Fantastic array of speakers to address “Our Place” – Country Town Living 2025 forum

January 27, 2010

Plans are currently being finalised for the "Our Place" forum which is being jointly hosted by Gwydir Shire Council and Vision 20/20, who recognis that change is taking place at an accelerating rate.

The Forum seeks to identify some of the changes that are coming, and to put the Gwydir Shire in a positive frame of mind to look for the opportunities.

The forum is the start of a process to rethink The Shire’s Vision initially set to 2020 out to 2025. The Forum has a fantastic array of speakers to stimulate thinking, and then an innovative workshop on the second day to apply those ideas to a local framework.

Below is information on the Keynote speakers:

Dr Peter Ellyard

Dr Peter Ellyard is a futurist, strategist and a leading international conference speaker.  He is a graduate of Sydney University (BSc.Agr) and of Cornell University
(MS , Ph.D).

He is currently Chairman of the Preferred Futures Institute and the Preferred Futures Group, which he founded in 1991. He also Chairs the Sustainable Prosperity Foundation.

Dr Ellyard is a highly experienced executive. He is the former Executive Director for the Australian Commission for the Future. He held CEO positions in a number of public sector organizations over 15 years including two associated with Environment and Planning, and one with Industry and Technology. He was also Chief of Staff of an Environment Minister in Canberra for 3 years.

He is Adjunct Professor of Intergenerational Strategies at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand ,and the Australian Institute of Management. He is an elected Member of the International Union of Associations, based in Brussels, which has 45,000 international NGO members. He is also a Director of Green Cross Australia.

He has been a Senior Adviser to the United Nations system for more than 30 years including to the 1992 Earth Summit where he was a senior advisor on both the climate change and the biodiversity conventions. In this he was the only Australian and one of only 20 globally. At other times he has been a senior consultant to the UNEP, UNDP and UNESCO.

Dr Ellyard is the author of the best selling book Ideas for the New Millennium (1998, 2001) and  Designing 2050: Pathways to Sustainable Prosperity on Spaceship Earth (2008). He is an enlightening, challenging, thought-provoking and inspirational speaker.

Dr Maarten Stapper

Dr Maarten Stapper has lived, studied and worked in the Netherlands, Canada, USA, Iraq, Syria, and since 1982 in Australia.

Maarten has an agricultural engineering degree in agriculture and catchment management in the semi-arid tropics, and a PhD in wheat production systems, linking crop physiology with agronomy and daily weather in simulation modelling.

Quantifying production in dryland and irrigation wheat paddocks in south eastern Australia made him aware that most problems start with the soil, and thus solutions should commence there.

Maarten is passionate about discovering and using the power of nature in food production systems – and the connections between soil biology, soil health, and the overall functioning of agro-ecosystems, and sees many opportunities for Australian agriculture to reverse soil degradation and regenerate soils.

John Mongard

John Mongard specialises in community planning and has been focussed over the last twenty years on regional sustainability. Climate change, peak oil and ageing are key drivers in his work with communities. Public Space is quickly morphing to integrate food producion and John is facilitating this transition in many places throughout Australia.

Talk outline
We need to collectively reduce our food miles and carbon footprint. By pursuing a nexus of feeding and greening and caring, designers can move communities and their public realms toward a more reasonable future. Current future-proofing projects in the city and in the country are explored as case studies of this approach.