Loved To Death

September 10, 2018

There is a famous Polish Play by Brecht called the Caucasian Chalk Circle that captures (brilliantly) what Elvis Presley knew when he sang, “love hurts, love scars”. In the story, the child of a Governor was discarded as an inconvenience and raised by a kitchen maid, who loved him but had little else to offer the child. Due to some political re-shuffling, the child became valuable and a judge was forced to decide who loved the child more.

He drew a chalk circle on the ground, put an arm of the child in each of the parties’ grip and set the stage for them to pull on the child, the one who pulled the child across the circle on their side, it seemed would win custody of the boy. The poor woman, who had the best interests of the child, could see that the child would be injured and she let go, refusing to contest in a way that would injure the child. And, so, we learn from the story that the one who was prepared to let the child go…was the one who loved the child…and that selflessness would have hurt…So. Very. Much.

Love is like that when it is about the lover and not the beloved. We can, it seems, love things to death. This sad story has a point for our town and all tourist towns like ours all over the world.

Overtourism, is a social phenomenon that is exhausting the natural and cultural resources of popular global destinations. Recently put in the spotlight by the ABC’s Sunday Extra program, overtourism has caused authorities to take drastic action in some cases, including closing Maya Beach in Thailand to help marine life recover from almost two decades of unsustainable crowding.

Responsible travel is the movement geared toward minimising the traveller’s footprint on popular destinations. As hosts, we can do more to encourage traveller’s here to make responsible choices about how they enjoy our town, without harm – just like the kitchen maid in our opening tale.

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about a trip to Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers Shire, here are some tips about how to make the most out of your visit, while respecting and benefiting the traditional owners, local residents, regional producers and their businesses.

  • Using public transport
  • Buying locally produced food and drink – we have one of the best food basins in the world with international award-winning produce (Brookies Gin, anyone?), so this shouldn’t be too hard
  • Shop from local artisans, and check to see whether goods are produced locally
  • Donate to organisations that work to preserve and conserve the ‘attractions’ of Byron Bay and surrounding regions, such as The Cape Byron Information Centre and The Arakwal National Park
  • Respect and pay tribute to the Traditional Owners of the Land, the Arakwal people. By understanding their traditions and culture, you will not only avoid any unintended offence but you will feel the welcome to country – a special and sacred attitude towards sharing and reconciliation with the people who have been connected to the land for over 22,000 years. You can find out more about the Arakwal tribe, here:  

One Response to “Loved To Death”

  • Enzo says:

    Brecht’s play ,although i have not read it,seems to be a variationon on Solomon’s judgment when confronted by the two women claiming to be the real mother of the baby. The result was not that different either.On loving places to death…Venice ……2017…the hordes of tourists dispel any sense of beauty or magic in the lagoon.! No wonder tourist ships were banned shortly afterwards….why bother? Why do we do it? We do it because we can…cant bear missing out….just join the queue.

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