Don’t take any more than you need.
This blog is meant to be about the customs, culture, everyday life and fun stuff in South Australia from a British ex-pat’s point-of-view. This is a place that often slips under the radar- and partly we like it that way. Unfortunately over the festive season we have made headlines in the world’s media. The terrible bushfires, that have affected every state of Australia are wreaking their havoc here too. About one third of the Adelaide Hills wine region has been wiped out and almost half of UNESCO World Heritage site Kangaroo Island lies burnt or burning with a terrible toll on wildlife, homes and communities. Smoke has been in the air and fire on everyone’s minds and in many people’s homes.
The climate is changing. I refer, not to the science, but to the engagement of people, and in particular, younger people, with environmental politics. Friday afternoon saw the first of a series of demonstrations outside the State Parliament organised by Students for Climate Justice. Blocking North Terrace, Adelaide’s main thoroughfare, for both road traffic and tram, they made their voices heard on the steps of Parliament chanting
“No more coal, no more oil, keep that carbon in the soil.”
“Full funding for firies” (fire service) -a worthy sentiment but a bit of a tongue-twister.
“What do we want? Climate action. When do we want it? Now!”
With more personal chants referring to Australia’s current prime minister, the students’ anger at apparent government inaction, if not outright denial, was boiling over. The large crowd was addressed by speakers ranging from a primary school child, a high school student, a senator, the secretary of the local fire service union, an aboriginal elder, and student representatives with varying degrees of reason and passion. Most memorable were the words of the Kaurna (the traditional owners of the Adelaide region) elder whose people have been tending the land for thousands of years, “Don’t take any more than you need. Don’t be greedy.” Simple but challenging words.
The students have vowed to demonstrate every Friday- indefinitely until they are satisfied that sufficient government and corporate action has been taken. Memo to university lecturers- don’t schedule Friday afternoon classes!
Despite the despair and destruction there has been an enormous outpouring of assistance, practical and financial, from around the world and locally. Adelaide’s musicians are doing their part. On Sunday I attended the sold-out bushfire benefit concert at the world famous Gov venue featuring a broad line up of some of Adelaide’s finest. I will not include a review, and the artists would wish the attention for the cause rather than for their (excellent) performances. Worthy of note is that a poster for the gig signed by the artists raised $475 in an auction. Many other events are planned over the next few weeks. Raising money is one thing. Many months of rebuilding and years of recovery lie ahead.
We hope the fires will ease up. We hope the students won’t.
School’s out– the global climate strike