A Tom Foolery Fairy Tale or actually the lessons we had to learn from COVID 19 – A way forward to a sustainable region.
I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now – the rather profound Tom Foolery Facebook video – The Great Realisation. Despite the devastation this virus is causing, there are some clear lessons being learned by us all, and there is hope for the post COVID era, provided we all have the inclination to pay attention.
In the past 3 months, we have all seen what a world without pollution and fossil fuels could look like- clear skies, clear lakes, wildlife flourishing. It’s taken human containment / lock downs for everybody to so clearly see what we were doing to our planet and how quickly some changes can have a huge impact. Watching the oil price plummet to negative given the lack of demand, we now see how important renewables will be for our sustainable future world as the sun shines and the wind blows freely on Australian soil and requires no dependence for supply.
We all now see how fragile our Australian economy is as we have sold out to China and the like with 37% of our GDP dependent just on China alone. For example we import – 95% of our fuel from the US and Middles East, all essential chemicals for water sanitation (that was mind blowing to realise), all the components essential for our communications network, 99% of essential medicines and the list goes on and on. Australia is a real sitting duck from an essential supply point of view and its not a good look in our current situation.
It is the world WE ALL created and so WE ARE all to blame, not our governments. WE ALL fueled the demand for cheaper, quicker, faster so now WE ALL must accept responsibility. We drove out manufacturing and other industry because of OUR global consumer choices for a product that could only be made by people working for below minimum wage in substandard conditions- for the sake of a T-shirt that costs a $1.
Now perhaps we will understand how important it is to strengthen Australia’s internal industries- particularly manufacturing. When 97% of PPE comes from China doesn’t that just make you gobsmacked. How fragile we become in a pandemic because of our country’s dependence. The WA Health Minister announced on the 2nd May 2020 that a new collaborative initiative was now manufacturing PPE in Malaga. How Fantastic is that! Now we are talking. What else can we manufacture or produce in WA? Seems a tad ridiculous to have two large Lithium mines on our doorstep, only to be forced to buy the lithium battery from another country. Australian made options typically sell for a higher price. I’m sure there are levels of complexities to these statements which I don’t do justice, but it does make a point of how often we sell out as a country.
It’s time we again produce our own products to sustain our own country. This is not a nationalistic, racist, Trumponian or discriminatory statement, but just plain common sense. We simply can do better as a country. In the South West Region alone, we have a myriad of local wineries, farms, fresh food producers, artists, services and mineral resources at our finger tips. Its time to put our focus upon these businesses standing right next to us, as they are the key to a sustainable future, one that is not reliant on a long imported supply chain. We can create this new LOCAL demand with our NEW choices. Remember the Buy Australian campaign, the campaign we forgot whilst we were drooling over the new tech product made overseas.
A simple and easy example, buy beautiful Icon Honey from Miles, as advertised on the Our South West market, versus the supermarket mass produced options. Buy your veggie and fruit boxes through the likes of The Shed markets, BGs Farmstand and the many other directly sourced local options on a community online market. We are aiming for the ability to purchase most of your supermarket options locally and have them delivered to your door.
Tourists and visitors come here for exactly that reason, to purchase farm or producer direct and have that “Village Experience”. Its that yearning for meaningful connection to the product and a knowledge of the business and the person that made it. As far as marketing goes, that is priceless and something Coles, Woolworths and Amazon never achieved and never could. Its a new mindset for this region, but a worthwhile one. What else can we manufacture or produce in WA.
“Our South West Community E-commerce” is a project that is a supercharged “regional economy” revival campaign. Time to get back on track starting right now! Hope you can all join this new mindset to create sustainability in our region. We can create a Community Ecommerce market and the delivery network which gives you the same options as the large supermarket chains. But you will have the satisfaction of knowing your local producer is directly benefiting from your purchase not a group of shareholders.
Let’s not make the same mistakes again of looking outward and thinking cheaper, faster and global is better. When you add up the cost to the planet ( product life-cycle analysis) of importing all our needs and the cost to local and regional business by ignoring their direct and sustainable worth, the realisation is that Covid 19 is teaching us some solid life lessons right now.
“Our South West” is a social enterprise and currently offers a free online e-commerce platform and free marketing solution for South West Business and Services.
So let’s start again, let’s look inward, change our mindset, create better habits and rebuild and support what is already around us.
Seems like common sense to me!
Cheaper and faster is not better these days, in fact its a dangerous road with a dead end.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon, either as a new Vendor or a local customer.