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Extracting a Better Future for Leonora. Dora Marinova and Silvia Lozeva Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute. Sustainability. The sustainability concept has reframed the way we think about the world (Hartz-Karp and Newman, 2006)
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Extracting a Better Future for Leonora Dora Marinova and Silvia Lozeva Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute
Sustainability • The sustainability concept has reframed the way we think about the world (Hartz-Karp and Newman, 2006) • “Meeting the needs of current and future generations through an integration of environmental protection, social advancement and economic prosperity” (WA Sustainability Strategy, 2003) • “The characteristic of being able to coexist with another system indefinitely, without either system being damaged” (http://library.thinkquest.org/22403/data/medium/other/glossary.html)
“Sustainable development comprises types of economic and social development that protect and enhance the natural environment and social equity” (Dunphy et al., 2000: 23) • “A framework of principles, a philosophy of practice that engages multi-levels, places, cultures and actors in a systematic approach towards better environmental and social health whilst simultaneously allowing the economic improvement that this may require. Sustainability emphasises the importance of the local, of knowledge and action, but relates this to a broader global perspective in which interrelationships are recognised” (McGrath and Marinova, 2004)
Sustainability journey Environmental protection and improvement Economic development Ecological economics SUSTAINABILITY “Sense of place” Community health Social development
Sustainability and people • “all history — as well as current experience — points to the fact that it is man, not nature, who provides the primary resource: that the key factor of all economic development comes out of the mind of man”(Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1974, p.64)
Leonora Tourists FIFO Tourists Settlers Aboriginalcommunity Public servants Tourists
Economic development • A mining town • Pastoralism • Tourism • Regional centre • school • hospital • library • airport
The mining community needs to develop the human resources potential which is already here. • Three mining camps… not much mixing with communities • All high-skilled people are spread very thin. • I don’t have more kids with the mining industry. The only benefit I have is monetary. • The good kids will miss out. They are not pushed to better standards outside of Leonora. Next step after school should be traineeship, and if that is not secured, than what future do the kids have? • Not much wealth kept here.
Social development • Human capital • Social capital • HIV/AIDS
Where are they? You never see them! When they fly out they probably even bring back the toothpaste with them. • If the mine closes governmental services are still going to exist. There are still going to be gardening and horse riding and great climate to enjoy; I feel part of the town. • Primary School is quite good here. I am glad they [his two children] have the opportunity to study here, where they can develop their potential. It also helps us as parents, being able to observe and encourage their progress. I think that this would not be possible in a big school, like in Perth for example.
Nearly 70 per cent of all children are from Indigenous population. The Aboriginal kids are behind from the start due to their lack of enrolment in pre-school and poor development from an early age. That's why we try to play interactive games and try to get them involved in as many activities as possible. • Picture theatre used to be important, the miners used to come here. • 16-20 year-old – lost soul generation
Other communities in remote areas have everything set up for them before they move in. White contractors move in and build every thing and then move out, Aboriginals are then left to themselves with no knowledge of what to do if anything goes wrong, and with no idea of how to do any repairs or maintenance to the homes. This is what happens when our people have their lifestyle stolen away from them, when the reserves are sold to mining companies and mining companies take over pastoral properties and the Aboriginal stockmen are left with no employment, so they finish up on the outskirts of the towns and they cannot adapt to European way of living. When I look at all the other communities, and read of all the dollars that have been wasted I realise how far ahead of every one else I am. • These are my plans for Corringie Settlement to build this place up so my children can live here free from the mad viscous circle of drink and drugs in the city (1999) http://www.wilja.asn.au/postscri.htm
Environmental protection • Value of minerals and petroleum Leonora: $2,747,991,805 (DoIR, 2007) • Surrounded by pastoral holdings • Oil dependent • Commodity prices
PV should be everywhere • Climate here is better than in Perth • You feel part of town… Leonora is always going to be here… this is the best town to live in this area • I have my own wood, meat, veggies, cost of living is cheaper, cash jobs everywhere • We have a desalination plant to get rid of the chemicals from the soil • There are too many kangaroos nowadays because there is water everywhere
On weekends and holidays we always make sure we go bush to relax and enjoy our way of living and to teach our young people our ways to survive in the bush and our laws and culture, which has been handed down to us from our elders who have gone before us (1999) http://www.wilja.asn.au/postscri.htm
Complexity • Sustainability is about complex systems (eg desert settlements) • Co-existence • Integration • Development/evolution • Knowledge • Do these complex systems have the capacity to learn and adapt to survive in the future? • The argument of this paper is that co-evolution, through cooperation and knowledge generation, is the process which will make a desert settlement adapt and become sustainable
Segregation and complex systems • Shelling’s tipping model (1978) – mild preferences of individuals to be with like others can result in highly segregated social systems • Nested systems/societies • Eriksen (2007) – anthropologically complex societies and the matrix of socially/culturally open/closed societies, acknowledge: • the existence of ethnic, religious or other culturally-distinctive communities and their relevance for people who belong to them (or refuse to do so) • that cultural and social dynamics are independent of each other • that all voices need to be heard by all
Societalisation • This is a process with a tendency for social systems to be brought into alignment, including social relations associated with gender, ethnicity, culture, class and nation (Walby, 2007) • It describes the emergence of new discourses and practices in governance – negotiated decision-making, communicative governance, co-operative management, interactive governance (Leroy, 2003) • It is a different way of thinking of the changing relevance of space • It is particularly relevant to thinking about the long-term future of a desert settlement
Participatory democracy • Creating a bottom-up approach to Leonora’s sustainability • Can help establish “simpler, more powerful meanings that tap into our common language and that empower us to take effective action to actually achieve the sustainability of the things we depend on and the things we love” (Sutton, 2004: 8) • Connecting and linking people is a major knowledge management activity which allows stories to be shared and innovation to occur (Snowden, 2002)
Co-evolution • “Rather than a simple hierarchical or nested relationship, complex adaptive systems co-evolve, mutually adapting during the process” (Walby, 2007: 463) • Co-evolution allows for new knowledge to emerge that can support a more sustainable future
Adaptive complex systems “This organisational form, and the behaviour that structures it, leads to the emergence of a collective intelligence that in turn drives forward the same processes in feedback loops leading to a substantial increases in agency and potential”(Chesters, 2004: 11) • Emergence refers to macro outcomes produced by reflexive actors engaged in complex patterns of interaction and exchange, which are unexpected but are historically determinate and unknowable in advance. • The feedback loops allow for strength, durability, and interconnectivity to be built and reaffirms the praxis that facilitates the emergent properties. • Increases in agency and potential come from increased reflexivity by all individuals, groups and organisations.
Leonora Government: regulations & infrastructure Market: goods & services SUSTAINABLE DESERT SETTLEMENT Community: values & visions
What is unique about Leonora is that it is a T-junction, a lot of tourists come here • Leonora was kept by mining, small contractors, labs with unskilled labour, mining is always going to be here. It is a fuel stop, has a caravan park, it is diverse – depends on different things. People move out, then move back… • We have enthusiastic teachers: let’s do it, have a go, courageous, love science • We have to do things ourselves, independently, stand out, bite your tongue. We have to be confident… Break preconceived ideas…
Conclusion • Leonora is a very diverse/heterogeneous desert settlement – mining, pastoralists, Aboriginals, tourists, services • A process of societalisation can enable co-evolution of knowledge and adaptation • Participatory democracy can facilitate such a process, shape sustainability aspirations and allow for dialogue and deliberation on the town’s future
The authors want to acknowledge Cooperative Research Centre Desert Knowledge for helping fund this research.