Monday, 4 January 2021

"There are no monuments to those who have risked their lives and liberty in the defence of Australia’s unique and precious ecology": David Lowe

Echo NetDaily, 1 January 2021:

In Australia, it’s not easy being green. There are no monuments to those who have risked their lives and liberty in the defence of Australia’s unique and precious ecology.

When the protectors win, their reward is a surviving chunk of the world they have fought for, whether that’s Kelly’s Bush in the case of the green bans, or the Franklin River in the 1980s, or the unpolluted air and water of the Northern Rivers of NSW in the 21st century, saved from gasfields.

Australia’s original environmentalists, those who were here before and after European contact, paid a heavy price for their defence of country.

Uncle Yillah at Bentley.

The first Australians were fighting for their lives, as well as their home – these two things were completely intertwined. More than two centuries on, it’s become clear that we’re all in the same boat, even if some of us don’t yet want to admit it.

The idea of healthy human life in the absence of a healthy natural world is dangerous nonsense. This is the only home we have. Whatever the battlefield, the fight for our environment and our fellow species is fundamentally a fight for life and reality, in the face of invented, abstract concepts such as economic growth and shareholder profit.

The truisms of a thousand protest banners – no jobs on a dead planet, no Planet B – have become self-evident, no longer even controversial. But the environmental fight continues. If anything, it has intensified……

For many activists, myself included, there’s a strange internal tension between feelings of power and powerlessness.

Once you have been part of a movement that’s won a battle against great odds, it is harder to settle back into the anaesthetising idea that one person can’t make a difference. Unlike most members of society, you are no longer off the hook. The cause may seem almost unwinnable, but if there’s a chance that it’s not – and there always is – it becomes unethical not to act.

For Benny Zable, the difficulty of the ‘hopeless’ cause makes it ‘worth doing non-violent actions that are demanding – it makes for trying harder to communicate your point convincingly across to the public.’

As George Woods puts it, ‘Taking right action and acting out of love are always worthwhile, regardless of the outcome.’

Muzz Drechsler told me, ‘I don’t like losing but I don’t do it to win. I do it because this is how I choose to show my love of Mother Earth.’


Many activists, particularly women, are reluctant to dwell on the personal, human costs of their activism. The wounds are just too deep.

That said, most have told me they had ‘no choice’ but to stand up….

Read the full article here

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