The Oddfellows Hall in West Kempsey overflowed with people last Friday night (29th) with about 100 attending the community screening of the insightful movie 2040 organised by Macleay Living Sustainably.
Dunghutti Elder Uncle Bob Mumbler kicked off the evening with an eloquent Welcome to Country and a disturbing story of his encounters during his recent travels: of his people in the Torres Strait suffering the impact of sea level rise on their islands, and how the drying up of the river systems is affecting the lives and cultures of communities throughout Australia.
Coinciding with the bushfire catastrophe that is affecting all residents in the shire brought a unique focus and intensity to the event.
The film was preceded by moving and passionate performances and speeches by students from the local high schools as well as other speakers such as Arthur Bain from Bellbrook RFS and local farmer Bruce Raeburn.
These gave personal perspectives and commitments in supporting the issues at hand. All were in unison that the catastrophic bushfires, preceded by the extended drought and unseasonably high temperatures, are the result of climate change.
"This is the new normal", said Mr Bain. "This is what the scientists have been predicting for the past 40 years".
Mr Raeburn spoke of how he and neighbouring farmers were left to fend for themselves when the RFS had to leave them to defend Willawarrin.
"Our problem was we had no way of communicating with each other, and fires kept popping up from nowhere".
"Until politicians at all levels of government acknowledge the fact climate change is upon us and take appropriate action, these kinds of catastrophes are likely to get more frequent and more intense".
With its quirky humour, light touch and imaginative use of technology, the film helped us visualise what the year 2040 could look like if we actioned some of the "do-ables" that are already being practised around the world right now. A combination of storytelling, documentary and fiction, it inspired us with hope through demonstrating solutions and a wide range of cost-effective alternatives to an intractable problem.
Given the concerned mood of the audience, the film was almost therapeutic in its effect. There are already requests for more screenings of the film.
Mayor Liz Campbell, who attended in a private capacity, as did some other councillors, said afterwards, "the entire community should be seeing this film", and agreed to explore further community screening opportunities promoted jointly by Kempsey Shire Council and MLS.
Money from the raffle and donations raised on the night will go to the RFS, FAWNA and victims of the fires.
Council provided a printed summary about support for waste disposal for fire affected residents. For detailed information concerning the community recovery efforts visit Council's website to find out what is available from the three levels of government.
Councillor Bruce Morris introduced a short clip concerning the Local Government NSW campaign Save Our Recycling.
"This campaign seeks to have the NSW government fund recycling with the millions they collect annually from the waste levy that we all pay," he explained.
He also encouraged all in attendance to google Save Our Recycling, sign up to the campaign and review the other resources.
"And encourage your friends to sign up, as the more that sign up the stronger the message to the State Government" he added.
People are encouraged to join The Regeneration. Visit the 2040 website and sign up to start taking steps to a better 2040.
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