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people power II – putting your name on it‚Ķ

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Does¬†putting your name and signature to¬†a cause¬†make a difference? I¬†believe so…

My email in-box is evidence of my affection for causes, populated as it is with emails from change.org, care2 petition site and GetUp requesting my virtual signature.

It started at home and simply enough with the change.org petition to RailCorp NSW: Erect a noise barrier wall along the St Peters rail corridor. Initially my support was speculative, not envisaging my armchair warrior stance could accomplish much. But there have been tangible results, evidenced by the weekend track-work taking place within sight of our balcony and a resultant reduction in noise.

And then today change.org and the media announced what is to me a real and groundbreaking victory both for the issue (which has been ongoing) and online petition supporters.

People-power win after Sydney teacher Paula Orbea launches petition against ‚Äėmisogynistic and degrading slogans‚Äô on Wicked Campers vans. In this instance: in every princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once‚Ķ

street art_Macdonaldtown Train Station, Sydney NSW Australia
Wicked Campers were otherwise but people power won

“WICKED Campers* have agreed to clean up sexist or misogynistic slogans from their fleet of vans after a public outcry this week‚Ķ
The company has today issued an apology and committed to reviewing and removing offensive marketing from all of its campervans in the next six months.
Paula Orbea, the Sydney school teacher who started the 110,000-strong change.org petition against Wicked Campers, says it’s a stunning people-power victory against sexism, with the result coming just four days after she started the petition.
In an email from Wicked Campers received by Paula, she says the company has offered a personal apology and has now removed the sexist slogan Paula‚Äôs daughter saw.”

Work in progress:
Roseanne is facing a lifetime in prison because of her disability. Stop the neglect.
There’s been “incredible progress on freeing Roseanne. Locked up in prison indefinitely because of her disability, without being guilty of a crime ‚Äď your signatures have helped convince the NT Government to start moving to free her.”

There are still good old paper petitions doing the rounds as well. Earlier this week a colleague sought my signature on a petition opposing “More than two dozen specialist women‚Äôs shelters could be forced to close in metropolitan Sydney as the New South Wales government finalises a major reform into homeless services funding.”

Good news:
In April 2013¬†I became a member of Lock the Nambucca Valley,¬†created to oppose Precious Metal Resources Pty¬†Ltd mining exploration¬†for gold and antimony mining in the Nambucca Valley… just up the road from our house at Taylors Arm, detailed in the post dead waters.

In June 2014 came the good news
“Precious Metals Resources has relinquished its licence (EL8016) to explore for antimony and gold in the Nambucca¬†Valley! The licence has now been cancelled. PMR¬†claimed that exploration was not justified. Lock the Nambucca¬†Valley is confident that our strong opposition to commencement of antimony mining activities in the Nambucca¬†had a role to play in PMRs decision to pull out. They were well aware of our existence and the enormous community support for our campaign to prevent them starting. We have won.”

Lock the Nambucca Valley¬†however remain realistic and vigilant as “another company could apply for a similar exploration to plunder and pollute”.

Wins:
People power saved Newtown Community Markets.

change.org
NSW introduces tougher penalties for drunken violence
Mum of five gets life-saving stomach cancer surgery

care2 petition site
Tasmanian Forests Won’t Be Open to Logging
The Shubie Spice Girls Can Stay At Their Home

GetUp
Helped save from destruction the oldest collection of rock art in the world on the Burrup Peninsula, WA.
Brought together senators from across party lines to win a conscience vote stopping ministerial veto of the RU486 non-surgical abortion medication.

… and more wins, detailed on their websites.

A final word to Wicked Campers
Artist Stef Burgon takes on Wicked Campers, paints her own slogan
If ya wouldn’t say it to ya Nan… don’t write it on ya van!¬†

*Wicked Campers is an Australian camper van rental company based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The company also has outlets in other parts of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, North America, South Africa and South America. Wicked Campers market their product towards younger drivers and backpackers. Each van features a spray painted design, often featuring pop culture references and politically incorrect slogans.”

burned and bruised

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Bushfires ravage the periphery of Sydney and around the state. The weather has been hot, windy and dry. Bad. It’s only October. And it’s getting worse. There’s a cooler southerly change expected that only means the wind will change direction. There are already more than 90 fires burning and 100 homes lost in less than 24 hours. It’s hell on earth for the residents and firefighters.

The G.O. and I are in no danger. But, this is what the we saw from the inner city and south western Sydney late this afternoon. The city may not be burned, but its skies are bruised.

http://www.news.com.au/national-news/nsw-act/hundreds-left-homeless-as-the-gravest-bushfire-emergency-in-a-decade-strikes-nsw/story-fnii5s3x-1226741636446

dead waters

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I want to thank FrontRangeScribbles¬†and Meeka’s Mind¬†for the opportunity to nominate irresponsible, greedy mining companies and irresponsible, greedy politicians¬†for the Golden Toilet Award.

The G.O. and I spent a lovely Easter at our house in the rural village of Taylors Arm, on the Mid North Coast of NSW Australia, 500 kms from Sydney. The last 30 kilometre stretch from Macksville, the nearest town, is dotted with yellow signs on gates reminding us of the spectre of corporate mining, political interests and environmental devastation hanging over us.

A dozen kilometres up river is Burrapine. Best described by Lock the Mid North Coast “Burrapine is like the land that time forgot. Rolling green hills, forested bluffs, emerald river flats. The beautiful Taylors Arm river winds its way down from the headwaters up past Thumb Creek and down through the valley, feeding into the Nambucca River at Macksville. Along the way there are beef and dairy cattle farms, small acre vegetable farms and people relying on this river for household use, drinking and irrigation.”

In April last year Precious Metal Resources Pty Ltd applied for a mining exploration licence, approved on 23rd November by the NSW Dept of Energy and Resources (Minister Chris Hartcher) for gold and antimony mining in the Nambucca Valley. The license covers an area of 330sq km in the areas around Taylors Arm, South Arm, Thumb Creek, Giralong, Burrapine and Buckrabendinni. It borders on the New England National Park and several state conservation areas.

From Wiki “antimony and many of its compounds are¬†toxic, and the effects of antimony poisoning are similar to arsenic poisoning. The toxicity of antimony is by far lower than that of arsenic…”.¬†However, the EVISA¬†article¬†Antimony mine disaster¬†states “We saw that antimony behaves very differently from arsenic –¬†antimony¬†oxidizes much more quickly than arsenic when exposed.”

Lock the Gate Alliance¬†has launched Our Call to Country. “It’s a call from the heart of this country, and the people who love it, to demand real action to restrict inappropriate coal and gas mining.”

With newspaper headlines like
Greens call for immediate freeze on CSG mining
Suspend corrupt mining ops, NSW govt told
Toxic Mine Water
and information¬†that John Dawkins, who was Treasurer¬†and a Minister in the Keating Labor government,¬†is on the Board of Precious Metal Resources Pty Ltd, I think we’ll need Kenny’s¬†assistance with a fleet of Golden Toilets, otherwise the only thing our river water will be good for is flushing them.

More info:
http://lockthemidnorthcoast.com.au/
http://www.lockthenambuccavalley.com.au/tags/welcome

Wiki also notes “The largest applications for metallic antimony are as alloying material for lead and tin and for lead antimony plates in lead-acid batteries.” It’s worth bearing this in mind along with¬†RoughSeas’ An Easter message¬†which touches on¬†consumerism, so that objections aren’t just NIMBYism. Does it really matter to me?

‚ÄúOf the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst? Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē¬†¬†¬† Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

You too can flush… FrontRangeScribbles¬†generously invites “If you have any one you would like to nominate please feel free to do so.¬† The world is full of other people who are deserving to be recipients of this prestigious award second only to the Oscar.” And, in the words of Meeka’s Mind¬† “Please check out the blog of the highly inventive FrontRangeScribbles. And then do your bit for the planet. But if you use the Golden Toilet to have a dig at your ex. or your mother-in-law, or your neighbour, then you’re just being petty. Think global! Think making the world a better place! Think Service To Humanity.”

money on the streets

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This morning I had a chance to browse the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper online, and came across an item headlined “Word on the street” in the Money section.

I love street art. It’s one of the attractions of my Sydney city fringe neighbourhood. I love it when it goes up, and hate it when some good citizen paints over it or cleans it off. You may call me a fickle woman but dammit I don’t want it if it’s been commoditised or hung in a gallery, that’s art [ok, I’ll concede, by a street artist], which I like also but it’s NOT street art.

The article is worth a read if you have time. If not, a few excerpts…

”In my opinion, art by street artists is the next big art movement, no doubt about it,” ‚Ķ
‚Ķ”One of Lawsons’ best results was $4000 for a work by the Die Laughing Collective. Another, which is called Murdochracy, sold for $3200. It was one of the few works to have a provenance. Done on nine panels, it was first exhibited at the Melbourne Stencil Festival in 2005 and again in Sydney in 2006, where it was displayed in front of Newscorp’s headquarters.”‚Ķ
‚Ķ”Finding out what work has investment potential is pretty much a mystery, particularly as most artists prefer to work under code names such as Ghostpatrol and Ha-Ha.”
‚Ķ”Ha-Ha, aka Regan Tamanui, was certainly hot back in May. One of his Ned Kelly 2003 prints sold for a $1100 hammer price at Leonard Joel, way above estimates of $250 to $350. Many street artists who decorate walls and railway carriages are disdainful of those who exhibit commercially. Others, such as British artist Banksy, have successfully made the transition.”…

Not for Sale, Union Street, Newtown (Sydney), Australia

false happiness

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The Sydney Morning Herald, that overrated purveyor of what passes for news, at 1.44 pm May 23, 2012 made an astounding announcement¬†“Smile, we’re the world’s happiest nation” and just in case we didn’t get the point included this photo of a delightful smiling child. You could, but I wouldn’t bother, click the link to read the article ‚Äď it’s crap.

Are you happy?

Apparently, as Australians, we have: a statistically high life expectancy; avoided the 2009 recession; jobs; mining investment boom; a budget surplus [aka creative accounting methods]; and a reputation as a safe trade & foreign investment destination.

I’m happy but it’s not because of any of those things. Actually, right now I’m a little mad that I’m supposed to be happy at the expense of the rest of the world. I want us all to be happy in ways that matter.

I may have to stop reading the news as there’s a chance I’m going to become the blogging world’s version of a habitual disgruntled letters to editor penner.

‚ÄúFalse happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared.‚ÄĚ Charles de Montesquieu

The Rising Sun

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As posted on the Taylors Arm Community page ANZAC Day at Taylors Arm seems to grow in popularity every year, and is well supported by the local community and beyond. The Taylors Arm sub-branch of the RSL (the smallest in the state!) has an active base, and fundraises throughout the year in order to bring the ANZAC and Remembrance day ceremonies to the Taylors Arm Community.”¬† This year also there is a new cenotaph.

We set our alarms for 4.30am, struggle into warm clothes and after a quick coffee wander down the road to the front veranda of the pub to join those assembled in preparation for the walk to the cenotaph for Dawn Service.

After the Last Post and the completion of the service with the kookaburras and the arrival of daylight signalling time, we congregate back at the pub with cups of tea or traditional rum & milk. Breakfast¬†is available but just on dawn we make our way back up to our house to be greeted by the sun’s tribute to ANZAC Day.

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The sunrise resembled the Australian Army Rising Sun badge .

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest We Forget

what do you dream?

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I have a dream. Street art, King Street, Newtown (Sydney), NSW Australia

Some people will laugh when I say I had a lucky life as a kid, but I did. The losses I experienced were buffered by the love I received.

I grew up in country Australia, in small-ish towns, with family around me & people I knew. We could & did roam at will. We had few rules: come home when the street lights come on and; don‚Äôt swim in the creek (the latter we largely ignored). If I was picked on it was because in the new town we moved to, I didn‚Äôt know the other kids & I was shy for a while. They called me ‚Äúsnob‚ÄĚ. The kids in my old town would have laughed at the thought of me being shy or a snob, so it wasn‚Äôt fair or nice, but I wasn‚Äôt picked on for my race, colour or religion, or for long. On Christmas Eve all us kids went to whatever church everyone else was going to that year. The only wars we staged were over who sat where and with whom on the school bus. We were made to go to school. It wasn‚Äôt a privilege or an option.

I’m aware as a child I was fairly sheltered from the stuff that goes on behind closed doors. I know bad things happened. There was alcohol, drugs, violence, unplanned pregnancies, losses, disappointments, grief, desperation… afflictions and effects in a modern, affluent society.

I well remember well being 16, and feeling the walls of community closing around me. I look back now and know it was just me growing out of the cocoon that had sheltered, nurtured and given me the strength and momentum I was feeling the push of. It wasn’t perfect but if I had kids I’d go straight back there or somewhere like it, such is the strength of my convictions about the benefits of good community.

This doesn’t mean I live in a bubble. I am tragically aware my life then and now is the worldwide exception rather than the rule. I have a dream. I dream all kids will grow up feeling confident and being safe, knowing everyone is the same but different & that’s ok. I dream they will have enough. Love, food, water, shelter, education will take them to a future they can imagine living & thriving in and passing on to others. I dream they will experience enough challenges to develop character but nothing they can’t handle or will damage them.
I dream they will be neither persecutors or victims.

Having been independent and out in the world for several decades, I again feel the draw of community and know it will have its place in my life soon enough. Within it both locally and globally is a continuing opportunity for me to manifest those dreams.  

Caption. I have a dream. Street art, King Street, Newtown (Sydney), NSW Australia

This post is my tribute to ‚Äú16-year-old Amina Filali, who took her own life to escape marriage to the man whom her family says raped her. Escape for Amina came in the form of a pill of rat poison she bought in a market for 60¬Ę.‚Ä̬† I began writing it¬† before I saw the news article which led me to think about Amina’s dreams . Even though she is no longer alive her dreams will be alive as long as we keep dreaming for her and others who need our dreams, for I believe just as nothing can be accomplished with only dreams, also nothing can be accomplished without them.

I dream the kids of today & tomorrow will grow up, grow old, take my dreams and make them obsolete. I dream they will dream their own dreams, better dreams.

I dream this for Amina Filali. 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/outrage-over-marriage-law-that-exonerates-rapists-20120318-1vdpo.html#ixzz1pV5Y2RTU