I am running for the Senate at next week’s Federal election, representing the Stop CSG Party. So it’s been a very interesting past few weeks, during which my thinking on this issue has become very focused. So when I heard a statement made by a young candidate at a “meet the candidates” meeting held last week, my brain clicked straight into gear. Because, with an almost involuntary glance towards certain others in the room, he boldly declared that “you will find no radical environmentalists in our party”.
The name of his party is irrelevant because, perhaps taking the liberty of borrowing a phrase which I can’t believe I have solely invented myself, on the CSG issue the two majors are not Tweedledum and Tweedledee, they are both Tweedledum. And they have plenty of fellow travellers. But what struck me about this statement were the implications of the actual dictionary meaning of the word “radical”. It means “pertaining to the roots or fundamental nature” of a given thing. So a “radical environmentalist” is someone who deals with the fundamental nature of the environment. So I started thinking on that and immediately realised that the fundamental nature of the environment is that it provides for the needs of humankind and all other species, so long as its rules are observed. But break the rules and all bets are off.
So by this definition then, yes, I am obviously a “radical environmentalist” and proud of it, because I believe this to be the case. But I was also immediately very worried that apparently there is not one person in the young man’s party who can own to this basic understanding of the fundamental relationship between ourselves and the earth which supports us. A part of my mind then thought that at least this might give those involved in the coal seam gas mining industry someone to vote for, because they don’t just break the rules, they break the earth itself, letting loose all sorts of compounds which have no place in our water, no place in our air and no place in our food. And when they’re finished with us they will leave behind ‘tailings’, dams lined with simple black plastic and containing a selection from mercury, lead, arsenic, tuolene, benzene, strontium, and at that point this page is too small to carry on with a comprehensive list. And they won’t just leave a few of these dams. They’ll leave plenty, sitting there, open to the elements for the indefinite future.
Which led me to thinking as to how it is that people in this industry, and those that facilitate it, seem to care far less for their grandchildren than I do myself. This bothered me on and off for a day or so, until I saw a map of the world which showed that “only” about 30-odd per cent of it is “frackable”. And then I understood. These guys have looked at this same map and realised that they can get in to these bits and frack every dollar they can out of them, and then make sure that they and their grandkids don’t live there, because the neighbourhood won’t be what it used to be. Men have looked at maps of the world in that way before, but they needed some serious clout to do anything about it. But these guys just need a complicit government and the road is wide open. And I understood that perfectly well! And it’s going to carry right along, until somebody draws the line. So the question arising from all this is “what are we going to do about it?” Well, I can tell you one thing that you can do, because next Saturday you are going to be given a pen and a Senate ballot paper, and you are going to be asked to draw a line. So I guess you’d want to have a good hard think about where you draw it. And I know where I’m drawing mine.
Roger Thorrowgood, Inverloch, Victorian Senate candidate, Stop CSG Party.