Local Leaders | Town Talk: Give your ear to educated experts

This week I went along to a fungi workshop at Tombarra. There were about 30 people there, mostly from the farming sector, but others too with an interest in the mushroom family.

It is enormously pleasurable to be in the company of experts who take delight in imparting their wisdom to willing listeners. It's not the first Martin Royds workshop I've attended with an emphasis on land management and rehabilitation. They are always high-energy affairs.

Martin and I first went to Baramul Horse Stud in 2007 to make a video about Peter Andrews and his natural sequence farming methods. His enthusiasm was contagious and it was hard to understand why his NSF principles faced such strident regulatory thwarting.

Fortunately, just up the road from here at Mulloon Creek, the late, great land management warrior Tony Coote was inspired to promote NSF after meeting Peter Andrews. Tony had the commitment and the resources to outlast the sceptics and now, 12 or so years down the creek, everyone is seeing the positive results and the politicians are taking note.

Knowledgeable and enthusiastic experts are what we need, not just in land management but in all areas of modern life. Renewable energy is a special interest of mine so let's start there. So many tales of woe are being told about solar and wind's chances of providing reliable power 24/7 it would serve us well to check who is saying it.

Sceptics, apart from the purely bloody-minded ignorant type, often fall into two categories: the regulators and the purveyors of existing technology. The first group just can't be bothered learning anything new and the second are protecting their lucrative patch. If we're going to have progress we have to find ways to bypass the naysayers.

Here in Braidwood we have many people enthused by the possibility of having a community-owned electricity supply with the profits staying with local users. The next step is to commission an expert or two to show us what we could have and how we best go about getting it. Exciting times.

Paul Cockram

Paul Cockram