Transition Politics: Communities embracing change
By Jo Roberts
My name is Jo Roberts, and I am running for a position as a councillor for Leeton Shire in the Local Government Elections on the 4th of December. I am passionate about developing a transition-focused local council.
At its core, transition politics is about building a community's capacity to connect, and make collective decisions during times of significant change. We face such a time now, and I want to be involved in helping my community engage in necessary conversations, activate our agency, and then deliver change on the ground together. I am seeking your support .
I believe in the vision of an abundant, vibrant, inclusive and sustainable way of life. I want to work with you to build and deliver this future together.
My message for Leeton Shire is this: Let's begin to turn our hearts and minds towards the future, and create a shared well being together. Let's build trust and move toward optimistic solutions. Let’s start these community wide conversations now, because we need the wisdom and energy of everyone to succeed. Together we can build opportunity, connection and hope for our community.
I want everyone in Leeton to be the recipient of a more inclusive prosperity that is sustainable moving forward. I want to see all stakeholders valued and heard.
Some of my goals are to establish pathways towards:
A COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY
- Leeton Shire becoming a net energy producer via investment in renewables.
- Localisation of food production and further support of community food networks.
- Incentives for businesses and homeowners/builders to invest in solar passive designs and improvements that mitigate the effects of climate change and create a more resilient sustainable economic community.
- Significant investment in eco-friendly new social housing, and upgrades of existing resources.
- Setting up education around grants for climate initiatives.
A RESILIENT COMMUNITY
-A heatwave plan with designated safe spaces
- Further subsidies to support the established community transport network.
- A focus on education around sustainable projects and development that contribute to the solutions needed for climate change.
- Support for and expansion of grassroots initiatives that enhance the social cohesion and mental health of our community
- Policies that prepare our communities, businesses, and the agricultural sector for the transition from cheap fossil fuels to a thriving successful sustainable economic community.
- To establish more shade trees within the Shire.
- Increased green space and biodiversity, with a focus on locally occurring native species that are better adapted to climate change.
- Support council initiative to explore a masterplan for heat island effect within Leeton township
- Protection and enhancement of remaining remnant bushland.
Localisation is central here. Shifting towards meeting more of our needs locally will strengthen our community, and increase resilience to volatile prices, supply chain disruption and economic instability.
I want everyone in Leeton to be the recipient of a more inclusive prosperity that is sustainable moving forward. I want to see all stakeholders valued and heard. Inclusive change takes time, and begins with greater accessibility to political processes and decision-making.
For a while there in my 20’s I moved to the city. I struggled, as many country kids do, and I eventually decided that I needed to return back to the Riverina. Until I moved away, I didn’t realise how profound an experience it is to grow up in a rural community. What a deep connection you have to seasonal cycles and what having space around you means psychologically. It’s such a great lifestyle, but one that’s easy to take for granted.
A big part of ensuring this lifestyle moving forward is shifting from a utility to a regenerative model of land use. There is a perception that we somehow have to make a choice between development and the environment, but the two are deeply interconnected. The land, soil and waters of our Shire are more than a resource, they are the source of our current and future prosperity. The liveability of our towns and villages for our children and grandchildren is dependent upon the viability and sustainable maintenance of the country we rely on.
Having worked with landowners and communities in the Riverina for the past 20 years in the field of ecology and bush regeneration projects, I have seen the transformations of the natural world that climate change has initiated. What used to work, no longer does.
The seasons are shifting. The springs come on hotter and faster and the autumn cropping break is less reliable. The mutually supportive and predictable cycles that have evolved over thousands of years are falling out of sync. The connection with the land that I cherish, and my sense of belonging sometimes feels at risk of being severed. I know I am not alone in these feelings.
It's easy to fall into a cycle of disengagement or despair over climate change. It’s daunting to face the inevitable shift towards the end of the cheap fossil fuels that we rely on. On the one hand there’s the feeling that time is running out and we need to act now.
On the other hand, feelings of overwhelm at the speed of change, and grief at all that is being lost, slow us down, and we can feel unable to act at all.
It all seems too huge and too vague. The only place we can act in a meaningful and specific way is where we live.
We need to work together to find solutions.That requires a willingness to embrace more direct and participatory forms of democracy, and create ways for people to become involved. Building trust and the ability to cooperate. We need to begin these conversations and the creation of opportunities now.
Local councils have a big role to play in this process, and I’m counting on your vote to help make this necessary transition.
Authorised by Jodi Roberts, 3 Elberta St, Leeton, NSW, 2705