Three Action Priorities

*Youth*
Priorities for regional action:

  1. Provide skills and tools to enable youth to do things themselves and have ownership themselves – for e.g. including mentoring, applying for grants for landcare projects
  2. Enable youth to be heard – and to be listened to! For e.g. council representation
  3. Recognise youth involvement – acknowledgment and reward for effort, for e.g. council awards, newspaper and promotion articles
  4. Support passionate youth to achieve their desires/goals, by providing resources online and other capacity building supports, for e.g. public speaking
  5. Enable community engagement at all levels to support youth and projects with an environmental focus – so that is not just a burden that needs to be borne by parents/teachers/Councils/volunteer groups or the youth themselves (to eliminate mixed messages and encourage sharing of burdens)
  6. Integrate and support youth involvement in community activities in responsible positions rather than “siloing” youth in youth-only activities or not-youth in the “normal” activities

Three Action Priorities:

  1. Environmental Youth of the Year Award – one for each Council and one for each service clubs
  2. Invite youth to establish facebook page to meet up and generate youth-led action and/or forum for environmental sustainability – and another page perhaps established by youth representative perhaps from ADC/and other Councils in NESAC - Add into position description emphasis on the environment (for youth officer in particular but also for everyone!).
  3. Support Youth festival for Sustainability either side of SLEX which has music and skateboard competition which features organic food stalls and sustainable resource use and displays – which each town in NESAC takes turns at hosting

* Global *
Idea of fostering global industry - encouraging the set up of supply industries overseas (eg for wind turbines or solar power).
Research and develop here with production abroad.

Three leading initiatives:

  1. Support existing initiatives which are learning from other international communities e.g. Sustainable Living Armidale/Transition Towns - Sister City Twinning with models of sustainability (e.g. Woking, Davis)
  2. Consolidate, grow and export our increasing knowledge about sustainability
  3. Promote Armidale as striving to be a sustainable community - our brand should be as a thriving, sustainable community

* Environment *
Priority Actions:

  1. Strategy to Revegetate the New England Region
  • Encourage sustainable farm practices
  • Integrate production
  • Integrate natural vegetation
  • Integrate food production
  • Retain and care for TSRs (Travelling Stock Routes)
  • Encourage involvement in Landcare etc
  • Education/Extension/Lobbying
  1. Establishing a Long Term Commitment for Sustainability in the Broader Community
  • Climate change
  • Local alternate energy
  • Local organic/farmers markets
  • Sustainable town planning/built environment
  • NESAC Climate Change Plan - influence higher level policy eg Carbon emission trading
  1. Local Farmers Market Support and Support for Organic Produce

Detailed Notes from Environment session
Jackie gave an overview of the interviews and brainstorm activities on the environment (scorecard?). Workshop with Landcare (SNELCC mtg) and workshop with Sustainable Living Armidale group.

Comments:
* A lot of topics can be both positive and negative
* Problem of preaching to the converted
* How to reach the greater audience
* Cohesion of small communities is a strength

Identifying regional actions, (trying to boil it down to three):
* Farmers markets in each community (local outlets for locally grown food, encourages people to grow food locally)
* Re: actions, that focus on either opportunities or challenges
* What are the big issues that need to be addressed?
* Over clearing of landscape – is there a way for reforestation to coincide with agricultural land use?
* Soils more important than forestry? Soils and forests go together. Vegetation is not just trees – and the purpose of revegetation can be multiple: commercial forestry, carbon sequestration, improving habitat value, improving biodiversity.
* The problem of political cycles and short term policies – the action is the long term commitment.
* Jackie clarified that environment scorecard was broad – not just commercial forestry.
* Actions – are high level things, not things we are going to do tomorrow – the actions are things that will be worked on over time.
* Smaller ideas feed into the broader action. Small – retention of travelling stock routes.
* Leadership coming from the community. Community ownership. Can these ideas be bundled into “whole of community with all levels of government” – still need the phrase “long term commitment” – how about “establishing the long term commitment to sustainability from the whole community”, need to know it is supported at community level.
* Still need to overcome resistance – not to be considered “imposed” on people – voluntary
* Support the expansion of the solar industry (or alternative energy)
* One problem with strategy meetings – notion that the environmental problem you don’t look at is the one that will get you in the end (problem of narrowing down to 3 main points)
* One problem – much greater capacity to do harm than good to the environment – what harm is happening and what we can do about it – the environment has been damaged, but in some ways its been recovering, some things are getting better
* Threat to sustainability is the legislative environment that people can have influence on – eg emissions trading scheme – will add 20% to costs of grazing – no care or accounting for positives (carbon storing in trees and grasses) – the debate is still on regarding ag being included in emissions trading – squeeze on farmers
* If Australia went organic – ag sector could cut emissions by 70% - one action could be to support organic farming
* Region as a whole should be thinking about the impacts of climate change – doesn’t seem to be a high level of awareness – knowledge base
* New England – ADC will commence a study re: impacts of climate change
* Suggestion – look at potential impacts – strong trends? Benefits?
* Ad-hoc responses unless impacts are defined
* The tablelands has had no water restrictions
* This region is going to be impacted by climate change, and everyone recognizes it as a major issue – is there a specific action in relation to climate change?
* Simple action could be – immediate level of government has a program of climate resilience (eg local government) – good knowledge base and education strategy
* Climate mitigation actions or climate agitation - some predictable things – death of trees in landscape as result of drought
* A lot more that councils can be doing about climate change – example given of north coast, hy not get the commitment of councils, have NESAC strategy for CC mitigation and adaptation – encourage community to reduce its consumption
* Grazing practices – agriculture (revegetation), stock feed, capacity to improve carbon stored in soils through change in practices (education)
* First action – local food distribution networks
* Publicise the positives. Publicise the small actions that make a difference – encourage the continuation of Landcare in the community
* Ag Sc degree 20 years ago – change in literature from traditional practices to consideration of sustainability, TV coverage of changes to land use practice
* Problem – adding categories to the list
* One initiative to come out of this session – 3 x action, and initiative on a broader level
* One of the effects of climate change on the coast will be population influx to the Tablelands – action would be to prepare for the future – more sustainable town planning and development
* Flow on from industrialization – population flow from country to city – a reverse expectation from cities to country
* Retention and care of TSRs – veg is being lost very quickly, migration of weeds, rapid decline of veg, mismanagement? Not RLPBs fault

Detailed Actions:

  • A strategy to revegetate the New England integrating production, native vegetation and food production
  • Retention of TSRs and care of TSRs
  • Establish long term commitment for sustainability amongst the broader community
  • Support for alternative energy locally
  • More influence on policy
  • Local support for organic food markets
  • Have NESAC strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Support local farmers markets and network
  • Encourage involvement in orgs like landcare
  • Publicize positives
  • Enc ourage sustainable grazing management and land use practice
  • Sustainable town planning and built environment

*Economics/Business*
Priorities for Regional Action:

  1. Diversification of Industry (value adding, business attraction)
  2. Long term local based policy (informed)
  3. New England to become a Showcase for 'Regenerative' sustainability (agriculture, natural resource management, lifestyle, etc)

*Social*
Developing Social Capacity

  • Defining range of social norms
  • Community enforcing these social norms
  • Participatory Decision Making through various forms of community avenues - Rotary, Council, Volunteer Groups, Social Services, NGOs, GPs, SNELCC, Schools, etc
  • Utilising all forms of media
  • "Road Map" => Information => Consult => Feedback => Action

*Governance*
Core Principles:

  1. Accountability for all Finances (NECU Community Foundation or Cooperative)
  2. NESSiE Convenors continue as focus groups to get together key stakeholders, fundraise, project manage and fine tune the Strategy
  3. Knowledge/Information is open-source, web-based, "creative commons" (Ideally need one day a week editing)
  4. New England Sustainability Strategy is developed for key regional stakeholders (cultural groups, CMA, NESAC, Landcare, Industry, UNE, Schools, etc)
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