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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

Resilience – what does it mean to you?

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Retired NSW Democrat then Independent MLC Richard Jones. Photo supplied

The Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow is kicking off from February 13, with a series of neighbourhood events planned across the area.

Organisers are asking the question: How do we create more resilient communities in 2021?

Retired NSW MLC and ceramist Richard Jones, will be a guest speaker at the Bangalow event, and he has provided his thoughts on that question.

‘We need to regard this time as the New Renaissance – the time to rethink how we live and what our priorities need to be. We need a new normal’.

‘In the past year, many have rediscovered the joy of growing their own food and spending more time with friends and loved ones. Some are finding they can work successfully from home or can pivot their businesses in ways they never imagined. Workplaces too have had to become more flexible and creative.

‘As a result there’s been a shift away from the fast-paced grind of city living and an exodus to the regions. Many simply don’t want to give up this new slower version of life where they have time to bake and break bread with their family and do things they love.

‘Here’s an idea: in the Northern Rivers we have a reasonable water supply and there are considerable amounts of underused land that was once luxuriant rainforest that could be rewilded for example, or used for highly productive regenerative food growing, rather than low grade cattle grazing or “lifestyle”

‘We need to develop a program of cooperation with owners of underused acreages to allow young farmers access to land for living and growing. In this way we could become more locally resilient with food production, give back homes to the wildlife and, importantly, provide a way for younger people to access land that is currently out of their reach due to spiralling costs.

‘One major lesson this pandemic has taught us is the need for greater community cooperation and resilience, supporting each other and local businesses through times of crisis.

‘Keeping wealth, in its broadest sense, within the local community is critical for our long-term resilience. We are doomed if the young people who grow up here cannot afford to live and work here.

‘The pre-pandemic way of life is over. We can’t return to what was regarded as normal.

‘It isn’t “normal” to consume vast amounts of non-renewable resources producing single use non-reusable, non-recyclable unnecessary products.

‘It’s not “normal” to trawl the oceans of most of the fish and dump plastic and toxic chemicals into it to poison what’s left.

‘It’s not “normal” to pump billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to create a climate crisis threatening the entirety of life on Earth!

‘All this now has to change, and each of us need to play our part in bringing about those changes’.

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