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Our town is the place where we can make a difference





It's hot in the northern hemisphere.


Wildfires across Canada, 50C days in northern China, flash floods, tornadoes. The highest average global terrestrial temperatures in 125,000 years. The oceans warming and the knock-on effects for fisheries, ocean currents and weather patterns are appearing not in 10 years, but now.


Here in Riddells Creek, we’re through the bottom of the year. The acacias are the opening act for what looks like being a good Spring in Barrm Birrm, though being dry, things will likely come on early. Soon the birds will shift gear from their winter lull and the dawn chorus will rise resplendent, layers of melody to gladden our unsettled hearts.


I find it a strange thing, being caught up in the big cycle of human history, with all its trouble, while living close to the cycles of the natural world. There, the sounds are intelligible to me, familiar. My daily feed of news and analysis pulls me away into the global cacophony.


I've started to feel how the town sits midway between that tumult and the rhythms of the natural world. The town is a level of scale where we can wrestle with the big shifts coming at us, and make a bit of a difference. We can't stop the big changes, but in the town where we live, we can have some influence on how they play out. Staying with the trouble to borrow Donna Hathaway’s felicitous phrase. Not hoping for the best, not turning away. Staying with the trouble.


This is what What Riddell Wants is about, a process founded on a stubborn intention to make the place we live in the place we want to live in.


We’re quite a bunch – talented, opinionated, warm-hearted. Passionate. Stubborn. Taking coordinated action will not be easy for us. As people who are ready do what needs to be done, going our own way, we run the risk of not connecting to what others are doing.


I’m betting that working together itself will be the making of us.


Why? Because one solution to suburbia is doing stuff together, for the good of the whole. We want a country town with a village feel – well, the village feeling starts right here, in the way we work together.


If we use the talents we each bring and are generous and supportive of each other, we will make a better town, and have a good time doing it.


Ross Colliver, Riddells Creek Landcare

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