We Are One


 ConnectedI met T in January when she was speaking onstage at the Woodford Folk Festival inside the “Green Room”. Her topic was “Transformative Activism”. As I recently had begun this journey of alliance and bringing people together to achieve the perceived unachievable, we were heading towards something extraordinary together on parallel paths, entering into a world of known and unknown simultaneously. It was time for a change and a time to build a new story. These words spoke directly to my soul and I listened. I was captivated. Today, her words and her recommendations lie deep within me and motivate me to move forward sometimes in the face of doubt. I am grateful as I speak the truth.

Pure joy and deep emotion crossed the lines of what it meant to be an activist in T’s eyes. Her warm and welcome smile and American accent drew me in. I felt a connection and a mutual understanding. Her mannerisms and the way she tilted her head led me to feel truly heard and understood. She was like a breath of fresh air in a world closed and “all good”. We spoke briefly over a cuppa as she engaged in deep conversation with each person under that warm tent on that stormy day. The moisture and humidity hung thick in the air like a curtain waiting to fall. I knew that we would meet again. I could feel it in my heart.

 

The Festival ended and we kept missing each other as we tried to communicate and catch up. Time passed and then an email relationship began over the planning of our Workshop. Email became skype and we could “see” each other. I learned of the “stand up” workstation that she created for herself and that I will create now as I build the new editing studio. Detail was exhibited and T’s deep process led to many hours planning, molding and forming the content of the creative space we would engage in at Wild Mountains. I continued to be awed by the purity of spirit and heart that was expressed over time. She shared a copy of “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” (Sacred Activism) by Charles Eisenstein and I continue to reference this in process of our connection and to those that attended the workshop. Words such as “Hope shows us a destination, but a vast territory, the territory of despair, lies between it and us.” Come from this writing and ring true.

 

Our workshop was an exercise of wonder. We came together from all states of Australia and the combined facilitation and venue were perfect. The rustic nature of accommodation proved difficult and challenging for some but this was all a part of the process. T, once again, showed resilience and integrity as she maneuvered and adapted to the change and direction that was led by all. Cynicism led to hope and connection. Campfire stories became truths and secrets to hold onto. We were in this together and the road was just being paved. In just one weekend we journeyed deep and far. The momentum now, is wavering but beginning to take shape.

I go back to the stage at “Woodford” and I feel that hope as I go on. We burned the heart and are creating our web inside the parameters of the now. I thank T for inspiring a change within that holds true to the “new” story being written out of the ashes of despair. As we write this new story, we let go of the ways that no longer serve and speak up bravely for what we know to be true.

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Save the Reef Contemplation and Challenge


Save the Reef Contemplation and Challenge

Contemplation Challenge

When I saw this writing challenge this morning, it inspired  me to reflect upon my weekend and how I dealt with the challenge of utter despair and disgust I felt, in response to the decisions of the Australian Goverment regarding the Great Barrier Reef. On Friday, 31st January, it was announced that despite high public response and contradiction from around the world, Environmental Minister Greg Hunt and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, will give the go ahead to dump 3 Million cubic metres of waste into our ocean! How ludicrous that a World Heritage Listed site and a site known around the World for it’s pristine waters and diverse marine life is going to be polluted through the waste and destruction of mining spoils. It seems that all around this beautiful country, the Australian government is making short-sighted decisions for the long-term future for our environment. The seas will be raped and pillaged, denying science and common sense in the name of greed and progress if we do not do something. Government and business state that science is the leader in their decision and in their application but as this goes ahead, we are likely to see the same international embarrassment that is occurring in the minds of scientists as climate change is ignored and denied.  Where will we be when the oceans die and our water will not be pottable?  Will true science then be denied and ignored or will science even matter when it is too late?? I believe that we all must stand up and say NO to this as we look at ways to turn this decision and change the course in which we are headed. This view is something we must preserve for our future and the future of our families!

As this photo-view represents that faraway gaze many of us portray when we are looking out to see, I wonder in amazement at the vast gap between where I perceive this to be and where I am now. Just a few short months ago, I was on a similar rock amongst the tidepools in Laguna Beach Ca. I gazed out and stared towards my new homeland and wondered if there was anyone over there staring back at me through the mirror of an ocean mirage. Today, I stare back and I want to hide my head with embarrassment as to what this country is planning for the future of our land and our sea.What will our children be left with and how do I explain to my own children, the actions of others who seemingly care little beyond their next paycheck. Will this greed in their pockets give them clean water to drink and shelter from the extremity of climate change weather?

What does the future hold for me?

What does the future hold for me?

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I began my quest last weekend to stay positive in this force of negativity by attending the SaveOurSharks Rally in Burleigh Heads, Qld Australia. February 1st was my birthday. I asked my family to join me and we had a lovely day out showing our support of the apex predators that govern the balance of our seas. The protest saw 10’s of thousands across Australia speaking out for the Sharks and although this support is worthy, we need to find a way to reach those who are caught up in the fear and ignorance that goes hand in hand with the limited knowledge and understanding that many have regarding our sustainable future.

My passion is for koalas because they touched my heart and soul in those first few days that I was on Australian soil. As I looked out towards the sea on that day, behind me sat a koala in a tree that also was gazing out into the tea tree bay with contemplation. Perhaps that koala saw what I saw and if that wise soul saw the path we would take in just 5 short years, I wish he could have warned me. The koalas of Noosa National Park are disappearing and one day their presence here in the wild will be no more. Our group is focused on making as much of a difference as possible and yet we are caught up in red tape and bureacracy! We keep repeating the “old” story rather than embracing the “new”. In 5 years, we have lobbied govrnment to no avail. We continue to ghave meetings. I would like to see these meetings stop and for the action to start! We have volunteered and stepped up our education and awareness programs. A sanctuary is a solution for the future of some koalas but we need 10 sanctuaries across their natural range or 100, in order to maintain those that are hanging by a thread amidst danger and disease and the very real threat of extinction in the wild.

With this, comes the full circle that humans are creating on land and in the sea. The crash course in education and awareness is spreading. People are standing up and joining forces to create a “new” story through an evolution of change.

This is what I see, as I gaze out and as others gaze out beside me. I find hope in the Alliance that we have formed and through the relationship with “new” people with “new” ideas in “new” places. Our stories are all one: with the whales, the dolphins, the sharks, the koalas, the flying fox and all the living and breathing inhabitants of this earth! I was trained in science but I am not a scientist per-se. I am just a woman with a heart for all.

I will take this new writing challenge and embrace my thoughts and fears and dreams and share with others. I believe that if we work together, we can change the world and at this moment more now than ever, the World needs us to be the pioneers for a sustainable future. Won’t you join me? It is not too late. 🙂

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A Gift Received


A Gift Received

I celebrated another birthday and the day was a reflective and active day for the environment. Little did I know that when I returned home after the rally in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia, there would be this lovely mum and bub waiting for me at the screen door of my bedroom looking out into the bush! It gave me a start and I was taken by surprise but I picked her up and danced. Koalas give me strength and though their numbers are dwindling I believe that we can make a difference collectively. Ideas flow and the writing begins again!

Balance and Truths, Last Female Koala Gone!


Yin YangIMG_7238This past week, the last female koala in Noosa National Park, was euthenased due to disease. She was one of the last hopes for the future of Noosa koalas and will only be a memory from this point forward. There are 2 males left in the park that we know of but no longer a female to keep the population going. How many know of this tragedy? Numbers have been on a downward spiral and the predictions locally will one day become the predictions Nationally.  The koala of Noosa is functionally extinct! Throughout Australia, carers and rescuers speak of the same items and Noosa’s story is their own as well.

So how did we get to this point? Does the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast, Mark Jamieson, have any thought regarding this or is it a “too hard basket” item that can be shoved aside to get on with bigger and better things in his eyes for a Sunshine Coastal agenda of growth?? He has all but ignored the recommendations of the Sunshine Coast Koala Summit report and never even tabled this highly intelligent and well constructed document before the end of 2012 to his council as promised. Meetings with government representatives and Environment Minister Tony Burke, have only left those crusaders hoping to achieve a balance for wildlife, in the same place they were before the meetings, with their hands tied by legal red tape and the high growth agenda of large corporations and political prowess to contend with. The koala has a Listing on the endangered species list,  yet it does not seem to have any value, as trees continue to be clear cut and action and protection seem slow and ineffective. Meanwhile, koalas die. Wildlife suffers at the hands of the greedy. I take it personally when I see these animals and the earth treated with such utter ignorance and disrespect. Therefore my passion is sparked and I become vocal!

When I first arrived in Australia, my number one on the bucket list, was to see a koala in the wild. I did so, the weekend after I arrived, in Noosa National Park. Last week I walked the paths of the koala food trees in this park with not a koala to be found. Those in the visitor center told me, “There are plenty to be seen here” and there was a sighting 2 weeks ago, yet I knew differently. These volunteers are told to “lie” and to hide the truth from tourists, because face it, “what would Noosa National Park draw attention to without the koalas which at one time were a sure sighting?” Does the high growth agenda keep this in mind in tourism? Will we continue to lie now with extinction at hand? If the very reasons people flock to the coast for a holiday no longer exist, what would be the point of coming at all? And think of dollars lost! Tsk Tsk.

Although, it became my passion to speak up and attempt to be a voice for the koala, this voice is often hushed and pushed aside as the greater agenda of growth and power and ego, seem to override the truth worldwide.

Bindi Irwin spoke up recently in an essay regarding population growth and it’s effect upon our wildlife, but her words were twisted and the truth once again silenced as what was printed in media became something altogether different in the eyes of Hillary Clinton. Shame on you Hillary!

I am appalled that so little truth is out there these days despite the ever growing cyber world. Media is often a circus with only half truths be told. You must find your own voice and speak up to allow others to hear and do so without fear, perhaps even taking a risk.  When others silence you, then speak up louder!  Reflect and be silent at times but when your truth be told, do so with dignity and honor and respect.

So what can we do? I believe that we can speak up and listen to our heart and our inner voice. If our voice fails to reach those that need to listen, then perhaps a different approach is necessary and the time is at hand. Inspire those around you with a simple story and a creative vision and perhaps, one truth will lead to the truth of all and a positive outcome will be achieved for humans and wildlife alike.

If silence and ignorance continue, we will watch and witness the eventual extinction of koalas in the wild throughout Australia, as well as many other species. Extinction is forever.

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Journey Part 2


Months have passed and much has happened and yet my pen sat silent. All I could hear was the beating of my heart and the screaming within my soul. I was inwardly restless, smiling on the surface, yet deeply and profoundly sad underneath. My expression came through a paintbrush, a photograph or a conversation but I seemed paralyzed and unable to express myself authentically with words. Being a perfectionist, I did not want to write in a negative way, so I remained quiet. Epiphany: My authentic truth would never be spoken if I remained still, so thus I write.

This year, I set high expectations. I was turning “50” which seemed a milestone. Little did I know that these expectations would build me up and knock me down several times until I learned the lesson once again.  If we set our expectations too “high” then we open the door for “high” disappointments. That, I did and down I had to come. A recent bout of flu stopped me in my tracks and I listened to the inner rythm that told me to be still and wait.

Rachel and I had returned from our journey to the Red Centre feeling quite defeated and I had to depend on others for transport. Something had changed between the two of us. There was a greater honesty and sense of connection. This incredible challenge we had experienced together driving across Australia provided us with resilience, communication and truth for what was to come. Grief grips you when you least expect it, and you must journey through the dark, in order to find the light.

Not long after our return, the end for Leone was near.  Cameron’s mom was dying and Rachel was to experience death in a way she had never grasped it before. She had been young when experiencing death before. This time she was nearing adulthood, 16 and it was  a different experience altogether not too unlike my own in losing my father at 17.

Witnessing Leone’s path opened my soul. I lost a 3rd friend in the span of just a few months. The experience connected Rachel to deeper feelings of empathy, understanding and kindness. She and Cameron share a special bond now that will give them both strength and wisdom in their futures.  Grief continues and comes in the ebb and fall of the tides. Challenges and heartaches weave their webs into the lives of changing ways and adaptations. Love continues in our personal truths. Every day provides a blank canvas of the fibre of our life as it is now in 2012.

I stopped volunteering at the Wildlife Hospital and my contact with koalas came through carers, rescuers and their stories. I witnessed cruelty and lack of integrity in others and was greatly disappointed by their actions. Animals continued to inspire me and give me hope.

I met a new friend and began filming her journey. She showed me a path to continued strength in her integrity and perseverence. I am awed by her kindness and compassion for the animals as well and admire her lack of feaar as she steps out and speaks up. Together, we are connecting others in the fight to save the Koala, yet the battle is long and often disappointing. Baby steps overcome hurdles and one step at a time, we move forward in passion and forward drive.

The koala was listed as a Vulnerable Species in Queensland and New South Wales and Regional pocket populations were given significance. Others, such as the Strzelecki population in the Gipplands in Victoria, were ignored. This was a great mistake and one that may prove to be detrimental to the genetic diversity of all koalas in the future.     However, a “Listing”  is a start and a catalyst for change perhaps. There is much more collective work to be done and a continued pressure must be applied to help save our furry friends!

Our  film, “Making Room for Koalas”, received an award and was shown on Virgin Airlines during the months of August and September. I hope that the film can continue to do good over the coming months in our quest to get the word out there and to create action for change.

A group of fellow activists and I put together the “Sunshine Coast Koala Summit ” which brought a dynamic group of experts together to work collaboratively to create a plan for the future. This Summit was held over two days in August and we have delivered a report to Council and the Mayor 0f the Sunshine Coast that thus far has been ignored.  “What is best for the Koala” is not necessarily in the forefront of government thinking, however,  growth and development are. Unfortunately for the koala, these two polar ways of thinking may lead to their demise in Southeast Queensland altogether. The time for change and action is right now or we are likely to see them all but disappear.

This week, Bob Irwin has asked me to meet with him to speak to State  Minister Andrew Powell. I have also met with Federal Minister Tony Burke, alongside Charlie Lewis in the Somerset Region. I ask myself, why did Bob choose me to go with him? I can only answer that he saw my truth and for that I am grateful. For those of us in the conservation watch tower, we look at what is best for ALL wildlife and also what is best for everyone’s future. The two are not seperate, yet often ignored, through greed and ego. Government is “talking the talk”. Now I would like to see them “walk the walk”!

How can we achieve what is necessary as more and more koalas die??  It is time for one of our political representatives to stand up and have the courage to do what is best for the long range future for the koala and for us all. It is not sustainable to go on as we have, destroying the very fabric of what life is based upon. Their are many variables yet only one true path for a sustainable future. It is  time that we inspire others to do their bit for the animals on this earth every time, day forever.

Personally, I have taken a sabatical this year to re-evaluate what I am doing and what I would like to do. Another challenge awaits as we will be moving house once again like nomadic gypsies. Each experience brings new light and new lessons.

The tears of sadness I have shed  have brought me to the other side with grace and wisdom and joy!

I set forth in a new light and with renewed energy and enthusiasm. I crave simplicity in complicated times, yet this raises the question,  “What is Simple?”