Instead of economies that need to grow - whether or not they make us thrive - we need economies that “make us thrive, whether or not they grow”, quotes Kate Raworth in her book Doughnut Economics.
It’s a slow read – mainly due to the amount of new thinking it is promoting in me. This new thinking includes how her approach could be applied to growing prosperity for our people and our place here in the Far North. And this is what excites me. When I consider the amount of resource that has been poured into the district over the decades it’s fair to say that not a lot has changed (noting youth unemployment is the lowest it has been for years). If anything, the divide between the haves and have nots appears to have widened.
For a long time now, I have felt frustration at the lack of fresh thinking (often caught up in legislative requirements). Recognising W. L. Bateman’s quote, “if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got”, I absolutely believe that our district is ripe for a bit of a fresh approach – maybe a radical one if we’re brave.
This will only come about if we work collaboratively, i. e. recognise that we are all in this together. We will also need a clear purpose to work towards. Asking the question, what does thriving actually look like on the ground? What does this mean for ALL of us?
And I love the idea of working out what it means to thrive without having to grow. Or at the very least growing in a planned, proactive way. One that sees any new development supporting and aligning with the best interests of our district. It will also raise the question of when is enough enough?
The Far North has the opportunity to come together and lead by example, which will mean challenging a lot of the status quo. Imagine that, rather than being known for a lot of the negatives, we become trail blazers in a more aligned approach that looks to see both our people and our place really flourish.
I absolutely recognise that this won’t happen overnight. However, unless we make the commitment to back ourselves and bring about a more balanced approach to prosperity, moving from a take, take, take, what’s-in-it-for- me model to a more holistic approach and the balance of giving and receiving, then nothing is likely to change much. And the reality is – we actually can’t afford to continue as we are.
We have major issues with our waterways and our flora and fauna is well under threat. Too many people, especially our young, have no aspirations and way too many of us lack any sense of value. So the question remains, what does thriving actually look like on the ground, and importantly, how do we bring this about?
Anyone keen on a coffee?