‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.’ - Arundhati Roy
This quote has pride of place on my notice board. I love it because it is so spare and beautiful and also because it captures perfectly my hope for the future for my loved ones and the planet. I also love it because of the amazing choice Roy made.
As a writer you are always scrambling to be published, with literary prizes and fame the ultimate dream. But having reached the pinnacle of literary success by winning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 with 'The God of Small Things', Roy promptly turned her back on the whole literary scene. Instead she utilized her talents and reputation in the service of the dispossessed, becoming a fierce opponent of global capitalism and firebrand activist in her native land. In doing so she became an inspiration for generations of activists.
Increasingly for me, activism is not about what I do, but rather who I am. Wherever I roam I’m likely to have camera, smartphone or notebook in hand and eye open for a story that needs telling.
I write regularly for Pen – the international organization for writers for social justice and freedom of speech – about issues as different as the terrible Trans Pacific Partnership, the ongoing massacre of journalists and social activists in Mexico and the independence struggles in West Papua. I’ve contributed many photojournalism pieces to Earth Garden Publications, Australia’s premier advocate for sustainable living and permaculture. Another favourite is The Big Issue, which has featured my articles on the global bee crisis and the world-wide boom in urban farming, amongst others. More recently I have become fired up about the need for divestment from deadly fossil fuels, fracking, the challenges of living happily in a time of inevitable energy descent and stopping Adani. You can read about all these issues and more on my Blog.
Undoubtedly the biggest story that grabbed me, and held on tight for a full 18 months until its triumphant resolution in December 2014, was the battle of the Victorian community against the government/big business proposal to build the dud East-West Link. In that epic struggle I assumed the informal role of photographer/blogger/citizen journalist. As you can see below, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by film-maker, Ivan Hexter, about my involvement in the movement. I was also delighted to allow the use of my photographs throughout Tunnel Vision.
One of the key aims of our campaign was to pressure the government to deliver on its promise to improve the public transport system. In the video below, you can see me in a cameo performance as one of the 'ghosts' waiting for the Doncaster train that never came.
Tunnel Vision Doco, directed by Ivan Hexter and produced by Marion Crooke (www.facebook.com/tunnelvisiondoco) . Winner Best Australian Documentary & Best Director Award - Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2017.
In 2019, I signed on for another stint as photographer/blogger/citizen journalist. This time I have joined the wonderful home-grown international Climate Emergency movement called Extinction Rebellion (XR). To see why I made this commitment, click here.