The network of Landcarers across Australia could be the key to a national recovery post-crisis.
Photo credit Canberra Times
Dr Patrick O’Connor, Chair of the National Landcare Network, has published an article for the Canberra Times defining what Landcare is – and what it isn’t.
Dr O’Connor explains the common misconception that Landcare is an “on-ground implementation program - engaging people in projects to plant trees, manage introduced species, protect endangered species, or otherwise halt environmental decline.”
While this can be true for the individuals and groups who work under the Landcare banner – this is “not what Landcare is really about” says Dr O’Connor.
“Landcare is a social movement for managing change. The movement is 30 years old and arose because Australians naturally care about places we know; we want to connect to people we share ideas with and we feel part of the environmental awareness that has grown alongside agricultural change in post-war Australia.”
Dr O’Connor explains that the National Landcare Network (NLN) is the representative voice of Landcarers at the National level. This means that the NLN and state are accountable to the collective of Landcarers on the ground – they engage the national conversation and make sure the Landcare movement fulfils its role for managing change.
Fulfilling the ‘Landcare ideal’ means that those involved in the Landcare movement will always have a voice. Landcarers will have a say in adapting actions to their local conditions, they will have a say in innovation, they will have a say in the fair distribution of funding, and they will have a voice in their group and all representative organisations.
Dr O’Connor believes that Landcarers will lead the way to recovery beyond the disruptions of natural disasters and COVID-19 as human health, the environment, society and the economy are inextricably interwoven.
“Stimulating community Landcare activities across Australia offers a huge opportunity to employ an underutilised workforce in improving the sustainability of our community and agricultural sector, and the environment on which it depends.” Dr O’Connor said.
The existing web of Landcarers doing incredible work to take care of their community, land, and environment is an incredible resource for nurturing impactful changes at the local and national scale.