‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.’
This quote from India’s Arundhati Roy 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, 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 isn’t about what I do, but rather who I am. Wherever I roam I’m likely to have camera 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 and the ongoing massacre of journalists and social activists in Mexico. I’ve contributed many photojournalism pieces to Earth Garden Publications, Australia’s premier advocate for sustainable living and permaculture. Another favourite of mine is The Big Issue, which has featured my articles on the global bee crisis and the world-wide boom in urban farming, among others. More recently I have become fired up about the need for divestment from deadly fossil fuels, fracking, and the challenges of living happily in a time of inevitable energy descent. 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 heroic battle of the Victorian community against the greedy government 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 from the video below, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by film-maker, Ivan Hexter, about my involvement in the campaign. Ivan's film, Tunnel Vision Doco, produced by Marion Crooke, is due for release early 2016. Don’t miss it!
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 immediately below, you can see me in a cameo performance as one of the 'ghosts' waiting for the Doncaster train that never came.
For more information about the film Tunnel Vision Doco, visit the official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/tunnelvisiondoco