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Byron Shire
December 4, 2022

Frugality

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Being of Richard Jones’s age, I can agree with his essay about the need for frugality to offset climate change.

One good place to start might be unnecessary petrol use. I’ve read that something like half a million trips are made every year by people from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay, just for the day.  During World War 2, petrol was rationed, and people were encouraged to ask themselves, ‘Is this trip really necessary?’ 

For me the worst effect of short-term holiday letting is that it forces people to live far outside Byron Bay, causing long commutes.

Another issue is wasting food. I’ve read that one-fifth of all food purchased is wasted, and certainly, looking at restaurant tables after people have left seems to confirm such a figure. The wasted food contributes to the ‘greenhouse effect’. Overseas, climate change already seems to be causing widespread famine. My parents exhorted me to think of famines and not waste the abundance while we have it.

Another area that my parents would have commented on is couples separating. People today seem to think it is OK to walk out on any relationship, and maybe when there are only two people involved, that’s true.  But they felt it was a disgrace to have kids and not stay together amicably.

Rising population doesn’t cause the greenhouse effect, but it certainly exacerbates it: more petrol burned, more energy used, more cement for new buildings. If pressure for commitment causes fewer babies, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Finally, perhaps it is wise to be ready for hard times. The authors of The Millionaire Next Door, which is about people who get rich by steady saving and investment, say that an adult should have one year of salary in savings for every ten years of working life.

That means a person of forty should have about two years of salary salted away. And yet many people today, or so we read, live from paycheque to paycheque. If a flood or a new disease takes away their job, what is going to happen?

I can’t say that I’ve been letter perfect on these issues myself, but I agree with Richard Jones that the new wave of the future may be a need for frugality.

Charles MacFarland , Ewingsdale


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