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Green-changing: A research-based collaboration with a tree-changed rural community

  • Year: 2011
  • Author: Darbas, Toni; Williams, Rachel; Graham, Sonia
  • Journal Name: Rural Society
  • Journal Number: Vol. 20, No. 3
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Victoria

A research-based collaboration with a rural community engaged with the risks and opportunities involved in renewable energy production. Natimuk Township, within the Victorian wheat and sheep belt, is atypical in its renewal by tree-change migrants attracted by the nearby rock climbing destination of Mt Arapiles. The collaboration aimed at crafting broad agreement on what constituted a more sustainable future via a scenario analysis and feasibility study and furthered a community goal to become carbon dioxide emission free. Specialised technical knowledge was found to form a useful basis for deliberation by providing reasons to transcend community factionalism and forge linkages to higher decision-making scales. The Natimuk case study does demonstrate that amenity-oriented in-migrants to rural settlements are capable of disrupting old understandings of what constitutes a desirable future so as to refocus attention on more sustainable forms of rural development. More broadly, the case points to the possibility that climate change is sufficiently threatening to inspire multi-scaled deliberative interchanges between society, state and expertise regarding community desire for green infrastructure.

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