‘I’m a Professor of Geography at Sydney University and a Newtown resident since 1989. I’m doing a lot of work on global food security issues, nutrition, links with climate change and the environment.’

What kind of trends are you seeing at the moment?

‘My sense is that there are a lot of problems. It’s a pretty grim future. There are problems regardless of climate change in terms of feeding upwards of 9 billion people by the year 2050. And the environment is becoming more degraded and we’ve got a more uncertain climate. These are big issues that there are no easy answers for.’

From a local perspective, what can individuals do?

‘There is a lot of good stuff that’s happening. I think part of the answer is to be more resilient which means a bit more local food – supporting local businesses. I think the old model of big companies shipping food around the world is becoming less reliable in the future. I think we have to rely on more local production. The Inner West is a great place for local start-up businesses in the food and beverage industry. Some restaurants do local sourcing. There are of course urban gardens, community gardens, backyard gardens – a lot of things happening around this place. If it can happen in the Inner West, it can happen anywhere!’

‘I spent too much time being angry. I spent a good couple of years being really, really angry at someone that showed no remorse, never apologised, never even looked at me. But karma gets you at the end of the day. It is what it is. He’s living his life and I’m living mine. I try not to think about it.

‘My biggest challenge is removing the stigma that people in chairs just stay at home and do nothing. Also being socially accepted and being able to access all gig venues and general locations independently. Not have to plan whether I can go and see a band or meet up with friends at a café that I can’t get into.

‘Life’s too short. I don’t have time for negativity. Don’t worry about the small things. I just want to live. Stay true to yourself. Just love who you are and love life.’

‘I’ve got to say I’ve been very fortunate with a lot of the kids I’ve had over the years. They’ve said to me, “Miss, you’ve always just been there. In our broken English, in our horrible writing, you’ve just been there. You’re stable. You’re with us. You listen to all our sob stories and all our successes.”

‘Even if it’s minor, I’m there; with them. I think they just need that one person that brings them stability at school – that one person they can go to. Someone who is willing to listen. That makes a difference to somebody’s life.

‘We run a homework centre at school that started for ESL kids only then opened up to everyone. We advocated to get more assistance because there was such a need. The kids just know you’re there. They know you’re going to listen.’

‘If you’re not there, they’ll hunt you down and drag you there! We are hunted!’