Save Our National Parks
Pearl spends a lot of her ‘online life’ signing petitions: petitions against animal cruelty; petitions against human rights abuses; petitions against environmental vandalism. If it’s in cyberspace, Pearl has signed it. Rather than checking my diary for the date of the next protest rally, I’m checking my email for yet another request to send ‘my personal message’ to a government minister who doesn’t really care what Pearl Bullivant wants or thinks. Which brings me to the question, is online protesting truly effective?
The young, intelligent leaders of ‘mouse-click activism’ assure us that the new generation of online protest tools are far more powerful and more effective than any rally can be. The voice of millions can be harnessed in just one email or SMS – look at Egypt! But has mouse-click activism been successful in Australia, a nation of people more than happy to see our environment destroyed for the sake of the economy, high paying jobs and 4WD aspirations?
Australians don’t seem to care that the Great Barrier Reef is slowly being destroyed by two greedy magnates whose taste for money far outweighs any thought for the existence of threatened species. Australians don’t care that Broome and Coral Bay, two of the most beautiful areas in Australia, are to be home to offshore gas mining, effectively destroying rare fossils and the livelihood of long-term rural residents. If the Franklin River was threatened with damming in 2012, would it be saved? Would today’s trade union movement impose green bans on Hunters Hill and Paddington? No way. Instead, they are supporting the construction of an ugly development in Rozelle that imposes on the flight path and the lives of the community. If online protesting is working, where’s the outrage?
Pearl may not have the same pulling power as mouse-click activists, but this month I’m confronting apathy by taking my own crusade to this column, the reason being that I want readers of The Beast to be outraged and to protest against Barry O’Farrell’s deal with the Shooters Party, which allows recreational shooting in our National Parks, albeit sanctioned by God in the form of Fred Nile.
The ‘Big BO’ doesn’t look like the type of guy who would go bushwalking, but I’m angry that my favourite leisure activity is being threatened by 150,000 fringe dwellers who get their cheap thrills from shooting living creatures.
Pearl wants direct action so I’m imploring The Beast’s hipster readers to reclaim our National Parks by getting into them and making bushwalking the latest fashion trend to appear in (the) Sydney Magazine. Get out of Westfield, tear the kids away from the Nintendo DS, put those Range Rovers and off-road prams to legitimate use and go hiking in ‘The Royal’ (one must use a trendy moniker; ‘The Nasho’ will also suffice). Make ‘free range parenting’ a reality, rather than a trendy catch-cry uttered over a homeopathic remedy and a glass of unpasteurised milk. Get your children trekking and taking real risks – an illegally constructed tree house on the verge has nothing on bushwalking! And for those high-maintenance yummy mummies who’d rather be ensconced in a trendy cafe or yoga class, just imagine the plethora of imported, high-end walking attire you can spend your husband’s obscene salary on, all in the name of saving the environment.
As much as it pains Pearl to see National Parks become trendy venues for hipster families, I feel so strongly about this issue that I’m willing to sacrifice my own comfort and enjoyment by sharing bush tracks with pink princesses and pork-pie hatted yummy daddies. Leave the dog, bugaboo, stilettos and latte-to-go at home and show Barry O’Farrell that National Parks are for trendies, not bogans with guns.