(click for back to step 1 – A Community Bill of Rights)
Here Shuman is about taking stock of what our region is and what it has. Every community has resources, assets and culture that are capable of being revived and empowered.
Sometimes we forget how blessed we are in Northland in terms of climate, resources and rich culture and history. He recommends recording and publishing this to remind ourselves of who we are and what we have. This not only gives us a starting point for moving forward, but inspires a new sense of collective identity.
Virtually every community… has a gold mine which economists have yet to discover. Along its veins and other deposits may be found unemployed human resources, underused civic institutions, and discarded economic assets…. Many kinds of human assets now lie fallow…… the inventiveness of the young, the forgotten skills of retirees…tally the inanimate objects that have been all but written off: empty buildings, idle machinery, wasted energy. (p184)
Our natural resources or natural capital include our soil, our waterways and water reserves, our seas, our forests, our plants, birds and animals, our history, our skill-sets, our experience, our culture and the raw materials provided for us to make the things that we need. We also have existing infrastructure in terms of power reticulation, roads, harbours, and modes of transport (vehicles, boats, planes, bicycles etc). We also have our people one of the most important assets.
So this report would also include our local renewable resources, non-renewables, community organisations, measures of current exports and imports, indebtedness and investment on a region-wide basis and so on. This report is not so much about finding answers, but identifying our current state – that in many ways we are richly resourced, but just need coordination, collaboration and vision for that to be utilised in a sustainable and empowering way for the whole community.
This requires research and coordination – an essential part of the process. The Ministry of Economic Development recently commissioned the Tai Tokerau Northland Regional Growth Study Opportunities Report collating much data around the Northland economy and environment. While many of the conclusions are framed in terms of a global/industrial narrative rather than a local ownership/local sustainability model, the information provides a great resource for a State of the Region Report. In the summary of findings the authors of the report state:
While the report recognises that there is no “silver bullet” or industry that will transform the Northland economy, it recognises that the Northland region has significant untapped potential. (p2)
The report stresses that there is no One Big Answer for Northland. As a region of great diversity there are many, many small answers that we can together bring for sustainable well-being.
Questions to consider:
- Who will do this work of developing the current data into report written from a local resilience perspective?
- How do we ensure widespread involvement, collaboration and consensus?
- How do we keep this in the public eye once it is complete?