But we can take action
“ While we’re stuck inside our homes, we can effect change by putting our money where our mouth is and ending the fossil fuel era.
SIX YEARS AGO I found myself trying to find shade from the mid-morning sun while having a chat with a farmer, Rick Laird. We were chained together, six metres above the ground, on the deck of an enormous super digger in a clearing in what would become Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine.
I had gone up to Maules Creek to show solidarity with the community protesting against the mine; to add my voice to the hundreds of others who joined the Leard blockade and had been arrested. From farmers to uni students, scientists and university professors, and the unforgettable 92-year-old second world war veteran, Bill Ryan. There I met Rick. A farmer, father and volunteer firefighter who had never taken part in any climate action before.
SEEN ABOVE: David Pocock with farmer Rick Laird. (District Bulletin archives, December 2014, p1; via 350.org)
Rick is a fifth-generation farmer; Leard state forest, 8,000 hectares of box gum woodland between Narrabri and Boggabri in the north-west of New South Wales, was named after his forebears. The coalmine we were trying to stop is just a few kilometres from his property and 4km from his kids’ school. Rick grew up on and around the rugby field, so he swung past the blockade camp in the morning to satisfy his curiosity about me being there. We chatted about farming, life in the country, his family and their ties to the area. Then we talked about the mine. He explained how he thought it was going to affect his farm, his community and his kids’ lives. He came back later in the day and we talked over lunch. I could sense we were both grappling with how to respond to these challenges. How do you make decisions? What are you willing to do in the face of injustice? The next day we locked on together. … CONTINUE READING
RELATED STORY: Destruction of the Leard and threat to the Pilliga concerns everyone. Maria Taylor. The District Bulletin, March 2016. pp7–10.