As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say about us: “With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas,” or, “They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them.” ~ U Thant, speech, 1970
If you read my blog, you’ll know how often my farm and the surrounding area feature in my writing. That’s because I love this place – the land, the people, the community, the values and lifestyle.
I came home to my beautiful Byron Bay hinterland farm today, after a holiday in Thailand. But there’s not much peace to be had around here right now. Coal Seam Gas companies have applied for an exploration licence for the farmland in our area. To ‘explore’ they will need to sink test wells, injecting a cocktail of chemicals (some of which are known carcinogens) to fracture the shale below our feet, releasing the coal seam gas. The chemicals stay in the ground, they leach into the groundwater, and there is no way to control where they go, or what havoc they may wreak upon the surrounding environment and ecology.
Would you want those chemicals in the food you eat, the rivers you swim in, the water you drink?
I know I don’t! We have until December 5 to submit our objections, and yes, I will be objecting.
The Byron Shire is a natural sanctuary and place of rich biodiversity. Native plants and animals here provide breeding stock for diminished and threatened species. Our local community work hard to replant and revitalise woodlands, rainforests, dunes and waterways. Much is done here in this little pocket of Australia, protecting our flora and fauna. This has led to a strong domestic and international tourism market, and there is an emphasis on eco-tourism, health and healing, and spiritual tourism, such as yoga and meditation retreats. We’re well known globally for our ‘Byron Vibe’.
It’s also home to a farming community who care about their produce, their animals, their land, and the environment around them. We have a host of brilliant Farmers’ Markets in our area, and all manner of organic and biodynamic produce. Byron Shire’s reputation for clean and green food is well deserved.
Despite what the Coal Seam Gas companies tell us – that CSG Mining is safe and harmless – I’m not buying it. In 2011 my husband and I went into Lismore to watch a documentary called Gasland that was being put on by an organisation called Lock the Gate. Perhaps you know it? If not, I recommend a viewing.
We were so profoundly disturbed by the film that we came home and sat in silence on our verandah on a dark and bitterly cold night, rendered speechless by the enormity of what we’d just witnessed.
And now it’s on our doorstep…
Sometimes you have to stand up and be counted. Sometimes you have to be a voice for those who have none.
So, not just for me, but for the breeding pairs of Wedgetail Eagles on our property, and the Powerful Owls, and the Platypus, and the Echidnas, and the many Koalas, and all the other animals who call this place home I say ENOUGH!
This planet matters to me. This small piece of the earth matters. I can’t save the world, but I can work in my own little corner to make a difference.
How about you?