Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Raise your hand if you agree

Gecko votes

We've had a hectic week. Queensland State Elections occurred on Saturday and we drove to town to vote at the nearest polling booth. Australian citizens who do not vote are fined. We would vote regardless. Despite my observation that my choice seldom gets elected, I do not take my right to vote for granted. Afterward we enjoyed visiting a local exhibition of paintings by our friends Steve and Marijke Hancock - a lovely way to refocus our agitated minds away from politics and onto appreciation of the wonderful creativity in the community around us.

Polling Booth

On Sunday we went to a community meeting to discuss the process of lodging objections to a mining lease extension to the area containing the headwaters of the creek that we depend on for domestic water. The current mining operation is located near the headwaters of the adjacent creek and has received an environmental protection order, requiring that the mine leaseholder and mine operator stop releasing contaminated water.

Bottom Pit beside Jamie Creek
Both creeks flow into the Walsh River. Dead fish have been found downstream and residents have been told not to drink the water or use it for stock after it was contaminated with heavy metals. Long time residents do not ever remember seeing dead fish in the river.

We feel concerned for the future wellbeing of our own water supply should the mining lease extension be granted. Arsenic levels are already elevated from historic mining in the area. Any further elevation could make it untenable for us to live here.

Assured last year that safeguards would be in place to avoid environmental breaches at the current mining site, we have been trying to endure the noise of continuous mining activity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week as well as lights that set the southern skyline aglow all night long. The recent contaminated water releases occurred in association with heavy rains, but heavy rains surprise no one here. This is the Tropics and it's the Wet Season. We realise there is no such environmental security as we envisioned. An expansion of mining activities would bring mining activities, water degradation, even more noise and light pollution closer to our home.

Do you detect the erosion of our sense of well-being and joy? As custodians of this land, we recognise that we have a responsibility to act to conserve our natural systems for current and future generations.

On Monday we lodged our objections.

Handspun cotton
I continue to spin and ply cotton as work with the wheel and spindle help calm my mind. And we continue to enjoy our fellow travellers – the frogs, crabs and fish in the creek, the quolls, frilled-neck lizards, bower birds, kookaburras, sugar gliders, bats – and all the fauna that depend on the permanent slow seeps and billabongs of the creek in the Dry Season as well as the generous flow in the Wet Season.


post by M in JaM

photos by JaM


Diana Troldahl said...

I think a fine would be a benefit here in the U.S.
Voting apathy is rampant, and people have lost faith in the system.

JaM said...

Diana, while feeling discouraged, I found this inspiring quote by Paul Wellstone, deceased US Senator from Minnesota:

"When too many Americans don't vote or participate, some see apathy and despair. I see disappointment and even outrage. And I believe that out of this frustration can come hope and action."