This blog is normally a political view free zone.
Not because I’m in any way embarrassed about my views, but because they are mine- and because I respect the right for others to have views that are different to mine.
Yesterday I was jolted back into awareness.
Yesterday, quite by accident, I overheard a talk by the CEO of Greenpeace Australia. He was addressing a group of lucky people who were on board the Rainbow Warrior (as an aside, Rainbow Warrior is open to the public for tours on Sunday and Monday).
Anyways, he was talking about the risk to the Great Barrier Reef from the expansion of coal mining. I was sitting in Cruise Bar outside where the Warrior was docked, and I was listening and I was inspired.
I was also ashamed.
What had happened to my social conscience?
When I was younger I was very political. Especially regarding environmental issues. Causes like the Daintree Rainforest, the Gordon/Franklin Dam scheme, nuclear testing in the Pacific, all had my attention and support.
Bands like Redgum, Midnight Oil and Goanna made me socially aware. As an aside, Midnight Oil got me through a Political Science exam at Uni- I quoted a few lines (naturally with credit) from Power and the Passion:
The rich get richer, the poor get the picture, the bombs never hit you when you’re down so low…
The thing is, when it’s gone, it’s gone. The river, the forest, the land, the reef, the orang-utans…whatever.
Then I went to work at the Bank- and I conformed. I understood that I wouldn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve if I had a reputation for being opinionated.
It’s no excuse- obviously my priorities were around material security ie earning money and climbing the ladder.
Over the last few years I’ve had a few mini protests:
- There was the time I told my General Manager that he could expect me to behave and communicate in a certain way, but had to right to presume he could tell me how to think. Ooops.
- Then there was the time I had a similar discussion with (another) General Manager who had the temerity to question my integrity.
- There was also that time I started the protest when the MotherShip decided it would be a good idea to change the free parking for all rule to free parking only if you were deemed important enough.
- That went down about as well as my reaction the day I was told not to advertise my interest in astrology.
- Or the day I decided that rather than go back to the office after my morning coffee, I helped the Greenpeace group protesting outside Nestle about palm oil and the impact on orang-utans to hand out leaflets.
- And let’s not mention the day the memo came out ordering all of us NOT to sign on to wiki leaks as it didn’t conform with the politics of the US Mothership. WTF?
Hmmm. The thing is, yesterday I felt all of that old fire coming back.
It’s like I believed that you could be political until your early 20s and then when it was time to grow up and be responsible, you take the whole NIMBY- not in my back yard- type of approach. If it isn’t affecting you personally, why bother?
Just lately, I’ve had discussions with other friends who are my age, or a few years older, who are also waking back up to their social conscience- whatever that may be.
For years I have financially supported some of the organisations who look after rescue dogs, but I have friends who’ve helped in other more direct ways. They’ve been braver and more active than me- and I admire them for this.
The thing is, these things used to matter to me- even when they didn’t directly matter to me. The thing is, these things still matter to me- I’d just forgotten that they did.
And you know what? I’m no longer prepared to apologise for what I believe, or what I do. I’m an astrologer- deal with it. I might have a different type of faith to you- whatever. I might have different priorities- so what, they’re my priorities.
The causes I now believe in are different to those I supported in the Cold War period of my Uni years. Maybe it’s because I’ve just experienced the wonder that is the NZ alpine region, maybe it’s because I haven’t yet been to the Reef. I don’t think I’m that selfish. Maybe it’s just that my eyes have been re-opened to the wonder.
I don’t expect others to agree with me, nor can I promise not to drag my soapbox out from time to time, but some things are just too precious not to care about. And that has to be something worth fighting for.