Thoughts about the Victorian Landcare Council Forum 13-15th May 2016, Dookie College Melbourne University

Disturb peace and get on with it, by Naomi Edwards // Intrepid Landcare

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Nothing beats the youthful energy and enthusiasm of a young land carer. Their refreshing approach, reflective appreciation and go hard attitude injects new ideas and inspiration for those who have wandered along the windy, holism and sometimes lonely path of Landcare. For me, nothing beats meeting new enthusiastic young land carers and watching them grow through their own discovery of Landcare.

Landcare is many different things for many different people.

As time unfolds so does our own self discovery and soon enough, if lucky, Landcare becomes part of a core personal value ­ to care for the land and water. This value has taken me hostage to be an innovative disruptor of Landcare or as Ross Colliver brilliantly described me, “a disturber of the peace”. It takes a slap in the face to wake up and see the real potential of Landcare. I intrinsically re­connected to my first slap in the face, 10 years ago on a bare sand dune where I stood lonely with two other land cares that were beyond my years. I was not OK with being the third volunteer and the only lonely young land carer. I am still not OK with hearing similar stories and especially that there are no young people in Landcare.

This unsettling, impatient experience fuels my energy to share the Landcare movement and now Intrepid Landcare, a bold national network for creative, young intrepid land carers to inspire and connect other young people to act and lead with Landcare.

Supported by the National Landcare Network, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to inquire and engage in the grassroots of Landcare at the Victorian Landcare Council Forum held in Dookie, where the founders of Landcare literally took me under their wings. Intrepid Landcare was given a platform to settle the fears of the founders or actually reassure them that these intrepid land carers that have popped up, do have good intentions and a plan to make their ideas happen. A plan that involves disturbing the peace and old ways of thinking while bring what the founders have seeded and planted into the foreground of young dreams, self discovery and clever program design. That sounds waffly, but it’s certainly not flakey, because there is a growing team of intrepids and we will need all the mentoring we can get to never forget where we have come from and where we need to go.

Now that I am back home on the sunny, warmer than usual Gold Coast, that flaming passion has turned into a wildfire. Because the news is scary as Andrew Campbell franky shared at the Forum ­ see today’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald “When should we worry about climate change?”. It’s my friends and peers that will be living in a disturbing world of unknowns with climate change. Once it is was salinity, now it is mass coral bleaching, mangrove dieback and longer droughts, and dirty coal fired power stations and land clearing that is still being approved.

Never before have we needed to disturb the peace and get on with it. Get on with sharing the Landcare movement like we have never done before. Get on with connecting the innovators of Landcare. Get on with new ways of inquiry and engagement to build bridges between generations and opportunities, agencies and communities, and authorities and organisations.

After a weekend of knowledge sharing and maybe too many good reds I know that we have plenty of steam and passion to get on with saving our planet from collapsing ecological systems and our own humanity. I am extremely humble and thankful for have being given the opportunity to meet the esteemed land carers of Victoria and Australia. Every presentation, conversation and now connection has already injected new ways of thinking for Intrepid Landcare to be whatever you want it to be. For me, that is a new law of attraction for young people to be the change we need for Landcare, and our land and water. For Intrepid Landcare, it is to inspire, act and lead so that young people connect with their communities and care for the environment.

Intrepid Landcare would like to extend a special thank you to the National Landcare Network, Victorian Landcare Council, delegates of the Forum and the warm hospitality of Terry and Janet Hubbard.

If you know a young innovator for Landcare please connect them with Intrepid Landcare.

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