Monday, 28 May 2012

(Day 61) Trouble in paradise

Tuesday 1st May (Day 61)

Trouble in paradise

Don't forget to check out my Youtube video on the bottom of the post

Tuesday games

Tuesday is the day where we have the group meeting at the fundraising office.  I haven’t been looking forward to this day because I was going to see all the people I used to work with.  I was worried that I was going to walk into the office and get lots of funny looks like “what is he doing here?” “Didn’t he get fired?”  But since I got 2 (or 1) signups yesterday I was feeling a bit more confident.

As with every Tuesday we had some random team game to play and this week’s game was eating doughnuts off a piece of string.  There were 2 teams, one member from each had to lie down on the ground and eat a doughnut being dangled just above their head.  After that person has finished and swallowed the doughnut the next person lies down and eats a doughnut etc until everybody in that team has eaten a doughnut.

Trying to swallow a doughnut as fast as possible whilst lying down was a bit of a choking hazard and I am sure this game wouldn’t be allowed back in England because of our overzealous health and safety laws.

We lost this game because we had more people in our team (something we only realized after the game had ended), not like it really mattered, we all got to eat a free doughnut.

After losing this game we headed out to work, but today started a little differently...

Crowds at Marten Place

There was a protest in the streets today and it started off in Marten Place which is just near the fundraising office.  It was an environmental protest against the proposal of CSG mining on some land called the Liverpool plains which are about 300km north of Sydney.

Marten Place was filled with protesters who I assumed were mainly from the Liverpool area and had travelled down to Sydney for the rally.  Many of the protesters were carrying large signs that had some kind of anti-mining message on it.  There was some media coverage at the rally with TV crews and photographers getting in amongst the crowd.

There was even a mascot at Marten Place.  The mascot is called Dirtgirl and her purpose is to encourage children to get involve with the environment.  I guess they chose the name “Dirtgirl” over “Dirtygirl” because Dirtygirl would have been considered inappropriate.  I personally think Dirtgirl looks really freaky and when Alexis (my boss) went to talk to her I stayed well away.  You can google Dirtgirl and have a look at her freakishly deformed face yourself.

Alexis told us that we would follow the rally for a bit that morning because the charity we were representing was actively involved with the mining issue and shared the same agenda as the protesters.  I guess you could say this was part of our training; Alexis wanted to make us all ecomentalists.

March of the farmers

The crowds started marching pretty much as soon as we arrived at Marten Place.  Looking around the crowd was predominately made up of middle aged country people with their beige shorts and round brimmed sunhats.  Their complexion would suggest that they spend a fair amount of time outside in the sun (polite way of saying rednecks).

Their destination was some political building (possibly the mayor’s house) which was only about a 10 minute walk away from Marten Place.

A bit of science

Coal seam gas or CSG is where large quantities of natural gas can be found in coal found underground.  With this you can both extract gas and then mine for coal at the same location.

However like with any mining project there are environmental impacts associated with CSG, mainly regarding contamination of the neighbouring ground water which could lead to water pollution.  (This is all from what I have read from Wikipedia by the way).

Lost agenda

After a short walk we arrived at the political building and the crowds lead by some guy with a megaphone started repeating anti-mining chants.  Some of the more memorable chants include:

“Country and city, united we stand, protect our water, protect our land”

“Farming, yes, fragging no, coal seam gas, got to go”

I learnt that the original agenda of the march and protest was to persuade the government to force the mining company to carry out thorough research into the environmental impacts of mining with regards to water contamination.

But looking around this agenda had clearly been forgotten.  People here were against the mines outright.  It seemed that they were not only against mining in the Liverpool plains but against the idea of mining all together.

To them mining was a sinister and evil practice run by greedy corporations.  It is true that mining is a lucrative business in Australia with the mining sector being the best paid job sector in the whole of Australia.  Apparently the average starting salary working in the mining sector exceeds $90K!

Back to work

The chanting continued for a while and after about half an hour we decided to leave and start fundraising.  Trying to listen to some woman holler down a megaphone about the environment was getting boring very quickly.  I was worried I was going to fall asleep standing up.  I couldn’t really make out what she was saying but I am sure if was all very interesting in an environmentally biased way.

Overall I enjoyed spending time amongst the protesters; it is certainly not a typical way to start a day’s work.  I love how untypical this job is.

Media coverage included both amateurs students and professionals 

Alexis talking to some old woman and Dirtgirl, the hideous mascot 

A small part of the crowd

This sums up the general feeling towards mining

On the march

Outside the political building, imagining opening
the front door to see this mob outside your work place

I have made a video to accompany this post,
check it out here on my Youtube channel

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