• Matt

Invitation: Melbourne Regeneration Cluster

Melbourne 2030: The Silicon Valley of Regeneration - that was my closing pitch in last week’s blog. Sounds fun right?! But how do we get there?

Dear Melbourne business leaders,

This is an invitation to a New Normal, not one imposed on us by a virus or a government’s restrictions, but one for us to choose. It’s time to move beyond Sustainability and shift our common goal posts to Regeneration.

Almost every business plan we walked into 2020 with has been scrapped. Every attempt to strategise and reposition bears a mark of uncertainty. In truth, there is little left to sustain, but everything is ready to regenerate.

This year is done. So, let’s start working on 2021 and beyond. Why not take a little inspiration from the UN’s 2021-2030 Decade on Ecosystem Restoration by applying its principles to our systems of community wellbeing, cultural diversity, regional trade and political advocacy?

Melbourne, heart of the Kulin Nation, let’s be bold:

1) Swimmable Birrarung / Yarra River (lead the way Yarra Pools!)

2) Melbourne National Park City (sister London shows it can be done)

3) Central Regeneration District (wominjeka creatives and startups!)

4) Urban Farming (goodbye cars, hello productive green spaces)

5) Community Wellbeing Hubs (find mindfulness on every corner)

6) Eco-Finance (Collins Street overhaul, game on ecosystem services)

7) Digital Gardens (picture Virtual Elders from our diverse community)

8) City of Regeneration (MMC, City of Sustainability just doesn’t cut it)

Some might call this fanciful. To those I reply; if you're looking for fantasy, tune into Australia’s political circus any day of the week. Even Malcolm Turnbull conceded that our government system, in its current form, is not designed to tackle the world’s grand challenges. I do note however, a conversation with another prominent Australian political party leader. As we entered Lockdown #1, I asked if he could think of an example when a time of great crisis became the catalyst for transformational and enduring societal change. The response: Australia’s gun laws reform after the tragedy of the Port Arthur Massacre, enabled by the leadership of PM John Howard and Deputy PM Tim Fischer.

So, Melbourne business leaders, are we ready to burn a tired old economic script? Are we willing to lean into our anxiety and see COVID-19 as a radical chance? You see, it’s not so much about having the perfect vision for the future, as it is about the power to let go.

In my opinion, our job is not to create the future. Instead we’re here to the cultivate the soil of change for young emerging leaders. As demonstrated by the 2019 Schools Strike for Climate, and the upcoming September 25 ‘FUND OUR FUTURE NOT GAS’ Global Day of Action, they are changing the game.

Melbourne, will you join the ReGeneration?


Matt Sykes


87 views0 comments