This conversation was recorded live, in Bangalow, as the third of five live interviews as part of Resilient Byron and Renew Fest's ‘Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow’
These are community forums in villages around the Byron Shire bringing people together to discuss and action how we can create resilient communities.
I was so grateful to have had the chance to sit in live conversation with Richard Jones who, back in the 70s wanted to make and sell ceramics at the markets but, by his own admission “kept getting side-tracked”
Those side-tracks included supporting major environmental campaigns, helping to establish Friends of the Earth Australia and Greenpeace Australia, and THEN serving in the NSW parliament for 15 years, often holding the balance of power on the cross bench and using it to negotiate to save old growth forests, create new marine parks, and protect Aboriginal rights.
Some side track!
Richard is an absolute joy to speak with, and you can’t help but smile listening to his bubbly enthusiasm.
But his quirky nature has meant that during his time in politics he was often chastised as a 'pot smoking nudist'… (I don’t know about you but a pot smoking nudist seems way more relatable than most politicians we see these days!)
Richard and I talk about his trips to inner space (literally, his acid trips), his reflections on politics and using his position of influence for good, and what he wants to see to create resilient communities in our local regions.
Importantly, he talks about how we need to change our expectations… for example how is it that one person can own a huge block of land and do nothing with it, or expect to rent it out at a massive price?
What if we use our land resources for appropriate housing or small scale agriculture, creating opportunities for agricultural jobs for young people and local food production, whilst also helping to address the issues of housing security and isolation?
Richard’s zest for life is infectious, and I think you’ll really enjoy hearing his perspectives and reflections on life.
You’ll also be pleased to know that Richard now has come full circle and makes and sells ceramics at the markets, under the banner Rainforest Ceramics, with a portion of all sales going to rainforest conservation.
Please enjoy this conversation from the Bangalow leg of the Resilience & Regeneration Roadshow, with Richard Jones.