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Byron Shire
July 16, 2024

Relocalising to find the life we all dream of

Latest News

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Relocalise Northern Rivers at their recent strategy planning afternoon. (L to R) Simon Jankelson, Mandy Hallinan, Sally Cusack, Susan Wanmer, Jason Lasky and Hansa Natola.

Everywhere we look we see signs of economic downturn, environmental destruction and social breakdown. It’s easy to wonder how we can ever improve our lives and those of our kids. However, as Helena Norberg-Hodge (Founder and Director of Local Futures) explains, we can turn these downward trends around through relocalising our economies. 

Local group Relocalise Northern Rivers will be bringing these insights to Byron on 29 June when they present a screening of Local Futures’ newest film Closer to Home.

One year ago, a ‘Localisation Weekend’ was presented at The Farm by Local Futures and Local Pegs. Those present had their eyes opened to the enormous potential of local economies by a colleague of Helena’s, visiting US economist and lawyer, Michael Shuman.

They learnt that when you buy from a local business most of your spend stays in the local economy. And that when you spend in a franchise, the reverse is true. They were also surprised to see that small businesses with 20 employees and less are the most profitable and provide the most jobs when compared with large corporations. 

Michael Shuman also estimates that if Byron Shire residents were to move $90,000 out of their superannuation policies into local investment, the region stands to access a massive $2.8 billion. Michael’s decades of research also show that these investments would do as well as, if not better than, if left on the global sharemarket.

So inspired were a number of us by all that Michael had to share, we pledged to continue exploring together how we can relocalise the economy of this region. And so Relocalise Northern Rivers was born. 

We had all seen the impacts of the floods only the year before on our local food sources. With the roads blocking the semitrailers to the north and south of us, within days we saw supermarket shelves emptied. However, in spite of that, we could still continue to rely on our local growers (who weren’t flooded in) to bring their produce to our weekly farmers’ markets.

While this is reassuring, we are acutely aware that only a very small proportion of the food consumed here is actually grown here. We are also aware that few residents understand how vulnerable our supply chains are. As we continue to see rising fuel costs (and the disruptions of possible future border closures and wars), it really is high time that we look seriously at the needs of this region and how we can meet them locally.

Learn more!

Our first action is to present a screening of Local Futures’ newest film Closer to Home to raise awareness of how the global system impacts our individual lives. The screening is also to commemorate World Localisation Day 2024 – Local Futures’ celebration of the many grassroots initiatives to rebuild local economies around the world.

The film explores how our global economic system does not produce a trickle-down effect that benefits us all, as promised. Instead it leads to an upward sponge-like effect, where the wealth of the average income earner has been extracted up to the level of the relative few.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring documentary filmmaker and regenerative agriculture advocate, Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film and 2040). Henry Coleman from Local Futures and Techa Beaumont from Mullum SEED will also be on the panel and together will explore how localisation can benefit this region, and help lead us to the life we all dream of. 

Closer to Home will screen at 3pm on Saturday, 29 June, upstairs at the Byron Community Centre. Tickets $10, available at www.relocalise.org.


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