What the Frack?

Image from www.northernriversguardians.org

Image from www.northernriversguardians.org

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.

bubbles

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’.

Another great image from Byron Bay Today

Another great image from www.inByronBayToday.com

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.

banana

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!

Koalas vege garden

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?

Image from www.imgfave.com

Image from www.imgfave.com

21 thoughts on “What the Frack?

  1. This shocking Nicole. I had no idea what ‘Fracking’ was until I saw a billboard signed by Sean Lennon & Yoko Ono. So terrible…what is wrong with these people?

    Not a very nice welcome home for you guyz 🙁 Good luck with the petition. I will google more about this. Hugs ♥

  2. Totally agree! Say NO! loud & proud!
    A housing development was planned on the productive agricultural land near us. We drove in a cavalcade, some of us draping protest banners over our cars and tractors. It received media coverage and heightened public awareness. A few years later the development seems to be unfortunately going ahead, however at least there have now been amendments – wider corridors of nature strips etc. This small step forward would not be, had we not voiced our opinions.
    If enough voices join the cavalcade we each have on our doorstep, then we have the power to create change. And I, for one, am all for positive change. I’m with ya, sista!

  3. What a thing to come back to! If I were in your situation I think I would feel the same, nobody wants this going on in their backyard. The problem is that there is still such an enormous reliance on fossil fuels that the incentive for this kind of activity is huge. It always amazes me that despite the enormous amount of money companies have to invest in it, the potential profits are so big that it’s worthwhile for them. I’m afraid that as long as those potential profits exist, there will be people determined to make them regardless of the other, less quanitifable, costs in terms of health and environmental damage. What we really need to do, with some sense of urgency, is find alternatives to fossil fuels that are more appealing to investors.

  4. Ugh! Nicole, be prepared for a lot of “dismissal” from fracking industry people/supporters once they hear your opposition is based on “Gasland.” They will treat you like someone hypnotized by propaganda from a group with an agenda. (Never mind that their support could be seen as being hypnotized by propaganda from a group with an agenda, too, right? Though to be fair, “Gasland” is certainly not impartial! I know you know this, but I’ll say it anyway — get those numbers and facts from sources other than “Gasland” to avoid the whole “propaganda” accusation mess….)

    Argh, good luck! Why do these companies always seem to choose the areas you least want drilled??

  5. webcoal.titles@industry.nsw.gov.au

    PLEASE send an email to this address above before 5th December and state your name, address, email and phone contact and tell them NO to FRACKING.

    It’s frightening…it’s on my doorstep…and it effects everyone. We can make a difference, each and every one of us. Let’s all stand up and let the powers be know that we will not accept this in our community.

  6. Good on you, Nic! The presence of Powerful Owls should definitely be made in your submission, as a threatened species. xxx

  7. bellasatisha (above) is this address above given with regard to the specific license(s) being sought to explore in Possum Creek? or is it wider?

  8. Hello Nicole welcome back. We had the whole fracking hell thing here in the west of Ireland for last year or so. Coal seams which they wanted to pump toxic chemicals in to, and like you we live in a really beautiful place. People need to object and object loudly. We had Shell building a pipeline across peoples land and messing up their lives (see the film the pipe a fair piece on the whole saga wonderfully and artistically done) then recently Tamborin Resources alledgedly an Australian firm wanting to frack our place to bits. Scary, scary stuff…xxx

  9. Firstly, welcome home and it is good to have you back.

    I must admit I had no idea this was going on just a little way away from my own backyard! Thanks for the info and I’m happy to support. I’ll start with emailing the address that bellasatisha has supplied.
    Annette X

  10. Fracking is EVIL! They oil companies are still being held at bay in New York, but they are fracking like crazy in neighboring Pennsylvania and hungrily eyeing the three watersheds that supply New York City with its water and food! I 100% support your efforts to save Byron Shire!

    • I can’t believe, after the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that anyone believes anything the oil companies say! I was only marginally aware of what fracking involved. I’m glad read this and read your comment, baconbiscuit212.

  11. If there is ever a time to meditate for the best guidance possible now is the time to do it…. Read this in horror. I am wishing you all the very best of luck and sending as much positivity as I can thinking of you xx

  12. CSG meeting in Lismore with Brad Hazzard Wed 5th Dec 10am @ City Hall. Assemble
    9am to prepare. We need numbers there to show opposition. These are the decision makers and need to be told! Non violent action. Bring placards, wear yellow etc etc. Please pass the message on 🙂
    PS If wanna be a girl against gas meet @ Siobhans house. ( it’s on the gag Facebook event)

  13. Hi Nicole, I haven’t read the details yet but here’s some info that may be helpful. http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/slurp and http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2ipqpk–FkA%3d&tabid=495&language=en-US. The NSW govt have just recently put some initiatives in place that protects agricultural land and also changes what csg companies can and can’t do with regards to fracking. They have only just lifted the ban they had in place since last year on fracking. Vic still has a ban in place. Hope this helps. Love and hugs Julia

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