#011 Regional Transitions

Stories of transition in progress


This episode features one of the most compelling dialogues generated out of the Ecocity World Summit in Melbourne recently. A seven-person panel explored a number of powerful stories of transition across regional Victoria, Australia, with themes echoing experiences all over the country and the world. 

L-R Amanda Cahill, Anthony James, Wendy Farmer, Sam Alexander, Harry Troedel, Nick Aberle, James Troedel. Ron Ipsen doesn’t like photos.

L-R Amanda Cahill, Anthony James, Wendy Farmer, Sam Alexander, Harry Troedel, Nick Aberle, James Troedel. Ron Ipsen doesn’t like photos.

At the moment, when we look back 20 years ago we had a meaning and the meaning was we provided power for the state and let the state get on with what it was doing. We took the shit hours and took the good money so the rest of the state could get on with the job. So we had meaning and we’ve gone from meaning to meaningless.
— Ron Ipsen

Our seven panelists feature:

  1. Dr Nick Aberle, Environment Victoria’s Acting CEO at the time (starts at 2 mins 30);

  2. Wendy Farmer & Ron Ipsen, President & Vice-President of Voices of the Valley, an award-winning community advocacy group that formed during the catastrophic Hazelwood coal mine fire. The fire poisoned over 70,000 residents and contributed to 13 extra deaths across the Latrobe Valley (start at 10 mins);

  3. Harry & James Troedel, award-winning developers of a regenerative enterprise project, Seacombe West Regeneration Project, in a previously rich farming district that is so degraded it can no longer be farmed (the back story to this is also remarkable)(start at 23 mins 30);

  4. The prolific Sam Alexander from the University of Melbourne & the Simplicity Institute, whose recent documentary film about his eco-village project has attracted nearly a million views (starts at 31 mins);

  5. And the highly respected Amanda Cahill from The Next Economy, with the sort of insider insight that only comes from trusted, long-term engagement with communities, business and authorities (starts at 38 mins).

    Hosted by Anthony James.

    Each panelist spoke for 5 minutes each – well, they tried! - before an extensive dialogue with the full house of about 80 people, which itself included esteemed figures like the internationally renowned Professor Katherine Gibson, Dr Dominique Hess, Dan Musil from Earthworker Cooperative, and Josh Floyd at The Rescope Project. 

    This conversation is so very relevant to communities, business, governments, policy makers, researchers, facilitators and activists everywhere. And while the challenges may be extremely acute for communities often labelled ‘coal communities’ and the like right now, transition is underway, and it involves all of us, as you’ll hear. 

    We’ve been looking forward to bringing you this. It is a charged, informative and inspiring conversation – the sort we so very much need more of.

Get more:

Voices of the Valley Facebook group.

Seacombe West Regeneration Project.

A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity – the documentary film co-written, directed and produced by Sam Alexander, now approaching 1 million views on YouTube.

Ecocity World Summit HQ.



The Hazelwood Song, by local musician & former Latrobe Valley mine-worker, Danny Boothman.

Let Them Know, by the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra.

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