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Byron Shire
October 17, 2021

The time has come for Byron Shire to save the world – Mandy’s in, are you?

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Vale Frank Mills OAM 26.5.1928 – 3.10.2021

Frank Mills was a natural raconteur. So it was no surprise when his family found a folder labelled The Story of Frank Mills.  It contained this story (which his granddaughter has slightly edited) and two poems, with the instructions: ‘Not to be read until I’m dead’

Phillip Frazer

When we met, in 1971, Mungo MacCallum was already piercing the egos of Canberra pollies, and I was putting out a paper called The Digger, which championed the many movements seeking to replace cultures that had passed their use-by dates.

Fast forward to last year, Mungo was still hammering the LibNats for being arrogant rorters and fossil fools – and most of the alternative culture had essentially won their arguments: yes the environments, from global atmosphere to gut bacteria, are being trashed by dickheads for dollars, and yes, white guys armed with inherited power have treated the rest of us like shit, and no, the sky is not falling but it is overheating and the ice is melting and we’ve probably only got a few decades to turn our Titanic 180 degrees.

The counterculture has won the arguments, but moving on to implementation is still blocked by blockheads and big money.

And then there was 2020, the year of the COVIDS. They changed everything because they killed a lot of people quickly, everywhere on Earth, and because they revealed that the faster all our environments change, the more viruses mutate.

So we wonder how to stop all those lines on graphs from making 90 degree turns to pointing up, toward many versions of disaster…

At this moment in the story of our species, it’s insane that we are still forced to deal with trivia like PM Morrison

At this moment in the story of our species, it’s insane that we are still forced to deal with trivia like PM Morrison – an average-to-dim bloke caught up in a self-satisfying religion and a gang of macho political comrades who think saving ourselves from eco-catastrophy is giving in to ‘snowflakes’.

A very large number of very smart people have already figured out thousands of ways we, as a species, could reorganise life – social, economic, political, environmental, spiritual, and everything else. We could, for example, slash our airborne excrements by even more than the drastic cuts forced upon us last year by the tiny virus.

We should reconsider everything from BC (Before COVID) before we turn emissions back on. Like, say, flooding the world’s food markets with crap that feeds obesity, or assuming that universal car ownership is a good thing.

So, let’s consider some GOOD NEWS:

This Shire of Byron has 40,000 inhabitants, an excellent climate (except it’s getting wilder like everywhere is), great soil and water for growing food, despite the endless efforts some of us make to ruin them, good enough infrastructure and education, and lots of smart and imaginative people of all flavours.

The Echo is owned by two local families and a few other locals, so it could be way more adventurous, and given our species is on the brink of collapse, it should go for it

We also have a weekly newspaper that is among the handful in Australia not owned by creepy Murdochs, nor by backward-facing Peter Costello and his Channel 9 gang, and not yet undermined like the ABC has been by Morrison&Co because it allows new Australians on the screen. The Echo is owned by two local families and a few other locals, so it could be way more adventurous, and given our species is on the brink of collapse, it should go for it.

We also have a Council and some parliamentarians who are willing to stand up to the fossils etc, and now we have Mandy Nolan announcing that she’s sick of all the emperors wanking while the world burns, so she’s standing for Greens preselection to run for the federal seat of Richmond, now held by Justine Elliot of the Labouring-under-weak-convictions Party.

How about we gather all our Shire’s assets and turn this place into the Save Our Species Shire – do a test-run, be the first in the world. Begin building a fully sustainable community with below-zero greenhouse gas emissions, zero waste in rivers, soils, air, and sea, and zero imported things unless they come with a hard guarantee that their purveyors will collect and sustainably dispose of them when their useful life is over, which is a principle we should apply to all our local products and activities.

It could be a mission to become a living example of a community in which the sum of our impact on the planet and all its ecosystems is positive

And this shouldn’t be a show-pony thing – come and see our lovely but expensive windmills etc – it could be a mission to become a living example of a community in which the sum of our impact on the planet and all its ecosystems is positive – meaning we will clean up, remediate, and redesign everything in our Shire until our plan goes global and all those graph lines trend downward. We can reassess when the tonnage of plastic in the oceans is decreasing, greenhouse gasses are returning to earth, forestation is outpacing deforestation, food is safe to eat and isn’t dumped when it has a blemish, when sanity is overtaking delusion…

Why should we do all that?

Because we have to, if we are to survive. And because we could do it.

We were already over-qualified to lead the world in a comprehensive reboot of our way of life, and now we’re among the very few people who aren’t overwhelmed by the virus.

So – we are capable, and we have the tools and the plans and capacity to dream… don’t we?

Will the Byron Shire Echo become the paper of the Species Survival Echo? Mungo would have loved reporting on a parliament of Mandies.

Let’s give it a go! If not now, when?

If not us, who?


Phillip Frazer.

Phillip Frazer will contribute periodically in this space, to be known affectionately as Mungo’s page.

In 2010, Phillip returned to Australia after living in New York for 34 years. He began his publishing career by establishing Australia’s first rock ’n roll paper, GoSet.

In the US, he worked as an editor on political and ecological magazines, including his environmental newsletter News on Earth.

From 1999 to 2013, he published a progressive populist newsletter with Texas author and activist Jim Hightower.

Phillip’s website is www.coorabellridge.com.


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15 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that many Northern Rivers people are already believers in stepping up
    & can be seen supporting while doing most of what one could call a ‘good hit-list’.
    Thanks for the extra prompting, Phillip.

  2. Let’s do it ,, for MUNGO

    Maybe rescuing life on Earth, on Australia’s part, is a worthy legacy for his political truth-telling life, alone..

  3. No question – the numbers in the shire with a thumbs up for this are STILL way over the ‘here for the buck or a safe/nice place to be and Ill bring all my shit with me’ thumbs and as Bentley proved – we will still turn up and do what it takes! For Mungo, the rest of us and those who come after we should do it … there are not many places that COULD realistically do it but the Northern Rivers COULD – let’s go for reinstatement of the old ‘harmonic frequency force field’ and be a beacon of possibility!

  4. Mungo would find it amusing that loud mouth ScoMo’s upset the UK Queen-Size.
    Our primed-up-president elect’s statement that the UK aint ‘batch testing is NOT
    True.’ Each batch if fully tested & quality controlled before a person is injected.
    Our ScoMo makes a point that we needn’t hurry here because we don’t have to
    cut corners. Have Aussies got an answer for Foot in Mouth Disease? Blanket-
    stitch the lips.

  5. Nice thoughts. Good luck getting all the rich [email protected]*43^s who now call byron home on board though. They have priced a lot of good people out of town and if you hadn’t noticed, byron is a shadow of its former alternate self. Sad as it is.

  6. I hate to be a pragmatist but, as I’m sure the late and great Mungo would have agreed, all Mandy will do is pull votes from Labor (NB spelling Phil) and deliver Richmond to the Nationals as I’m sure the late Doug would also have agreed.

  7. Another advantage we have in this region is a vast amount of knowledge of sustainable practice, certainly enough to know that it’s considerably smarter economically. Can we find the 21st century entrepreneurs to take advantage of this?

  8. I’m in, but the thing is, until the housing affordability issue is somewhat resolved a lot of good people are just going to be treading water, unable to do much more than survive. We need people to have the time and space to imagine, innovate and contribute. I think a lot of people in the area are suffering from extreme fatigue from constantly living on the brink of homelessness and spending most of their income on housing.

  9. Excellent Climate in the byron shire Phillip ?
    Not according to the local government authority
    Why do we have so many people moving to the shire , holidaying etc . When a Climate Emergency
    Has been declared.. ? Surely most sensible
    People would be doing the exact opposite
    and moving out of the shire and heed the advice..
    Incidentally why are the Greens still living in the shire considering !! and advising we all do the same , in this Emergency phase .. they are usually
    Efficient at lecturing !! “Do as i say not as i do”
    Would come to mind .. uh just joking kids ..
    Sustainable living i say !!!

  10. It aint all billionaire’s roe, Barrow. Home is where you find it – no? Think – in the
    beginning land was affordable & most were far younger & chose to live away
    from city-life. Quit being your impossible self for a while. The pandemic is far
    larger than opinions that are a pain in the rear. Climate change is, & guess
    what, – not even you can run away from it.

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