal wave of mental unwellness. Humans have unravelled the mysteries, counted all the leaves and stars and named ourselves masters over the natural world.

Giant of the natural world. Photo David Lowe.

Destroying the magic of the natural world

We have destroyed the magic of the natural world and created new myths – like Santa, to give us something to believe in.  I know many people participate in the Christmas season out of the necessity to have something special in contemporary culture, some ritual or magic that gives our lives some purpose or meaning. It’s time that we reclaim this in a way that isn’t more excessive consumption.

Our obsession with consumption has hit the tipping point and unless we find a new way to fill our eternal void of need our planet will be uninhabitable. We all know this. Yet we continue to participate in this race of mass consumption, as we watch our mental health, and the mental health of those around us decline. Is it possible there is a link?

Living in harmony with earth country and sky country

For more than 60,000 years Aboriginal people living in harmony with earth country and sky country, observed an intricate balance, a deep respect and understanding of the world around us and our place in it. We took only what we needed, shared with our families and communities and were responsible for the other living creatures we co-existed with.

The recent deluge of rain was a reminder of the fragility of this balance and the potential for catastrophe when this balance is not maintained. 

Scientists describe the effects of La Niña and El Nino which are evident in the ongoing extreme weather incidents that have become more common, due to the effects of global warming. Indigenous peoples world-wide have been warning of this for decades. 

As a young activist I was driven to create change, to protect the planet from the onslaught of environmental devastation – I remember clearly a wise old aunty saying to me ‘bub – the mother will speak for herself’.  Unfortunately, it feels like we have reached that point – where the voices of all the custodians have been ignored and the earth is now speaking for herself.

Recent storm events

And the rain came. Photo Tree Faerie.

I was devastated to read Nickolla Clark’s account of the damage to the midden system in Byron Bay due to the recent storm events. 

Byron Shire, like most of Australia, is rich with cultural heritage and sites from when life had a deeper connection to the natural world. Most Byron residents would be aware of the tireless efforts of the Bundjalung people, including the locals Arakwal people, in protecting country and preserving these sites, and stories of a time when humans worked to preserve a balance between anthropogenic mass and biomass, between earth and sky country. 

Image Tumisu – Pixabay

Our society’s current obsession with consumption has brought a new wave of dispossession as the cost of living here is far out of reach for most people, and yet the spirit of country is what people are attracted to. It’s time to place greater value on survival and the balance of the natural world. Respect the custodians who have cared for country for so long, starting right here in Byron Bay.

Belle Arnold. Photo Tree Faerie.


Belle Arnold is a local dubay of Wakka Wakka descent. ‘Living off country I pay my respect to the Arakwal people and the wider Bundjalung people of this land,’ says Belle. 

Belle has worked in community for 15 years, Belle is an artist, dancer and weaver working across many other mediums. Belle is passionate about community and has committed to empowering women and young people through cultural practice. She has worked in government, arts and community organisation to advocate for improved access to land, culture and services. Belle is currently employed at Desert Pea Media as the Projects Manager.


More Storylines articles

Storylines: Bring back the balance

There was a time when humans were content with living in harmony with nature, our struggles were elemental and intricately connected to our survival.


Storylines: Advance Australia Where?

Australia, as a nation, is at a crossroads.


Storylines: NAIDOC Week 2020 – Always Was Always Will Be

It’s fast approaching that time of year when Black Lives do Matter – National Aborigine and Islanders Day Observance Committtee (NAIDOC) Week.


Storylines: Decolonise or Technologise

Imagine if we passed laws that were about caring for the land and the people, returning the old ways, bringing back the lores from the first cultures of ‘Australia’.


Storylines: Winds of change

What is the fear that immerses us to such a degree that we become immobilised? I felt that fear in the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the news actually started to make me feel ill, so I turned off the news and tuned in to my life.


Storylines: Our most vulnerable community

Doing the right thing. Staying home. Saving lives. But what if you’re not home. What if you are living off country as it’s too expensive to go home, or there is no work at home. What if you have no home?


Storylines: Surviving a pandemic in the colony

The toilet paper, and a measure of our societal maturity, were the first Australian casualties in today’s COVID-19 pandemic. The madness in the shopping centres were an early indicator that the leaders of the nation would need to step up. But as with the bushfire crisis, they did not.


Storylines: Unite and act

At this particular point in time, I am troubled – troubled by this country, Australia, that is destroying our lifeline, an essential component of all of our existences – Mother Earth. Is it possible for all of us to rise and meet the challenges that are now being presented to us all?


Storylines: Do not give us Invasion Day as a day of...

Echonetdaily is proud to launch Storylines – a series of monthly articles by Indigenous writers.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. There was a time before the slaughter of Aborigines and the bloodletting
    and the decimation of the tribes, the humen psyche then was content to live with nature and its laws
    But then along came Santa Claus and he told us how to live in his presence without a Voice in parliament.

  2. This is a great viewpoint and credible argument given the greed exhibited by humans in control. Many, many kind and loving people are willing to forego the material excess and decadence that we are told we want my media and marketing manipulaters. If “they” were like “us” things would be very different. The point to remember is that “they” will never turn back from the “false knowledge” ruining our beautiful earthly home. Divine intervention will be the only thing that can make a change needed. Sad but true.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Two charged with assault in seperate incidents

A man and a woman have been charged with assault after seperate violent incidents last week, one in Byron Bay and one in Mullumbimby.

Lismore police pursuit ends in charges

Police say a man has been charged over alleged pursuits and a crash overnight.

Drowning risk warning for Australia Day weekend

Royal Life Saving is urging the public to take care around water this Australia Day weekend, with their research showing that the risk of drowning doubles on public holidays.

How the study of dolphin airways could help save endangered whales

Paul Bibby A new study exploring the health of dolphin airways has revealed findings that could help save endangered whale species. During an eight-month study at...
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -