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Living Lightly column

Innovate to Regenerate

By Kirsten Coates

What would Australia look like by 2030 if we simply listened to the needs of its people?

Imagine what a high-speed rail network connecting regional areas and cities would look like! Imagine what large scale wind, solar, battery and hydrogen projects would do for hundreds of thousands of employees and imagine the impacts of landscapes coming to life when regenerative agriculture and reforestation programs combine with Indigenous knowledge and fire ecology to bring more people back onto the land.

And imagine if communities were actively supported to develop and implement local projects that would work towards these goals.

Currently World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Australia has initiated a funding challenge to ‘Innovate to Regenerate’ and will invite local communities and experts to establish regenerative projects and bring to life solutions identified by the community. WWF-Australia is providing $2 million in seed funding and will collaborate with investors and donors to help the best ideas get off the ground.

To kick start the project an Australian film company has made a short film that will tour the country this year as a free ‘special event’ cinema screening. The film “Regenerating Australia” was made in 2020 after months of listening to almost 1000 rural and urban Australians across a range of ages, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and political persuasions. The film records their experiences and their hopes and dreams of an improved Australia that could emerge from this moment. It documents people’s frustrations with decision makers, their anger at the mismanagement of landscapes and the sadness of all that has been lost.  Their united catch cry is a yearning for empowered and reinvigorated communities.

Following the predicted hundreds of community screening events and design workshops, toolkits and learning resources will then be rolled out to support communities to develop and implement local projects. Personalised action plans will help audiences find their agency, community activation toolkits will support discussions around a localised 2030 vision and Regen Bootcamps will assist participants to develop their ideas.

The selected projects will have access to subject matter experts, the $2m ‘solutions fund’ and impact investors looking to scale up projects that deliver social, environmental, and economic benefits to communities around Australia.

You can catch the film “Regenerating Australia” on Saturday 12th March at the Yackandandah Public Hall.

For more information visit: www.regeneratingaustralia.com