David Phelps, ARS President and Director, DAF Office Landsborough Hwy, Longreach Qld 4730. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
People in the rangelands have always found ways to keep in touch, despite the challenges of isolation. From Cobb & Co mail coaches, the ‘bush telegraph’, shared telephone lines with a central exchange (‘party lines’), through to satellite internet services.
With people across the world practicing social distancing, and an estimated 30% of the population in lockdown (https://www.statista.com/chart/21240/enforced-covid-19-lockdowns-by-people-affected-per-country/) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it important to find ways to stay in touch.
Social distancing is a key plank in the pandemic control measures, but isolating at home does not have to mean social isolation. We have multiple platforms for on-line connectivity available, and I encourage us all to reach out across our networks and touch the people that we share a rangelands bond with. It might feel a bit awkward for some—often our love for the rangelands stems from a desire to immerse ourselves in landscapes far away from the throngs of other people. It might feel a little superficial to reach out to a rangeland colleague that you interact with at a professional level for work, but not really at a personal level. I am certain, however, that whoever you get in touch with will appreciate your effort, to be reminded that we are a rangeland family and we are all in this together.
Let’s all stay connected, in touch and support each other through these uncertain times.
On behalf of the Australian Rangeland Society, I offer everyone my support and hope that you, your loved ones, friends and colleagues are staying healthy and safe.