Colin Todd’s Story

For the last 40 years I have been living in Balmoral Village on a 5-acre bush block where my wife and I have a pottery studio.

Nurturing and maintaining our small block of land has taught us both a lot about the importance of preserving our natural environment. We have discovered over the years that we share our land with an amazing collection of flora and fauna. And more recently we have become aware of the number of endangered species that live with us. We are part of the land for wildlife network.

I studied at Sydney University attaining a Bachelor of Economics with majors in accounting and commercial law and then a Diploma of Education.

After graduating I worked as a primary school teacher in the Minto area, and was part of developing an integrated school and community literacy program.  I then transferred to TAFE as an Adult Literacy Officer based at Liverpool TAFE College. In this role I developed programs with and for among others, the Aboriginal community of Western Sydney.

As a result of working with the Aboriginal community, I was employed as a research officer then became the Director of Research for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.  My team and I provided support to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council as they negotiated with the Federal Government in the development of the Commonwealth Native Title Act in response to the Mabo decision of the High Court.

After leaving the Land Council, I undertook various business development and management contracts across a variety of sectors. 

I am currently a partner in Balmoral Pottery studio assisting in the making and teaching program with my wife, Sandy Lockwood. 

Recently we have installed solar panels to help with running the studio and firing our electric kiln as an adjunct to firing our kilns using renewable wood.

I began bushwalking over 50 years ago as a Boy Scout. I have walked in many parts of Australia including the Larapinta Track in the Northern Territory and the Overland Track in Tasmania. My walks in other countries include the Rocky Mountains in the USA and the Camino de Santiago across Spain. My love of nature and the outdoors has been a prominent part of my life. There has been an ongoing deep connection to the natural world that supports us physically and spiritually.

 

Colin Todd and Sandy Lockwood where lucky to escape with their lives and house and pottery unburnt

Over time I have come to realise that the warming of our planet dwarfs all other issues.  This was brought home to me in a very stark and personal way in 2013 when a bush fire burned our block and also half our pottery. Just seven years later, the Black November fires burned 20 homes in our village and it was devastating to see the effect on our friends and neighbors who lost absolutely everything. These same fires burnt 20% of Australia’s broad leaf sclerophyll forest. The previous record for fires in a season was 2%!  Luckily although our block was burned, our home and pottery were able to be saved. 

The stress of months of preparing our property and watching the approaching fires, combined with months of inhaling smoke that contained toxic compounds and small particles precipitated a near fatal heart attack for me. Global heating is a global phenomenon that certainly has very real immediate local impacts on land, animals and people.

Our current situation presents special problems. We have never been here before. There is no precedent.  We cannot continue to do things as we have up until now.  Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to address our plight, and many of them are creative, positive and local.  If we each do as much as we can in our different ways, then much be achieved. I am honoured and pleased to take the Chair of WinZero.  Together as an organization we can act locally to really make a big difference contributing to global change. 

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