Rudi MaxwellEditorial

In 1973 a group of university students organised (and I use that term loosely) the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin.

I have it on good authority (well, my parents, who assure me they were drinking a nice crisp white wine and not smoking pot and I have no reason to think theyve lied to me since the Santa Claus incident of 1977) that I was at the original festival wearing yellow overalls and a pink skivvy.

On Saturday I went to the opening of the Aquarius Festival exhibition, in Spinks Park, where there were people celebrating 35 years of the Rainbow Region culture.

Music, puppets, art and, above all, colour.

I spoke to people who had also been at the festival and could actually remember it, people who have moved to the area since and were there to celebrate in the sunshine, people who were there to guide others through the art exhibition, local artists who had been inspired by the events and uniqueness of the times, foreign students whod not previously heard of the Aquarius Festival but were impressed by the diversity.

At its heart the Aquarius Festival sought to introduce the spirit of love, peace and creativity.

In this region we have an abundance of creative people and projects.

A recent migrant to the area tried to tell me a couple of weeks ago that one of the things she missed most about Sydney and Melbourne was the culture. I quickly pointed out that around here you cant actually walk down the street without tripping over art (something I think Council should be wary of when doing risk assessments), or, in fact order a cup of coffee without being exposed to some of the work of our local artists.

Artists, and in this I include musicians, actors, poets and writers, seek to move us in some way, whether by provoking thought or an emotional response.

Have a look around you this week and enjoy one of the rich idiosyncrasies of this region.

If youre in Lismore, stick your head in to the Regional Gallery and have a look at the artworks inspired by the Aquarius Festival. If youre not, just spend a couple of minutes checking out your streets or look around as youre ordering your coffee.

Peace, love and creativity the 70s are well and truly over but it still sounds like a good idea to me.

On page 17 this week you will notice the Greenhouse Indicator for NSW. It is a graph detailing the total tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and the breakdown of the biggest contributors (not surprisingly, electricity from coal and petroleum). The information is provided to us free of charge by the Climate Group, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to leadership on climate change.

My father suggested to me the term climate change had now become so mainstream that we needed to stop using it because it no longer implied the seriousness of the situation the planet faces. He suggested we start talking about impending ecological disaster, which is really what were looking at if were unable to retard the environmental rot started by industrialisation.

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