Curve balls have been thrown and as we all get our heads around what is and isn’t feasible, we need to keep our empathy at the fore.
One bite at a time Don’t lose sight of how far we’ve come. In the past 10 years, significant work has been and while everyone’s view will be different, without a doubt there has been progress. As we look to take on the generational challenge, the improvements you’ve made in water quality shouldn’t be forgotten or lost, with conflicting science being reported or the loudness of people trying to make positive change. We can’t throw a blanket over farming and how we improve water quality. Every situation is complex and different and should be treated that way if we’re going to make meaningful change that doesn’t put people over the edge. It’s daunting yes, but as human activist Desmond Tutu famously said, ‘the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time’. We’ve got this. Chin up, we’ve grappled with this before and now have the benefit of hindsight to do it better this time.
We’re all human Reactions of fear, anxiety, stress, grief and depression are natural. It won’t last if the appropriate support and compassion is there. Look after each other. While the unknown puts our limbic brain in overdrive, we can’t fall into old entrenched narratives that dislocate us from the rest of the country. We’ve been here before and know that doesn’t do us any good Let’s keep our eyes on the prize as we figure out how to survive, adapt and thrive as we reach for the new goal posts. We’re all only human and change is hard. For some it’s overwhelming for others the goals may already have been achieved. What is encouraging though, and feels like a first to me, is the sentiment out there. This time there’s a notable empathy in the language being used and a deliberate inclusion of the urban populace in the problem, and solution, that hasn’t been there before. The time frame seems appropriate and less aggressive, but I’ll leave it for the experts to determine where the devil is in the details. The media have also been more balanced and careful in their coverage. I implore everyone involved in the process not to lose sight of the bigger picture (Cortical brain). If we give each other space and time to absorb what is being asked we can come to the table and do this better than last time. That requires the government to realise this needs significant time at the ground level making workable solutions relevant to each catchment. We all want the same thing, a healthy environment and economy for generations to come. It’s up to us whether we tear each other apart in the process, leaving people behind. There is room for all of us in our future, which requires us to respect each other’s values and work to align where we can. What that requires is a grounded and inclusive approach to solutions, so they are systemic and lasting. The government is forever changing but we as a generation are lasting and we’ve got this. Time will tell whether there will be victims to the law of unintended consequences, but right now we have got to start eating the elephant before the next generation arrives.