Today, 30 October 2017, from 8.00am to 8.00pm (EasternDaylight Saving Time Australia) Plumwood Mountain journal is posting poems as text, audio or video by poets Speaking up to Adani in relation to the proposed mining of billions of tonnes of coal, climate change, and the impact on the Great Barrier Reef. While we do not claim to speak for the traditional owners, we acknowledge and support the Wangan and Jagalingou People fighting to defend their lands from Adani and Government. Watch this video about their campaign:
Judith Wright (1915-2000), well-known Australian poet, was a long time activist for both Aboriginal Land Rights and environment, and with a group of poets, artists and ecologists was instrumental in the campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef from oil drilling. In 1996, in a second foreword to her 1977 book The Coral Battleground (republished in 2014 by Spinifex Press), she wrote:
To me, it’s a kind of miracle that things have gone so well for the Great Barrier Reef. But I know that its survival is owing to a great deal more than luck and circumstance. Luck there has been – no big tanker has crashed in its passages, no plot by destructive forces has succeeded in breaking down its legislative and managerial defences, it has been very fortunate in the official appointments and scientific tasks that support it. If disasters in the shape of weather, accident and climate change lie ahead, the work done already has shown what can be done to shield it from such dangers and has proved that people will agree, in the event, to supplying the help it needs (The Coral Battleground, Spinifex, 2014, xxii).
Sadly, we know now that the reef’s ‘luck’ may not be holding – with bleaching events likely exacerbated by climate change, the proposed rail link and development of the coal port at Abbot Point, the export and burning of coal intensifying climate change, and governments prepared to ignore voices, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, speaking up for land and sea against corporate interests, epitomised by Adani. Poets, in the spirit of Judith Wright and Val Plumwood, are joining a groundswell of resistance that the Wangan and Jagalingou Defence of Country and the related Stop Adani campaigns represent. View this video from the Stop Adani campaign:
The New York Times posted this editorial opinion less than a week ago, saying that the Carmichael mine is ‘the last thing Australia and our planet need’.
The ABC Four Corners program ‘Digging into Adani’ aired on Monday 2 October 2017 can be accessed here.
Read ‘Adani and the Galilee Basin’ by Susan Reid in Australian Book Reviewhere.
Plumwood argued that environmental action and the development of an environmental culture go hand in hand. In her later writings in particular, she saw the creative arts, of which poetry is one, as significant for the development of an environmental culture. She wrote:
creative writing can also play an important part by making visible new possibilities for radically open and non-reductive ways to experience the world (‘Journey to the Heart of Stone’, in Culture, Creativity and Environment: New Environmentalist Criticism, ed. F. Beckett and T. Gifford, Rodopi, 2007, 17).
Plumwood Mountain Journal takes its name from the mountain near Braidwood, Plumwood Mountain, whose name itself Val Plumwood adopted for her own.
Follow along as we post poetry today, some protest, some dystopia, some speaking simply to a worldview different from a corporate mining one.
The suffering has ended. Empty your eyes, a new era begins. Heads, once out of line, have fallen. People call from windows. Surrounded by laughter becoming noise, others call up to the windows. Animals never seen before come out form the alleys. There are broad-faced women with broad accents walking pavements, talking freely, their faces lit up, their hair undone. Sunlight, trumpets, and pianos are playing boogie. Emboldened, people smile in public places. The intact houses blink, doors swing open and somehow smile back to other houses. The banal parade floats above the ash of iron filings. A mother with a blue apron that frames her baby cheers at random, another child by her side trembles, astonished and fearful. There’s an apparition of an angel, timid and adrift in the midst of life, while rustling people gather in the square. Foreigners pass by in a group, singing under bright umbrellas, their lyrics sleek and empty. A grandfather goes about extinguishing street lamps against the coming radiance. A jazz dancer leaps out from her suitcase with an answer nobody can understand. A policeman rides his one-wheeled bike, his thighs swollen against black leggings. He circles the stragglers, until a spotlight picks up his problem. The circus of shadows moves through the jumping city as rackets break their own strings. On the far ramparts, a boy with a thousand dreams cries because he feels he is ugly.