Fast Train adapted from Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car Lyrics. What do we want? We want fast rail. When do we want it? NOW…

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I have a love-hate relationship with protesting as some of you might know. I feel it is necessary but it is all too often overly-simplistic in its message for my complex, crazy brain to handle. I want to sit people down and engage in conversation rather than have them accept or reject me on a headline that is all too easy to mis-interpret.  Still, sometimes It’s all you have and so I go and do it.

This is what I thought up this morning on my way back from doing my stint.

To the tune of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’

I want a fast train

Buy me a ticket to out there

Maybe we can make a deal

Maybe together we can get somewhere

On the train is better

Starting from zero emissions that’s news

Maybe we’ll make something

Me myself I got nothing to prove.

 

You want a fast train

I’ve got a l plan to get that over here

I been working on protesting more

Managed to write just a little bit of something

Don’t wanna push too hard

Just dot the I’s, cross a couple of T’s

You and I can both get seats

And finally see what it means to be living.

 

See our country’s got a problem

We live with the thought that’s the way it is

We say ‘I’m too tired for protesting’

And ‘the plans they’re all in and you can’t change nothing’

I’ll be seen as a hippy, extreme left wing’

But if you want more from life than what they give

It takes somebody good to go out and sing

So we stood up, that’s what we did.

 

So imagine when we’re travelling, travelling in that train

Speeds so fast we even beat the plane

Sydney lights turn into Melbourne’s glow

A cup of tea and snack laid out as we go

And I have a feeling that I’m not wrong

I, have a feeling that we could get this done, get this done, get this done.

 

I want a fast train,

We’ll go to Brisbane, entertain ourselves

You and I can get a job

And work on the beach before returning home

I know this would be better

Than working as a cleaner in an airport lounge

That’ll get us out of the shelter

And we can buy a bigger house right out in the suburbs

 

So imagine when we’re travelling, travelling in that train

Speeds so fast we even beat the plane

Sydney lights turn into Melbourne’s glow

A cup of tea and snack laid out as we go

And I have a feeling that I’m not wrong

I, have a feeling that we could get this done, get this done, get this done.

 

I want a fast train

It’ll give me a job that pays all our bills

Take us to the Melbourne bars

See more of our friends and your brothers kids

I’m always hopeful for better

Thought maybe together you and me might ride

I got some plans and I’m going somewhere

So I’ll take that fast train and keep on riding.

 
So imagine when we’re travelling, travelling in that train

Speeds so fast we even beat the plane

Sydney lights turn into Melbourne’s glow

A cup of tea and snack laid out as we go

And I have a feeling that I’m not wrong

I, have a feeling that we could get this done, get this done, get this done.

 

I want a fast train

Fast enough so we can get away

I want you to make a decision

Speak tonight or live and die this way.

 

We live in a magical place.

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The Blue Mountains are a magical place to live for a tree-lover (and possibly hugger) like me.  There is something so soothing and right about taking a stroll through the Blue Gums, listening to the birds chatter and smelling the Eucalypts and Tea Tree.

I have always been a forest girl, some of my fondest memories from my early childhood involve walks through Dingley Woods  a few minutes drive from my house. We would take a picnic and rug and spend a couple of hours amongst the Bluebells and mosses.

The Blue Mountains doesn’t have Bluebells but it does have the Blue Trees and an amazingly diverse bird life which includes the very sweet Superb Fairy Wren as captured here by the team at National Parks.

Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

I feel immensely privileged that I can walk out of my front door and onto a beautiful bush trail and be enveloped in such beauty, peace and tranquility. I feel most human when I’m out there,  connected, immersed.

I do wonder what will happen to us as a species if we lose these every-day wildernesses?  If the only places we go to are shopping malls and manicured parks.   I hope that I never see a day when that is all there is.

Blue Gums

The future is Solar for Peru

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I saw a story today about Peru giving free solar panels to its citizens with no electricity and that sparked a thought in me. The project began in 2012 since which time Peru had attracted international investment and support based in its progressive and innovative government energy policies.

rural peruvians solar panels

Rather than immediately contrast that with Australia and feel angry I realised that it is easier to innovate when you have next to nothing. To decentralise power when there is no central power grid to unpick, to boost an economy that is coming off a low base line.

Australia is not like that.

In that moment I wondered if Australia will become the new poor, the left-behinds growing so fat and lethargic that by the time we realise it’s time to change it will be too late.

On that point…..

Australia has 110 years of coal left to mine, good quality coal,  the kind of coal that a coal miner would be proud to mine.  Yet we all know that burning coal releases CO2 and NOx into the atmosphere, hastening global warming, changing the climate.  Australia is pursuing deals with India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam to maintain exports, maintain jobs, maintain much needed income.

Coal Terminals

The Adani project in Queensland is a case in point, this coal mining operation has just won the right to ship the mined coal out across the south end of the Great Barrier Reef and on to India.  A journey that takes the coal out through a protected and beautifully diverse natural wonder.  This project only makes sense on one level and that’s financially.

Queensland tourism industry is worth $8 billion annually.

Queensland coal industry is currently worth around $23 billion pa.

There is little hope that the Great Barrier Reef will be prioritised until those figures switch around.  Will that happen before it is too late?

Anyway……..

I applaud Peru’s government for investing in Solar and for providing solar panels to its citizens while at the same time realising that we can’t expect our government to do the same without a monumental push.

For Australia we have to influence change from the ground up whether it be by unplugging ourselves, protesting decisions on coal mining or voting with our wallets and shopping smarter.

If Australian people want change we have to go after it both politically and practically.

Because it sure as hell ‘ain’t going to come after us any time soon.

Amanda x

Protesting against Western Sydney Airport

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no western sydney airport

I got my sign

I’m gonna shout
And tell the world
What it’s all about
This airport sucks
It’s a crap idea
To blow pollution
Far and near
To increase smog
And NoX
The lack of sleep
Increased need for xanax.

I gonna let
The people know
I want fast rail
And the jobs that go
With making tracks
Out of Aussie steel
And provide jobs
That are bloody real

And a train that runs
On solar power
Get from south to north
In a couple of hours
Easier to access
For the preggo’s and old
You could ride your bike on
No need to fold.

I want a hub
In the wild, wild west
Cause we’ve got space
And men in vests
Eager to build
Deserving of a life
Where work and play
Is paradise
When weekend comes
A quiet walk
In a world heritage
National park

I want this future
For you and me
Because a cleaner future
Can be our reality
And to ignore
Whats clear to see
Makes us thugs
Of history

Amanda x

I protest, you call me a NIMBY. Let’s see what that says about you shall we?

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NIMBY –  ‘Not In My Back Yard’

Why I was called it: Because I have chosen to exercise my democratic right to protest about the current governments Badgery’s Creek airport proposal.

What the insult implies:  That I am only protesting because it is happening over my backyard and that I just don’t want my happy little life to change.  That I probably haven’t really thought much further or deeper about this issue than how it will affect me and that I am probably just someone who is scared or nervous of change OR a romantic OR a daydreamer OR an idealist OR just not generally ‘with the program’.

OK then.

See this?

how to argue

That is a ‘how to argue effectively’ triangle.  Calling someone a NIMBY or sticking your finger up while driving quickly by sits in that pinky zone right at the bottom.

On this triangle the bottom is where you don’t want to be. The bottom pink rung of the ladder is where you are if your argument is not really an argument at all, it is more of a reaction – similar to what you might expect from a toddler who has just been deprived of their lolly pop.

The next rung of the ladder is where you guys start calling me a ‘tree hugging hippy’ or shouting ‘get a job / shouldn’t you be working instead of out here costing us money and holding up progress’ or ‘you are so ugly and have terrible hair’ – all comments that were written about ‘me’ (as a protestor) on social media underneath the news story.  This layer also lacks intellectual rigour and wouldn’t stand up in court. In terms of the evolution of human reasoning I’d put this layer at somewhere between age 9-11. Playground politics, the type that has you and your mates standing in front of the teacher’s desk for calling Tim a ‘dirty little smell bag’ because he didn’t let you have a turn with his football.

We can stop here and reflect for a moment on where we have seen both of these approaches to an argument before.  Tabloid news services tend to use these approaches to get us fired up as that sells papers.  The tabloid press has been treating us like primary and pre-schoolers for so long now that it seems pretty normal to many people, even though we should know better.

The yellow and green layer are where you find the average political dog fight especially when the politician is caught off guard and asked a question about something that the opposition has just announced.  The general idea is to make out that whatever it is a bad idea while buying yourself enough time to move away and find out for real if it is or not.  I guess this is early teenage stuff, react and act out first then go home and reflect over a big bowl of ice cream and some loud music.

My own personal reasons for protesting the Badgery’s creek airport sit in the layers above this. Blue, purple and grey.  I have spent many hours pouring over the airport Environmental Impact Statement, found errors contained within it and built arguments around those points.  I have only been able to find errors in the EIS by taking the time to pull apart each and every detail contained within, to qualify the ‘facts’ given, compare this airport and its proposal with airports and proposals from all around the world.  I’ve read reams of data and studied the virtual skies above airports all down the USA west coast, profiled several airports in the UK and Europe, looked at Dubai, Hong Kong, JFK (New York) and more besides.  I’ve spent time attending meetings with professionals who have backgrounds in environmental pollution monitoring, noise profiling, public health, education, alternative transport systems, jobs growth and so much more.

In terms of getting a job I have one, I have a company and am a Director of that.  While I have spent many working hours on my airport research I have also spent many hours outside of 9-5 either catching up on work or researching so that I can keep my working week free.

I know what it is like to drive past a protest and think ‘look at them, they have no hope, nobody will listen, they are just a bunch of people who are wasting their time’ because I’ve been there and done that myself.  It is easy to be judgemental, it comes naturally and is probably something we are all guilty of at times and as such I don’t judge or get disheartened by the NIMBY comments.  Well, not until they come out of the mouthes of those that should know better – our elected representatives.

When our politicians start to dismiss legitimate concerns and well thought out objections to their plans with name calling and Ad-Hominem you know that Democracy is in danger and when democracy is in danger I think the only just thing to do is fight.

Amanda x