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Byron Shire
June 16, 2024

Zero emissions Byron 

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Living in Byron Bay has, for some time, felt rather like inhabiting a home where a party has been thrown and the partygoers have stayed on and on.

I take no gratification from seeing my gloomy prognosis for the place from three decades ago being rather horribly realised.

I recall one of the slogans bandied about during the last mayoral stint was along the lines of ‘Zero emissions for Byron Bay…’. I disparaged it at the time; and now it’s just a bad-taste joke.

The hordes of people and their gas-guzzling (usually large) vehicles that continued here after the most crowded spring school holidays I can remember, make any spurious ‘zero emissions’ target recede like the galaxies.

I cannot think of a single addition or infrastructure – so-called development – that has improved the town’s aspect. Though I expect a lot of money has been, and continues to be, made.

I rarely watch films these days; but one I recall from television showings is Margin Call.

After the machinations of capitalism and its operators have reduced a big American company to its knees, after the firings of employees, after the cold sweat of fear of unemployment in US society has reduced some to tears, bereft of hope, the head honcho, played by Jeremy Irons, sits calmly eating an expensive meal. He suggests the numbed Kevin Spacey character stay on. ‘There’s a lot of money to be made,’ he observes, unmoved by the wreckage of others’ lives. It is a quintessential truth of the system.

Still the myth of Byron as place continues, the image happily utilised by commerce. 

The Byron Goose, as I wrote to this paper years ago – the one that laid the fairytale golden eggs – is well and truly cooked!

David Morris, Byron Bay

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