A ground-breaking new program aimed at building resilience and hope in rural and regional communities will bring leading experts in Australian media and trauma recovery to the Lismore and greater Northern Rivers community.
Farmers for Climate Action, a group of farmers and rural leaders working to ensure farmers and regional communities are a key part of the solution to climate change, are hosting a virtual Community Resilience forum for the Lismore and the Northern Rivers community on 9 June, 2020.
The free forum, which is open to the entire community to attend, will look at the impacts of drought on the region and how the people can develop the strength and resources to face the challenges of climate change.
Featured speakers include clinical psychologist Rob Gordon and Professor Matthew Ricketson, journalist and academic at Deakin University who writes about Australia’s media.
Professor Ricketson said he was looking forward to talking with people from the Northern Rivers region about the recent shutdowns at local and regional news outlets across Australia and what the loss of those publications meant for the public’s understanding of important problems.
Professor Ricketson will discuss how social media is being used to stoke division within communities and what people can do to ensure they are not taken in by fake news.
“The impact of recent cuts and closures in regional, rural and local news outlets is dire,” he said.
“Fewer newspapers means fewer journalists digging up stories, meanwhile social media is being used to spread misinformation about a number of issues, including climate change.”
Wendy Cohen, CEO of Farmers for Climate Action, said that regional communities such as Lismore and the Northern Rivers region have had a very difficult few years, and that the forum aims to bring people together to develop strategies to face the challenges that lie ahead.
“Rural and regional Australians have an extraordinary capacity for coming together and tackling challenges as one,” she said.
“It has been a tough few years, with communities facing drought, bushfires and COVID-19, but we want to bring people together to identify and pursue the solutions that will make them stronger, more resilient against climate and economic threats, and help alleviate the threat of climate change,” said Cohen.