First Ever Protest March

I have always been a passionate person, whether it be about unschooling, faith, environmental issues, social justice…. Molly (10) seems to be following in my footsteps, all of her own volition. And to be honest, she gives me a run for my money in terms of passion and commitment! It is wonderful to be able to support her in her passion to care for people, animals and the planet. She set up a little website awhile ago, although hasn’t added anything to it for some time. She is still finding her groove in terms of what to do with her desire to help make the world a better place. She once initiated a fundraiser for the RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and definitely wants to do some kind of work in this area when she is older (helping animals, not making cupcakes!).

There are not really many opportunities for kids to do volunteer work, it seems. We recently tried to do some training in whale rescue, but the minimum age was fifteen. We tried to do puppy raising for the Guide Dog Association but we live in the wrong city. I’m sure her passion will continue to grow over time (and it’s okay if it doesn’t) and that she will find more opportunities to express it in practical ways. Here’s one way we were able to make a little bit of a difference this past weekend. (I met a lady who works with the Wilderness Society, and it was easy to imagine Molly choosing to do something like that when she’s older, but I keep those ideas in check, remembering that this is her journey, not mine, and it may take surprising twists and turns. In the meantime, we live in this moment!)

Coal seam gas seems to be the latest rage in Australia recently. It has not been proven as safe for human health or for the environment and yet the government has been surging ahead in approving new coal seam gas mines left, right, and centre. There has been such a huge public outcry about it, that they have now made major policy changes to hopefully protect residential areas from direct impact, but this will not protect the ground water and other problems. It’s been amazing to see the public rally together and have such a loud voice on this issue. With friends directly affected by the issue, we have had the opportunity to get involved in direct activism and this has been a great opportunity to facilitate my daughter’s interest in caring for the environment and encouraging others to do the same. This last Sunday we attended our first ever protest march. When we arrived and she heard the leader of the march shouting a slogan through the megaphone/loud speaker, you could just about hear her heart racing. She was in her element and rearing to go!

Gumboots, jeans, farmland and a cause closer to her heart, and she's OFF! Ready for action...
Gumboots, jeans, farmland, a cause close to her heart, and she’s OFF!
The local community was represented by people as young as a few months and as old as NINETY-SIX!! At the last protest, this lady got charged $200 by the police for refusing to move from the blockade.
The local community was represented by people as young as a few months and as old as NINETY-SIX!! At the last protest, this lady got charged $200 by the police for refusing to move from the blockade.
The zeal of the people was undeniably present. I asked this lady if I could photograph her and I think she was then of the belief that I was with the media, and she started telling me all the reasons why coal seam gas was bad. I wish I'd had a notepad to make it seem more authentic. ;)
The zeal of the people was undeniably present. I asked this lady if I could photograph her and I think she was then of the belief that I was with the media, and she started telling me all the reasons why coal seam gas was bad. I wish I’d had a notepad to make it seem more authentic. 😉
It was great to see the indigenous community represented, too.
It was great to see the indigenous community represented, too.
The media were there during the entire march and all the speeches at the end. This is a politician they are interviewing.
The media were there during the entire march and all the speeches at the end. This is a politician they are interviewing.
The message was undeniably clear!
The message was undeniably clear!
The hats have been collected by all sorts of people, as a sign of support for the "Lock the Gate" protest.
The hats have been collected by all sorts of people, as a sign of support for the “Lock the Gate” protest.
A reminder of what is at risk if the mine goes ahead.
A reminder of what is at risk if the mine goes ahead.
A community survey revealed that 97.5% of local residents are opposed to the planned coal seam gas mine, so they have made two signs declaring this, and they will be erected at both ends of the road. They also got resident's signatures on an official declaration, which will be presented to parliament tomorrow.
A community survey revealed that 97.5% of local residents are opposed to the planned coal seam gas mine, so they have made two signs declaring this, and they will be erected at both ends of the road. They also got resident’s signatures on an official declaration, which will be presented to parliament tomorrow.
Molly couldn't get much closer to the action if she tried. During all the speeches she stood right at the front of the crowd, listening eagerly to every word.
Molly couldn’t get much closer to the action if she tried. During all the speeches she stood right at the front of the crowd, listening eagerly to every word.
It was exhausting work, and after a big day out, this was the result, within minutes of walking in the front door.
All in a good day’s work! This was the result, within minutes of walking in the front door.

Published by

Karen Lee

FAMILY: Married since 1989 (does that make me old?), a full-time Mum since 1993, and unschooling my kids since 2005. On a journey of learning to live free and fully loved as God intended, following Jesus rather than an institution or "religion". Caring for the world and its people as best as I can.