Fair Share Festival 2012 – Celebrating Sustainable Community
The second Newcastle Fair Share Festival was held over the weekend of 9-11 March 2012. About 800 people attended a weekend of speakers, workshops, music, stalls and entertainment exploring a transition to a connected community, a localised fair economy and a sustainable future.
On Friday night over 200 people attended a lively forum hosted by One Just World on closing the poverty gap. The inclusion of the pro-growth advocate Daniel Ben-Ami (author of “Ferraris for All) and Donnie Maclurcan from the Post Growth Institute, ensured there was vigorous, at times fiery, debate about a range of topics. It generated Twittering on the One Just World account, #1JW, and the video is at http://www.onejustworld.com.au/forums/closing-the-poverty-gap.
Cheryl Kernot (former politician and the Chair of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand) encouraged the audience to support micro-financing initiatives and suggested she was only in favour of growth if it could be fairly shared by all. Doris Puiahi (a community worker from the Solomon) brought quite a different perspective and suggested that, despite not having large incomes or many of the things that Australians take for granted, they hadn’t considered themselves poor until they were told by outsiders that they lived in poverty.
On Saturday there was a range of food, information, craft and fair trade stalls and entertainment, while inside there were more speakers and workshops.
Dr Shann Turnbull gave a thought-provoking talk on Ecological Capitalism as an alternative sustainable economic system. He felt that “Wayne Swan is right to tax the very profitable miners”, since company ownership gives too many profits forever to corporations.
Fox Rogers from Sunshine Coast Council spoke about how the Council was working with the local community to meet their vision “to be Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green, diverse.” At the heart of their approach was to get the balance right between productivity, people and planet.
Some of the more popular sessions included a panel of elders speaking about life before many of the things we now take for granted; a discussion on living better with less facilitated by the Little Eco Footprints blogger, a workshop exploring ways of building on community strengths, and a workshop on spirituality and sustainability.
There were local, sustainable and fair trade stalls, as well as an Open Microphone for new acts in addition to some great musicians who volunteered their time.
Sunday had a focus on practical workshops including building a pedal powered sound system, school gardens and creating blogs and tumblrs. Circus Avalon assisted children in developing some circus skills and the festival closed with Mike “The Didge” Davidson and presenting the school with a “Lady of Justice for FairWear”, an art work created over the weekend to call for an end to slavery and sweatshops in the garment industry. An Ideas Expo called for grass-roots ideas to stimulate sustainable groups or their formation, and there were about 20 tables with interesting ideas including PermaBucks from Permaculture Hunter, selling surplus produce by Nourishing Newcastle and sustainable Transition Streets both from Transition Newcastle.
We would like to thank our Sponsors without whom this would not have been possible, as well as the organising committee and our large team of volunteers. This was truly a community effort for the community.
Photos of the festival are here:
Graeme Stuart & John Shiel, on behalf of the FSF12 organising committee.